It's starting to dawn on me that summer is over. Last night at choir practice, I was delighted to see not just the handful of college students who return to herald the change of seasons but two entire rows of college kids eager to sing with our little group at St. Theresa's. I haven't sung with this many voices in an actual choir in over 20 years, not since high school. It makes such a difference when you lose your way in the music to actually hear other voices singing the notes...and it's just fun to be around the college kids as well as my friends. There was a new energy among us too.
So the first sign of fall is here: the return of the Longwood University and Hampton-Sydney students. It's like migration patterns among wildlife...the students flocking back to Farmville.
The hummingbird feeder needs less frequent refills. They've either started heading south for the winter or there are wild plants blooming now which they prefer.
Gone are the green crickets, replaced with the mature big ones that Pierre loves to chase and Shadow snaps and eats. Shadow's lush long haired coat has begun to shed. The last time she shed like this was March, and her spring coat came in. The undercoat is now pulling out in tufts and I imagine she'll grow her thicker fur now for the winter. She should be an Alaskan or Maine dog with that coat - Virginia winters aren't usually that bad!
Walking Shadow yesterday morning up the driveway towards our road, we rounded a turn and stopped short. Standing not fifteen feet away was a buck (male deer) complete with antlers. They're back too, present every evening in the yard eating grass, with small bands following them around. Shadow barked and he fled for the woods, where I hope he'll stay on our non hunting property for at least a few weeks.
The last of the melons are in and the vines are dying. The corn stalks have died completely and I'll remove them this weekend. I'm still picking and freezing green beans and harvesting herbs. Tomatoes anyone? I can't pick them fast enough and my family can't eat them enough. Soon they'll be gone, but next year I'm going to register with Ample Harvest so that my extra vegetables can be used by the local food pantry.
I don't have many fall blooming flowers, so I'm enjoying the last of the helopsis and echinacea, the morning glories, impatiens, petunias and salvia - my old standbyes. The marigolds in the fall are my favorite for by this time they've attained bushy golden perfection, and they last well into November.
Fall...apples, pears and crisp Sundays watching football together while I do my counted cross stitch (the only craft I can complete. We'll leave the quality to the imagination). Cozy sweaters and curling up in front of the fireplace with a good book.
And bulbs. Fall bulbs. Masses of them. Bushel baskets of them. I can't wait to show you what I'm planting this year!
Today I plan to knock off work a bit early and go for a walk to enjoy the last long days of summer. I hope you find time to do that, too.