O Lord, getting lost in a 10-acre corn maze, looking for Bigfoot, could be pretty scary — except, OMG, thank You for such excellent company!
As a kid, did you ever trade your lunchbox Hostess cupcake for a classmate’s homemade cookies?
Then realized the chocolate chips were sneaky raisins. That your classmate’s mother considered sugar the devil’s invention.
Some of us seem destined for the short straw.
This month, though, we Hoosiers trade summer for autumn.
This flower child will miss petunias’ glorious, subtle fragrance. Hummingbirds and butterflies mooching off zinnias and cosmos. Hubby won’t miss mowing grass, but if the scent could be bottled, I’d buy 10.
If frost must clear out my flowers, fall’s show-off foliage more than makes up for the loss. Especially as I’ll be done with endless watering, weeding and feeding my gardens.
Instead, I’ll be raking, right? Seasonal trade-off.
And I gladly give up a hog farm’s stench on a 95-degree afternoon for fall’s clean crispness.
During summer, we don’t mess with coats or matching gloves. Also, we don’t lose them in three different places. During autumn, though, my old friend, last year’s parka, welcomes me warmly on chilly days.
Foodwise, I already miss sweet corn. I also miss potato salad, made with my mother’s recipe. She kept her signature dish in the same summer-only category as white shoes. I’ll probably do likewise.
During summer, I buy six kinds of fruit. To continue that during cold-weather months, however, requires a second mortgage. Weekly.
Still, who can reject fall’s trade-off? Apple crisp and caramel apples, or pumpkin pie and other yummy pumpkin spice foods? Plus, comfort food abounds.
Other seasonal trade-offs:
- I’ll miss: nightly cicada concerts and fireflies’ light shows. Welcome: mosquitoes’ demise.
- I’ll miss: sitting on restaurant patios. Welcome: sitting beside fireplaces.
- I’ll miss: barbecue fragrances pervading my neighborhood. Welcome: woodsmoke that says, “I’m keeping someone warm.”
- I’ll miss: our ceiling fan’s breezes at night. Welcome: quilts and flannel jammies.
- I’ll miss: flip-flop freedom. Welcome: favorite boots.
I will happily exchange:
- Flab-revealing tops for flannel shirts.
- Fruit processing at 10:30 p.m. versus consuming it in a cobbler at 10:30 p.m.
- Multiple daily baths to dispel sweat, bug spray and sunblock for single baths whose effects last more than an hour.
Unfortunately, we’ll trade air-conditioning costs for heating bills.
Still, doesn’t the seasonal trade-off seem fair?
Although good-for-us virtues, like those healthy cookies, lurk during both seasons, summer and fall taste good.
Your Extraordinary Ordinary: What seasonal exchanges will you make?
As a child, did you watch the Walt Disney film, “Bambi”?
I didn’t, but my second grade class read the adorable fawn’s story. I hoped a friendly deer like Bambi would let me ride on his back. However, sightings during the 1960s in Indiana, even at my family’s woodland cabin, were rare.
Years later, when deer overpopulation resulted in state park hunts, I was appalled. How could they shoot Bambi?
A herd in Oregon’s Willowa-Whitman National Forest helped me realize why. Our children opened car windows to pet them. Those hijackers tried to poke their heads inside. If Hubby hadn’t closed the windows, we’d have lost both kids and upholstery.
Also, my dad’s truck and a deer collided. With big-time damage to the animals, as well as vehicles, you’d think they’d look both ways.
Riding our tandem bike, Hubby and I have managed to spot deer before they get too close and personal — except for one incident, when a fawn ran alongside our bike for 100 yards.
Lovely creature, with trusting eyes.
He almost reconverted me — until we and our garden moved near town’s edge. Groups hang around our nearby church. Holy instincts? No. Those thieves never learned the Ten Commandments.
I imagine their eating-out conversations:
My weirdness as well as deer repellent haven’t saved our green beans. One deer apparently stuck its head in a tomato cage. Hubby and I, puzzled at the cage’s disappearance, searched without success. A neighbor brought it to us, mangled almost beyond recognition.
Have the deer learned their lesson?
In a word, no.
The Internet bristles with suggestions of how to get rid of them: grow marigolds, garlic, lavender and mint, or hang soap, old CDs and pie pans nearby. Avoiding chemicals, gardeners spray concoctions of egg, liquid dish soap, garlic and/or hot sauce. Engineering types suggest motion-activated flashing lights or ultrasonic deer repellers. Others build ten-foot fences.
I could add a watchtower. And order a bazooka from Amazon Prime.
Bambi, you blew it.
This “server” is about to get serious.
Your Extraordinary Ordinary: Is Bambi still your BFF? Why or why not?
This post first appeared on October 4, 2017.
Is there anything more fun than sneaking a walk when you should be hard at work?
Perhaps balancing the national budget, achieving world peace and losing four dress sizes rank above it. None of these, however, appear imminent. So, I pilfer little thrills, like kernels of candy corn, when I can.
Autumn’s tawny, sun-freckled face grins from every yard and field, a mischievous TP-er who messes with trees solely so we have to clean up many-hued clutter. Scraggly flowers, survivors with colorful personalities, mix well with show-off mums. Ragged, brown corn and soybeans look weathered and friendly as smiling scarecrows that guard small-town yards and grocery store produce sections.
All mellow and unhurried. Autumn urges me to enjoy its relaxed aura while I can.
Apple trees, however, awaken my laid-back senses. Loaded with plump fruit, they tempt me to borrow just a few.
However, calling my husband to spring me from jail isn’t the best way to celebrate fall. Forcing my steps past, I promise myself a trip to an orchard.
Squirrels, sociopathic larcenists, don’t worry about raising bail. They freely steal fruit, walnuts and acorns, which they hide in my flower pots — their personal storage units. Fall squirrels are like spring dandelions, fluffy and cute. I love both . . . in other people’s yards.
All paths lead to the elementary school, easily evidenced by a trail of kid stuff: a flattened baseball hat; a pink bicycle abandoned near a stop sign; a plain strawberry Pop-Tart®, no doubt rejected because someone wanted frosted chocolate with sprinkles. Scholarly endeavors are verified by broken pencils and crinkled homework. How long has this rain-faded permission slip lain here?
Rows of cars at the school speak of the commitment of teachers, administrators and staff. I pray for them, as the place — even when recess is not in session — emits energy unmatched by Hoover Dam turbines.
Ditto for Taylor University. A substantial portion of its science building’s energy needs are supplied by geothermal, solar and wind power. However, the pulsating between-class rhythm of skateboarders, scooter-riders, cyclists and joggers who don’t even notice they’re jogging prompts another energy question: Couldn’t the remainder be supplied by students, who regard midnight as the start of prime time?
I seek quieter streets, where I can saunter, unmolested by the vigorous and motivated.
Instead, yards teem with home improvement projects and, on the town’s outskirts, farmers driving giant combines lumber into fields, braving clouds of chaff. All strive to complete their tasks before cold weather.
In the face of so much diligence, goofing off is downright tough. I head for home.
But that doesn’t mean autumn and I won’t try to play hooky tomorrow. …
Your Extraordinary Ordinary: What’s your favorite goof-off season, and why?