Bees and Blossoms and Frosts

The apple trees are in full bloom

After a week of 70 degree temperatures, the cold winds came blowing.

Two nights ago the low was 28 degrees; last night it was 30 degrees. We’ve been glued to our phones, watching as the frost warnings come and go. It’s always interesting when our weather apps forecast different temperatures.

According to several state orcharding sites, blossoms can survive temperatures above 28 degrees. It’s been close. Tonight after sundown we sprayed with kelp and fish fertilizer, hoping it will fight the cold. Although the forecast was just changed to a low of 34 degrees…

One pear tree has tiny little red pears on it, which is a really good sign, and there are tiny cherries on the sour cherry tree–as well as an interesting little spider on a blossom.

Any fruit we get this year will be better than last year, when it snowed in May, and we ended up with about ten scabby apples, no pears, no cherries, and no peaches.

But for now we’re just enjoying the blossoms and hoping…

The autumn that isn’t…

What’s wrong with this picture?

October 23, 2018

Right. October 23. The middle of autumn. WHERE ARE THE FALL COLORS?

I’m told that in some places it’s Autumn As Usual. The reds are red. The golds are gold.

But here in Southwestern Pennsylvania, the trees either have green leaves or none.

This same picture from our back porch taken October 28, 2013:

SIGH. Not only are the skies gray, and the garden is finished, and the temperatures are in the forties, there are no bright autumn colors to cheer us and make this transition from summer to winter easier.

Some experts have predicted that maybe next week the leaves will turn. That the abundant rain in August and the warm temperatures in early October caused the leaves to keep producing chlorophyll, which keeps them green.

I remember as a kid asking about why the leaves were turning colors when we hadn’t had any cold temperatures yet. I was informed (by a science teacher) that it wasn’t the temperature, but the lesser daylight of fall that made the trees stop producing chlorophyll. Kind of makes me wonder what other misinformation I was given…

So I’ve done some research on this (read Googling why leaves turn color). The SUNY College of Environment and Forestry says, “Rainy and/or overcast days tend to increase the intensity of fall colors.” The website notes, “Autumn seasons with a lot of sunny days and cold nights will have the brightest colors.” No wonder I was confused…

So with the lack of beautiful autumn photos to show you, I’ll post some pictures of what we’ve been doing for the last three months.

The back porch was mostly finished just in time for Labor Day.

The No-Fun Rule was in effect all summer, so we took a deferred vacation in early October to the Napa Valley. If your kids don’t live nearby, they should at least live in a great place to visit.



Thankful and blessed. Yes that’s what I’m feeling as I look over these photos. Despite no extravagant fall colors.

Instead I brought the fall colors inside to my living room.

There’s always a way to find joy.

what i don’t want you to know

field of thistles

i could live without people,
a hermit on a lonely mountain
foraging in fields singing back to the birds
and whispering to the spiders spinning,
spilling hummingbird words that only i
have heard.



fuchsia flowers
i could be that crazy old lady in the falling-down house,
feeding ten feral cats
yelling at the children to scat from my yard,
but breathing sweet nothings to the riotous
fuchsia azaleas blooming in the hidden




i could be the wild-haired recluse in the book-filled garret,
smelling of old books and parchment
overflowing and piled high,
never leaving the house until all the heaps of paper are
crammed full of strands of words and the pens
run dry.