Sunday, September 25, 2022

Let There Always Be Light

I absolutely love the autumnal season where everything still is so green and bright here in the lush Willamette Valley of Oregon.

In spite of climate change issues with temperature changes already altering weather records, and higher prices than most areas of the U.S. it continues to be a lovely place to live. 

Yes, Alaska will always have my heart but marrying an Oregonian 50 years ago and choosing Salem, the City of Peace, was a very wise choice!

Forty-three years ago we built our home with a lot of sweat equity and a $37,000 and a 30 year mortgage saved up with nickels and dimes and lots of hard work! I still love it aging issues and all.

After all we have aged right alongside the house we built, the fruit trees we planted and hundreds and hundreds of trees and shrubs and perennials. And now we constantly reap the rewards of those efforts by being the best stewards of this piece of land that we still can.

My wisteria vines are a delight in the summer and early fall. Here they are so full they are in need of another pruning to allow the centerpieces plant and decor to even show! 
This is a favorite decorating opportunity for the 5 and 6 year
old grandchildren to scout out my hodge podge deck decor and make little scenes everywhere.

Here a real birds nest recently discovered having fallen from a tall tree is joined by 2 chickens, one wooden and one metal but still getting along famously without disagreements at all!  

Look closely above, and you'll see that a 2nd birds next joined the decor! No wonder Jasper was staring at it!

In the wee hours from 3 to 6 a.m. when I am already up and about, their tiny Christmas lights (purchased every winter and twined anew onto bare vines before leafing in the Spring) cheer up my always awake and sleepless nights. 

And unfortunately with cloudy skies at night I am happily bringing in my own lights. 

There was a spectacular harvest moon weeks back,  but now I must be content with my 3 a.m. walkabout to see a delightful crescent moon and some tiny but lovely stars. Photos even "night" selected were just a blur but I can picture them in my mind. Meanwhile I know they, the moon, and the sun still shine!!! 

The rest of my very long busy days and restful but awake hours, Jasper keeps me entertained under artificial lighting. Here, he appears to be making his shopping list from a Wilco Farm Store flyer.

And yes, I still sew and quilt. When the mood strikes I tiptoe upstairs by flashlight, and carefully select my 5 a.m. lighting and create and sew, sew, sew!  I can't say what yet.  But were getting a something or other, don't know which, in November. So this crazy lady is having even more crazy fun in the magical design loft and little sewing nook day and night right now! 

And then, there's the bounty and abundance of the fruits of our land and our labors. And when I say our, I usually mean Larry. He picked, washed, sliced, and pureed or stewed or canned or froze. Day after day while still working outside of the home for our home building business of 35 years of hard, hard, work in multiple towns with hours of driving every which way. 

Did I mention we work for free?  So of course others love our work ethics and Larry is of course helping our son keep our small but amazing home based business going. Larry says our son Blake is both the brains and the brawn of the business. That he's just along for the ride! 

And on the homefront, our ongoing celebration of harvest and harvesting. The apple varieties continue to be picked from our original batches of Gravenstein apples to Golden Delicious to Melrose and others, picking and canning golden jars of applesauce both with and without sugar and some with added cinnamon.

Last photo above-two more batches of applesauce on top of all of my other harvest posts' jars of applesauce!

Want a giggle and a big old "WHAT?" Double press the photo to read my spice jar labels. The state of the labels tell you how long these have been there. Normally the labels are rotated to the back sides.  

I misplaced my cauldron so I haven't been creating exotic potions for decades but I love all of these extra dried up or not exotics! Gifts from my oldest daughter, Terin  when one of us was considerably younger and both of us knew what all these were and what for. Now, one of us (sigh) doesn't any more. My beautiful and amazing daughter took classes and was certified as a Medical Herbalist along with her other talents and gifts. Used to helping friends battle cancer and stepping in for them when others stepped out, but now having learned first hand how how challenging it truly can be she has survived 65 chemo treatments, surgery and in depth radiation  We have all learned so much from her. Cider making, beekeeping,  gardening all part of our family fun and activities we share. Family for us is what it's all about!

We'd have no need to make a kazillion packets of dried prunes, endless jars of jam and applesauce etc. if we didn't have a helping family who loves it as much as we do!

It's family--kids and grandkids that light up our life, expand our hearts, and inspire us to be more and do more. Love them all so much!!

Then after all the family fun. It's back to just us at work! The prunes are still being picked, eaten fresh of course but also dried in our homemade food dehydrator from the 70s/80s. Batch after batch of cleaned over and over fresh from the pitted and the resulting halves layer upon the grated shelves to dry from the simple heat of a light bulb! Takes 48+ each batch to dry. They are a great treat for our 4 grandchildren, ages 2 through 7 and one we all love! 

And yes, my posts are always typed on my beloved Galaxy Note 9 cell phone. Hours and hours and hours per blog post and only an iffy, whiffs mobile signal on clear days.  

I like to believe it's keeping me sharper than I might otherwise be considering my family history and certainly teaches me a lot about psycho typos and glitches in the air waves and to be an even more patient and steadfast woman!

And now snippets of poetry as I am prone to share, always using my 1972 back pocket English degree around this site!

From Rebecca Elson, poet/astronomer 
(January 2, 1960–May 19, 1999)

"For this we go out dark nights, searching For the dimmest stars, For signs of unseen things To weigh us down. 

To stop the universe From rushing on and on Into its own beyond Till it exhausts itself and lies down cold, Its last star going."

And another:

"Whatever they turn out to be, Let there be swarms of them, Enough for immortality, Always a star where we can warm ourselves.

Let there be enough to bring it back From its own edges, To bring us all so close we ignite The bright spark of resurrection."

"The astronomer and poet Rebecca Elson (January 2, 1960–May 19, 1999) was twenty-nine when she was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma — a blood cancer that typically invades people in their sixties and seventies. Throughout the bodily brutality of the treatment, throughout the haunting uncertainty of life in remission, she met reality on its own terms — reality creaturely and cosmic, terms chance-dealt by impartial laws — and made of that terrifying meeting something uncommonly beautiful."

Maria Popova

Michele Bilyeu Creates With Heart and Hands as I/she/we share an imaginative, magical, and healing journey from Alaska to Oregon.
 Creating, designing, sewing, quilting, and wildcrafting, from my heart and with my hands.

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