Thursday, September 21, 2023

In These Last Lingering Days of Summer

The Autumn Equinox is this Saturday, but it will probably still be another three weeks before things look like this. However with the temperatures changing and the days growing shorter it is perfectly clear Autumn is on the brink!

Our summer garden is harvested and we've planted a little broccoli, cauliflower and green lettuce to finish out the year. This first season was definitely a learning curve, and I'm already looking forward to next year and expanding our crops. We are currently battling a swarm of yellow jackets that have taken up residence in one of our raised beds.They apparently die out over winter and leave the rising queens behind, so if anything we'll have to dig out that bed and try to transfer as much of the soil as we can to another and locate and kill the queens before they start a new hive next spring. We're trying to avoid using chemicals that would be harmful to the soil, so hopefully we can resolve this problem organically and quickly.

A fox got into our duck pen and killed two of them. I feel bad because it was a make shift pen to begin with, and not well secured. We were going to build them something more substantial over the next few weeks, but after the attack we rehomed the remaining two and we've decided that ducks are not something we want on our homestead. They are terribly cute, and in some ways I even preferred them to the chickens, with their cute little quacks and waddles. But they got into everything. They were constantly on the porch and eating every plant in sight. When they started munching on my mums I decided I'd had enough and that was when we built the temporary pen. They were only in it for a few days when they were attacked, which was odd because they had been free ranging all summer and sleeping under our van and nothing ever bothered them. Based on the tracks and the kill, we suspected it was a fox, and then our daughter spotted one by our neighbors house on her way to work this morning. We set a trap today so we'll see if we have any success. Our chicken coop is pretty secure from predators, but we don't want to take any chances.

All this insect and animal drama has been rather stressful, and I've been looking for some additional tools to quite my spirits and calm my nerves. With that in mind, I've added a few books to my morning routine. Spiritual Literacy: Reading the Sacred In Everyday Life by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat is one I picked up at the thrift store last week. I'm reading it cautiously. The authors claim to be christians and speak openly about God, though they do sometimes refer to Him as "Spirit", which was a bit of a red flag for me. So far I haven't found anything overly alarming or that I haven't been able to discern for myself. Probably not one I would recommend for a young christian, but I'm comfortable with drawing inspiration from it and leaving the rest.

Every Season Sacred: Reflections Prayers and Invitations To Nourish Your Soul and Nuture Your Family Throughout The Year by Kayla Craig is one I've had pre-ordered for awhile now and I was so excited to receive it in the mail this week. I didn't realize when I ordered it that it was written primarily as a guide for parents to grow spiritually alongside their children. But after perusing the contents, I definitely feel that it is still something that I can use personally and share with my family.

The book is broken up by seasons each containing thirteen chapters. In each chapter there is a reflection, prompts and a prayer. Some of the themes included in the autumn chapters are Peace, Listening, Belonging, Strivings Cease, and there are chapters devoted to Advent in December, and Lent in the spring. I'm really looking forward to making this a part of my time of silence and solitude and reading through the seasons and chapters.

The opening season of the book is autumn, and there is a poem at the beginning, A Prayer for Fall. I especially loved this line and wanted to share it with you.

"O God of harvest moons
and campfire tales,
O God of leafpiles for jumping
and apple cider for sipping,
O God of pumpkin pies
with dollops of cream 
And the swirl of steam
that rises from a cup of
hot coffee in the cool morning,
Be near."

Such a lovely little book. I'm sure I'll be sharing more of it with you in the coming weeks and months.

I sat down this week and wrote out some goals for the coming season and I'll be sharing those with you as well. We'll be celebrating the Autumn Equinox tomorrow night (Friday) even though the 23rd is the official day, Friday just works better for our family. Pretty low key overall. I'm making my mom's Santa Fe Chicken Tortilla Soup and an Apple Crisp for dessert. We'll probably play a game afterwards or maybe watch a movie. Nothing fancy, but still want to acknowledge the changing of the season, especially since it's my favorite! 

How about you? Do you have any plans for celebrating the season? What are some of your favorite ways to spend the glorious days of autumn? I'd love to hear!

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