Growing up on a small farm in the upper Midwest, the end of November always seemed rather late to celebrate the harvest. Grain was usually cut, thrashed, and stored by early September. (Some years it was a race to finish late in August before the free labor – children – returned to school.) The final crop of hay followed close behind. Corn, our other crop at the time, often was cut and/or picked in October.
I live farther South now — not tropical, but enough miles to change the seasons a little. (Global warming plays a part too.) Houseplants come inside late Sept or early Oct — before frost nips at the tips. Gardens are tapering off — a few peppers and tomatoes hang on for the excellent gardeners. Apples, pumpkins, and root vegetables are ready for picking and digging during October.
The puzzle artist stylized a harvest from days gone by — perhaps you can find elements of your childhood in the scene. Did you grow up rural? Or take a fall drive to admire colorful leaves and end up at an orchard?
August: hot, humid, tired. Sometimes all the tasks come in a rush and overwhelm a person. The final, hectic weeks before school started. (I remember roasting in the store trying on a new winter coat.) The garden is demanding harvesting — which leads to canning — which requires lots and lots of boiling water adding to the already humid air.
In recent years, the tempo of my life has changed. (For the better, I think.) My children are grown. I live urban rather than rural. However, no matter how urban your current life — you can find a touch of rural at the Farmer’s Market.
Some in our area have a permanent building or pavilion. Others set up with tents in a park. Look for produce, home canned treats, honey, snacks, and local crafts. Different markets have different rules. At some you can even connect with a local author.
Overseas travel was such fun the first time I went for a repeat. Well…not to the exact same place. I did fly away in the same general direction — a little further, actually.
It was three years ago, long before the pandemic edged above the horizon and squashed travel plans for millions of people.
April, a time of chill mornings, sunny afternoons, and the beginning of the serious tourist season. The tour bus and historic sites had “elbow room.” In some places, workmen put in long hours to do street work before the summer traffic.
Vienna in springtime. Bright. Fresh. Green.
One of these years–when this inconvenient virus is under control–I’ll pack my suitcase and head off for a different destination. In April? I’ll keep an open mind.
Spring! The season of hope for gardeners–and others.
Officially spring began close to a week ago. Depending on your location, the actual weather may vary. But even in the cooler parts of the United States, the date on the calendar turns lots of minds to thoughts of green trees – not pine and spruce – grass, kites, and life without jackets, hats, and boots each time you leave the house.
The colors and features in this puzzle almost shout “spring” to me. A mild spring day is ideal for a walk in the park. Or a carriage ride. Or an hour canoeing.
Spring is a season of new beginnings. Spring cleaning — not my favorite, but good to clean out old broken or unused items. New beginnings — a visit to the garden center is a must — even if the survival rate of any hanging basket I purchase is questionable. There’s a new puppy in our neighborhood. Painters and fencers are collecting clients.
Hope is in the air. Hope for little things — like a plant or a puppy. Hope for large things — like better health or stronger friendships.
Yellow, in light and medium shades, was a common color for kitchen walls when I was a child. Cheerful and bright were the comments from the adults in my life.
Years later, while discussing colors prior to painting my office, a friend described yellow as a creative color. Evidently people have done studies on colors. Yes, red stimulates appetite. (You’ll find lots of red accents in restaurants.) Yellow, even in small amounts – in a piece of art, a pillow, or curtains – stimulates creativity.
A person can also think of yellow as a spring color — full of hope and promise. Winter is gone. Early spring flowers open yellow petals to warming air.
Snowbanks are melting as I write this blog and enjoy this photo from four years ago. Yes, it’s possible to have color in St. Louis before February ends. Rejoice! Smile! The days are filled with more light and signs of a new season.
Farm animals, especially dairy cattle, need to be tended twice a day. Farmers don’t take many vacations unless they can find a person to hire to do “chores.”
This does not mean they can’t have fun or be social. Imagine a circle, size dependent on transportation, where you could travel and return in an evening, or between morning and evening chores. Before modern roads and automobiles, things within the circle were church, a town with a variety of stores, perhaps a doctor, dentist, or lawyer, and neighbors — who were often both friend and relative.
With a large house, a serviceable barn, and neighbors within sight– this puzzle artist has captured and idealized many real things. I can imagine this farm on the very edge of town or perhaps the farmer is hosting relatives from the city who are making the snowman and getting acquainted with the calf while the daughter of the house mails a letter.
Christmas cards, holiday cards, greeting cards (and the notes and letters often with them) have been part of the December holidays all my life. Mother had an extensive list, including several of dad’s Army buddies. Relatives predominated — since both my parents came from large families — my brothers and I never lacked for aunts and uncles. Also included were friends from various portions of their lives.
Preparing the cards has always been important to me. Yes, I switched over to a form letter a number of years ago. However, an extra personal line or two at the bottom is not unheard of.
Do you enjoy receiving cards? Do you display them? Toss them in a basket on a table?
The picture created by this puzzle would make a great greeting card to display on a shelf.
Two days from now, the United States will celebrate Thanksgiving Day.
It is right and proper to set aside one day a year to give thanks for all the positive things in your life. While you can make a case that near the end of November is rather late to celebrate a harvest — all should be gathered in.
Winter weather is present or scheduled to arrive in large portions of the country. The growing season is over in all but the most moderate of weather regions.
In this puzzle, the artist emphasized the harvest colors of red, orange, and yellow. While that people are dressed in the “plain” or “Amish” fashion, portions of this scene were present in my childhood. (In very “modern” farming regions.) Some communities continue to celebration in the autumn with “steam threshing days.”
In this year which held many unpleasant surprises for many — I urge you to pause and “give thanks.” The harvest is accomplished. Distribution remains a problem — a situation caused by men and to be solved by them.
What sort of things in the puzzle are you thankful for?
Walking in the door after an absence is a special feeling. Depending on the length and reason for going– coming home varies in sweetness.
Certain trips I wanted to extend and it wasn’t until near my home that I pulled by thoughts from recent past to present and future. Other times I’ve been eager to return almost as soon as I walked out the door — think medical appointments.
Every trip home makes the hive sweeter. These small residents at Missouri Botanical Garden savor spring, summer, and fall blossoms.