During the last few years of David’s illness, we were somewhat limited in our travels due to the need for close medical centers at which he could get treatment. Our routine became to return to Virginia from our summer travels for the months of September and October before heading back out to escape the cold winters by going south to Florida where his myeloma specialists were.
With everything disrupted by covid since David’s death, I have continued that routine while longing to head west. This year as you know only a few days after I returned from Vermont as if covid wasn’t enough, everything was changed by random vandalism.
So I am here in Virginia for September and October and November and December and perhaps all winter long until my amazingly inept insurance company can fix the 4 windows which were shot out in early September. That story is in a link above.
Still I always enjoy October in Virginia and this year is no exception.
The sunsets are lovely and the deer are brazen coming into the backyard from the fields.
The wild turkeys are just as bad.
The first week of October I did a little hiking around the farm.
We had blazed trails throughout the property for hiking and held retreats here several times a year. Since we’ve been on the road, the trails have not been maintained and so most of my hiking is on the farm road and down to what is known as the lower field.
These pictures are taken as I leave the barnyard and head up the lane and then eventually drop back down into the field.
The farm lane does dead end into the field but I cut over on the trace of a trail to the upper end of the field visible through the trees. The far side of the field is bordered by a small stream.
Walking back down through the newly mowed field, I turn around and take pictures of the upper end.
During the retreat days, we had a classical labyrinth, a sweatlodge and an outdoor firepit down here.
On another day I decide to go looking for traces of the old trails which were marked in different colors of paint on the trees. There was also a map. No idea where those are any more. The trail I hope to find some sign of was our red trail.
It started here just at the far end of the barnyard and went past the Granny Smith Apple tree there on the left.
There were other apple trees in the field as well and when Carrie was in pre school we hosted the children and teacher to an apple pressing and made cider in our old wooden press which is still in the shed. All parts accounted for including the wooden baskets.
Beyond the apples, the trail goes into the woods and forks. High road, red trail, to the right and low road, blue trail, to the left.
The mowed road goes just a very little way on the red trail
Lately I’ve had all the tree prunings piled on either side and a small tree has come down over the grass covered end of the road.
I have a memory of where the trail went but there is absolutely no trace of it in the 11 years it’s been abandoned. We tried to make it a gradual climb by weaving the trail back and forth across and up. But the mountain behind the house is steep and today I just climb straight up and try to skirt around the rock faces.
Lots of leaves though none from this year yet, but no trail, just up. It always looks like if I can just get up “there”, I’ll be at the top. Very deceiving.
Ultimately I make it and wonder why it is so green up here. All the leaves seem to be on the sides of the mountain. Although as you can see, if I just walk straight ahead, there will be yet another mountain.
Ultimately I come to the rock face that has the best view looking out and beyond to the west.
From another spot I can look north and eventually down and over the other side.
I wonder if they ever climb up here looking for a view of our little valley on the other side from which I’ve come.
Back home I set up a late lunch on the front porch for enjoying the mountain views from here to the west. The trees surrounding us have so grown up that our views are much more restricted than in previous years. Not much I can do to save the views unfortunately. So I just try to enjoy them as I can. I’d finished most of my lunch before thinking to take this picture.
During the second week of October, my friend Mary and I take a trip up to Carter’s Mountain orchard where they offer pick your own during the fall as well as food trucks and YUMMY cider donuts.
That’s Mary at the end of the food truck line. She knows what she wants. I’m still checking out the menu.
The food was excellent. Hope you can read the menu well enough to determine what you would order.
The pick your own line was longer than the food truck line. You buy a container – bag, box, 1/4 bushel or whatever and fill it up. You can walk to the sections of the orchard being picked on this particular day or the hay wagon will drive you.
As you can see, we had quesadillas with black beans and rice. Yummy! The tables over look the town of Charlottesville. It was a very cloudy day so my views were nothing to brag about.
The famous apple cider donuts have TWO lines and once you taste them, you’ll understand why.
I stopped mid bite to make sure I remembered to get a picture
Third week in October it was finally my turn with the no seam gutter guys that I’d called at the end of September. The gutters on the house are probably 40 years old and you can see one of the problems. Shannon, who helps me at the farm, said I should replace them with seamless gutters which he could not do, so I made an appointment and got it taken care of.
It’s amazing with all the rain we’ve had that they never actually fell off the second story porch roof but they sure impacted the view.
I visited the City Market one Saturday. It used to be called the Farmer’s Market. I understand the name change.
I go for farm grown vegetables but there seem to be more crafts and food trucks than veggies there these days.
But the Little Green Farm had beautiful produce.
One stand had some HUGE carrots. Not sure why they wanted to let them get that big. They look fun but aren’t nearly as sweet at that size.
I walked to the market and on the way passed the Writer’s House where the Front Porch music group was having a jam session and an Instrument Petting Zoo.
Found these folks gathered and playing some fine music you can hear here if you like.
Almost home, I noticed the leaves were really falling onto the farm lane. The drive through the trees was lovely.
But then when I got almost into the valley where I ran into this obstacle. Tall and thin but no way to drive around, too big to drive over and too big to move. Luckily one of my neighbors was home and his little chain saw was able to cut it off the farm lane so I could drive on in. David has a large chain saw he used in provided cords of firewood for our woodstoves. I could have walked in to get it, IF it would still start. But it’s way too big for me. I probably need a small one like my neighbor had but his was “almost” too small for this job.
The last week of October was another rainy one so Pam and I went to our favorite pizza place, Mellow mushroom. Is that a great looking pizza or what. It’s so big I can have slices of it for a week which is why we each bought our own pizza. Turned out to be MUCH larger than we thought when we ordered them.
Every time Celia comes to visit or I go there, we color together and it reminds me how much I enjoyed coloring as a child. So I broke down and got myself a coloring book to use during all these rainy days. I froze some of my apple cider donuts and they were a great treat while using my colored pencils.
I actually think I like crayons better for coloring. The colors are brighter and richer. Those of you who are still working probably don’t have time for frivolous things like coloring but how about the rest of you? Do you ever color or own a coloring book? It’s very soothing and relaxing.
As are puzzles. Here are two I did on more rainy days.
And of course books – the Wednesday Duo Zoom Book Club began reading Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat by Katherine May. Each chapter title is a different month so we are reading each one on the first Wednesday of that month from October through March and discussing another book on the other 3 weeks.
That other book this month is Marion Zimmer Bradley’s The Mists of Avalon which is over 800 pages and is a wonderful way to leave the world of rain, delta, omicron and vandalism for a different time and place.
In addition to those two here’s a list of my other October reads:
Sasha Sagen’s For Small Creatures Such as We
Richard Powers, whose book The Overstory I loved, new book Bewilderment.
Rooted: Life at the Crossroads or Science, Nature and Spirit by Lyanda Lynn Haupt
The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin
After the Stroke by May Sarton
The colors have barely started here in the valley though the rain is bringing down the leaves and with it and the warmer than usual weather, I’m not sure we’re going to get any really blazing fall color unfortunately.
But the freshly mowed fields and cotton candy skies are really lovely with or without the color.
I’ll close out October with a lovely muted sunset sky
and Mickey Mouse and the Witch – Colin and Celia – trick or treating with their friends. Wish they were in my neighborhood.