Saturday, October 15, 2011

Of Herbs and Other Pleasures

I am snuggled in my chair with the curtains drawn against the blustery October evening; it has been a good day.  In the midst of the chaos in our country and in my own life, I am particularly grateful for the little routines of my days.  A bout of Shingles is reminding me that I must slow down a bit, but that is almost impossible when caring for my grandchildren.  My weeks are crazy.  Today, though, was a bit slower paced, and I spent much of the day tending to the little outside chores that are such a pleasure in the chill October sunshine. 

This morning I brought two rose impatiens plants inside to winter over.  They bloomed their hearts out all summer in the shade of my little corner garden, and I hope they will thrive in my dining room window with its morning sun filtering through lace curtains. 

After spending a couple of hours running errands, I enjoyed several peaceful tasks in the garden.  I bought two new thistle feeders for my finches, chickadees and sparrows.  My old feeders were no match for the driving rains we have endured recently, and the seed was molding.  These new feeders are a bit more weather-proof and should provide dry seed for these tiny little birds all winter.  I filled the larger feeder in the back yard as the mourning doves waited impatiently for me to finish.  As the days grow shorter, the birds are scoping out their winter feeding areas. 

Our black walnut tree provided an abundance of nuts this year.  The squirrels have busily stored them away -- many of them in the attic of our garage, unfortunately -- so they will have a good supply on hand for the long months of winter.

I covered my little pond with netting this afternoon; it sits under a lovely maple tree, and if I don't remember to place the netting, I face the nasty chore of shovelling out leaves in the spring.  Now, the leaves can fall and the pond will stay clear.

My favorite chore of the day was cutting herbs from the garden for drying.  This is a slow process that allows for quiet contemplation.  After washing them I bundle them and hang them from a wire in my tiny kitchen window.  Tonight the kitchen carries the pungent scents of basil, lovage, oregano, rosemary, sage and thyme -- and I look forward to winter afternoons when I will crush their tiny leaves between my fingers and sift them into simmering soups and stews.

It is 10:00 now and my lovely day is drawing to a close.  I am always amazed at the peacefulness that settles in my soul after a day spent in quiet pursuits.  The daily rhythms of life are soothing to me, and it is always a pleasure when I can take the time to savor them, rather than hurry the day away.  I think I will heat up some soup, place it in my large mug, wrap the afghan around my shoulders, and savor one more bit of comfort as I reflect on the loveliness of this day and make plans for a quiet Sunday.

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