…and just like that, it’s Fall…

The weather has been almost completely dry since the first week or so of July.

This is really unusual for our part of the country; by now I should have had to mow the meadows at least twice. But they remain pretty much brown and lifeless.

The dust is worse than ever: you look up in the trees lining the lane and expect to see green. Instead, you see that tan dust. It’s not helped by a certain Land Rover that goes blasting by at thirty-five to forty miles an hour; long after the truck has disappeared, the dust hangs in the air, ready to coat anyone or anything that it touches. You have to duck inside quickly and close the door. If you don’t, suddenly your vision is cloudy and you’re coughing.

The weather has turned cool with all the shocking suddenness of plunging your hand into ice water. Just a week ago, we had daily highs nearing 90°, and now our highs are just a bit warmer than those nighttime lows – about 65°. With this sudden change should have come the rains. But they are staying sequestered, with the land suffering as a result. You look toward the Ridge, and the smoke from wildfires lies upon them like a thrown-back baby blanket in a child’s crib.

And the great horned owls are back. Last night they were hooting at each other; one about a half mile away, and another that had to be about two miles away. The closer one later moved even closer, likely checking out my upper meadow for prey. With closeness came loudness, and his chatting partner grew softer by comparison. I wished them both good hunting. There are plenty of mice out there, fellas; go get ’em!

We’re finally getting tomatoes from the garden, and the herbs have gone nuts with all the sunshine. We try some different things every year as an experiment: the zucchini have failed miserably, and the basil was scorched to charred twigs a month ago. The parsley turned out woody and tough; and although it’s more like chewing hay than parsley, it does have some good flavor.

We’ll try something different next year. Meanwhile, still no rain. Makes me wonder how dark, cold, and gray the winter will be. Typically a long hot summer is followed by a cold harsh winter.

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