That nip in the air

I’ve been feeling that jittery itch, that scratching between my shoulder blades and nipping at my nose. Cold weather is on its way. Rain, freeze, maybe snow, definitely slush, all coming. Wind that snatches your breath before you can inhale, yanks your foot before you can step. It makes the horses knock-you-down crazy.

One minute it was August. The next, it’s September – supposed to be a mellow month, but today we woke to unexpected and heavy rain. I’ve spent much of the day fidgeting, making lists. I’m suddenly aware that time is running out, and there is much to do before winter. If we fail to do it, we’ll stumble into spring, crash into summer before we’re ready, and lose yet another year of production, growth and beauty.

We’ve done that too often. This has been a painful year of loss and disruption … Last year was eaten by ill-health  … The year before it was something else; recovery from burnout, I think … Enough.

Some good things happened this summer. Like, our swallows came back, for the fourth year in a row, and raised two families of five babies each all crammed into their tiny nest. It’s so much fun when the whole flock of them flies around the house, snatching flies out of the air and gobbling them down.

We’ve entrusted our lives to this place – in this small piece of land in the crook of the Columbia River. What we have here we made out of an empty and untidy field, and wishes and dreams. But then we ran aground – we poured ourselves into rescuing dogs (and sometimes people) and the work gulped us right down, along with our wishes and dreams, and the strength of our bodies and determination of our minds.

At the beginning of this year, I named it my Year of Reclamation. (I told you that already, didn’t I?) And quite apart from all the sad and hurtful things that have happened this year, it’s been a year of taking stock. Considering options. Choosing priorities. Making lists.

Now it’s September, and I’m fidgety with the need to Get Things Done, and frustrated by the slow, painful inefficiency of my unwieldy body.

Oh well. I guess that makes my body, yet again, the first priority. After a year of try-fail-try-again I have quit trying to ease gracefully into health and wellness via intelligent eating, and am currently ramming myself into ketosis by means of a three-day fat fast. Oh my word, it’s horrid! Start the day with a gigantic strong bulletproof coffee, listen to my heart race until lunchtime, chow down on cream cheese and just a little salami, remember remember remember to drink plenty water, nibble a few macadamia nuts in the evening. Think about food all damn day. Huddle under a blanket feeling cold and shitty and try to distract self with a book.

That was yesterday and most of today … and then there was this … tremor. My synapses blinked and took a peek at the world. I took a pee, and … yep, that unmistakable ketone smell. (TMI, I know, but it made me so dang happy!) My toes wiggled and demanded a walk, so I took a couple of the lunatics out into a pasture and threw a ball until they lost it.

Sweet summer days down at the river. Argos has finally learned to swim!

And then I came back inside and … I feel so good! I’m making lists!

Things to do before winter:

  • Finish building the raised beds in the veggie garden, fill them up with horse/cow/chicken poop and weeds and some old tree branches and yes, of course, also some dirt. Snuggle them under a good, thick layer of straw. Yank the weeds out of the existing beds, repair as needed, and give them a nice straw duvet as well.
  • Prune the grape vines and the apricot/plum/nectarine/pear trees – but only after the pears are done. The pear tree is inside the chicken run, and every evening when I put the chickens away I pick up the windfalls they haven’t eaten and throw them over the fence for the horses. Vos eats with calm authority, but Pal gobbles and foams pear-drool in his effort to get his before Vos takes it.
  • Transplant the asparagus, and fill the old asparagus bed up with berry bushes.
  • Clean the hen house and give the girls a nice deep bed of fresh hay.
  • Pick up and burn the pile of trash wood that the Hubbit insisted on keeping “because it’s useful” – only now it isn’t, it’s just nasty, and – happy day – he agrees it’s time to let it go.
  • Clear and plow and seed the front yard. Let there be grass!
  • Plow and seed the six or so acre field our neighbor has offered us for winter pasture. I wish we’d managed to do that earlier in the year – we’d have grass there now and would be able to use it in January. Well, no matter. If we do it now, we’ll be able to use it for a little while in summer, and give our pasture a rest.
  • Put up hot wire to subdivide the north pasture.
  • Protect what’s left of the weeping birch from the cattle.
  • Repair the divider the bull broke in the horse stalls.
  • Cattle-proof the fence around the pond-to-be.

So that’s my list. Most of it I can do alone. Some requires the Hubbit’s help. But less all the time! Yesterday, for instance, he taught me to drive the tractor, thinking to set himself free from plowing. It was so much fun … until I killed it. I have no idea what I did, but I’m sure he’ll figure it out. Poor guy! I’m lucky he’s so forbearing.

Do you get antsy when the seasons change? What’s big on your to-do list right now?



Author: Belladonna Took

Well into my second half-century and still trying to figure out what to be when I grow up. Born South African, naturalized American, perpetually at risk of losing my balance and landing ass-first in the Atlantic.

19 thoughts on “That nip in the air”

  1. Like you, but for different reasons, I don’t know where the year’s gone, particularly the last three months. I’m antsy because I want my new venture to flourish and it’s going too slowly. So glad to hear that you’re more focussed wish you well with tackling that list. You’ll need winter for a rest! – as much as you loath it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey, Fiona – so nice to hear from you again. You keep referring to your “new venture” … Did I miss a post in which you told us what it is? I’ll pop by and spend some time visiting your page sometime soon … In the meantime, give yourself a moment every day to enjoy the return of spring… 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Accountability partners sound like a lovely idea but, as often as not, they merely become people to whine or make creative excuses to. On the other hand I do miss our chats – although I really don’t want to get sucked back into online games. Skype?


  2. I am absolutely determined that this year is the year I finally get my flower garden in order and grow a veggie garden! We actually had a wonderful patch of veggies going but I walked over there on the weekend to check up on it and the gate was standing wide open, hoof prints everywhere, and not a carrot or broccoli plant in sight. It appears rabbits have had a grand old time with the spinach and lettuce. We are going to have an awful lot of onions, though. So there’s that. And now, step one, build a proper fence 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh man … sounds like you’re living in my world! I don’t know how often the cattle and horses broke into the veggie garden before we finally got a good fence up, reinforced with hot wire. Apparently if you pee on things deer don’t eat them – I’ve never had an opportunity to test that theory myself, but it might work for rabbits. On the other hand … peeing on your lettuce … maybe not such a good idea… 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      1. determinedly puts fork down
        slides full salad bowl to side
        eat bacon instead

        Glad you got into ketosis, Bella, and sounding like you’re over the worst of the dred Keto-flu. So much to do before winter has us in her slumber…but I have faith – you’ll get there before the flakes fly.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Whata list. I think you should be kind to yourself and half the list .. do only those things that absolutely have to be done. I drew up a work schedule but it never gets followed. Lack of time seems to get me antsy at the change of season but my husband keeps me grounded reminding me that work will always be there unlike us..

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I know this is quite odd but I found you and your blog through a comment left on an LGBT post and you said your daughter is gay and adamant atheist now because of the church. I guess my reasoning to reach out to you is to possibly share why that is so from my own life. I am 25, a lesbian, and married to another woman. Im not sure what churches or denomination your family belongs to, but I grew up Catholic and was raised to be a good adult Catholic. However, the Church effectively says that I am disorderd through offical doctrine and then moe unofficially through the countless leaders who constantly condemn gay and transgender people, with support of the hierarchy and ultimately the pope. I cannot recieve further sacraments not could my wife be baptized and confirmed into the Church because of being gay. Nor could we be leaders in the church or work in ministry efforts because we are gay. I know this is the attitude of many churches like evangelical churched where if you are gay there is just not a place for you because of that….the catholic church will only have me if i renounce my gay identity aka my sexuality, divorce my wife, and make a commitment to lifelong celibacy, even after all of that i highly doubt I would be treated the same as my heterosexual counterparts. I have heard atleast 2 sermons in my teens directly atracking the morality of all gay persons and being equated to living demons. The church today as a whole is in such a state of having lost its way. I hope your daughter can one day take up her faith again as an adult and realize that God loves her and has plans for her….despite the exclusion and discrmination of the church. Has she ever tried a United Church of Christ church or episcopal church? There are also certain united methodist and lutheran churches that are welcoming. Anyways Blessings and I hope that perhaps gives insight into her atheism…I know it has taken me many years of struggle to finally be in a place where I desire God, community, and church. Maybe she just needs time to heal. One last thing, it was very distressing and hard for me to grow up and realize my church didnot want me simply because I’m gay, yet there was a place for all my straight peers. The christian faith is for all and not just some chosen.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so, so much for taking the trouble to write this! I appreciate you reaching out. The Girl Child’s loss of faith is more complex than a single issue … but yeah, in my opinion it definitely began with the attitude of our church. (Non-denominational charismatic from Baptist roots.) My own faith has taken quite a beating, and I’ve reached a place where I trust Christ and try to follow him, but I’m not comfortable labeling myself a Christian because of all the icky junk also hanging from the label. I’ve been thinking about writing about this, so thank you … I think you just encouraged me to do so… 🙂 I’m so sorry you didn’t experience greater acceptance from your family. I can’t lie, it was HARD to learn about my girl, and it took me years to work through the stages from “Love the sinner, not the sin” to “Love the person God created to be just as she is”. Thanks again for writing… 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Hello there, I am the daughter in question and so appreciate you reaching out to my mom in this way. I know how hard it was for her to accept my sexuality and how many years it took for us to reach a point where we could talk about it openly and without fear. I love my mom very much, and the fact that my homosexuality and my atheism has hurt her is not something that makes me happy, but as with your situation, my happiness has to be paramount or everything else simply doesn’t matter.

      I do need to clarify one point, though. I am not atheist because of the church or anything they have done to me. I am atheist because of many reasons, one being that organised religion in any form appears to me to be fuller of hateful, judgemental people than it is of loving, accepting people and I have no wish to associate myself with those kinds of people. Also, through my reading and gaining of knowledge and lots of deep thought and research into life and existence, I have come to what I feel is the inevitable conclusion that the god of the Bible simply cannot possibly exist. I do not find the arguments that religious people make for the existence of god to be logical. And, in the end, if he did exist (which I truly believe he doesn’t), he is exactly like (and far worse than) those hateful, judgemental people in religion with which I do not wish to associate myself, and therefore I would not wish to associate myself with him in any way.

      I do hope that you find your way in your life in that will make you and your wife happy and fulfilled. I don’t have hate for people who are religious, I just have no desire to engage in any of it 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Reading in backwards order. I was caught by the disapproving sparrow faces lined up on their spit and wattle daubed nest at the top of the page. Then I wondered whether you tackled your giant to do list. And here I sit, trying to work past a giant lunch of leftover Chinese food when all I want to do is shiver under the covers and wait for spring. How’s that for disorganized thinking!


    1. Reading through the list … Well, I didn’t get it all done before winter struck, but we’re making progress! I think you should take your leftovers to bed with you and snuggle up and enjoy.


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