A Good Home, Change in Seasons, Late summer and early fall

To Everything, A Season – or Two

I’m living a double life.

Trying to hold on to summer while quietly giving in to early-autumn rituals.

Blog Photo - garden Sept 2018 chairs and pool

I’m still ‘swimming’ outdoors, but the heat also went on in the house last night.

Blog Photo - Garden Sept 2018 benches and blue pot by pool

I dusted off the outdoor furniture as if summer isn’t almost finished, but I also changed the tablecloth in the dining room to something autumnal.

I’m still watering the flower pots containing summer flowers  — pansies, petunias, lilies and lobelia — but we also bought 3 large pots of chrysanthemum. (At ten bucks a pot, including tax, that’s a great deal.)

Blog Photo - Garden 2018 Single Pansy

I salute the few late blooms of white hydrangea as if it’s early summer, while around me, most Annabelle hydrangea flowers have already turned green for autumn.

Blog Photo - Garden Sept 2018 Three Hydrangea turned green

I’m still urging on our beets and zucchini in the garden, but getting ready to roast and preserve some just-picked tomatoes for autumn meals.

Blog Photo - Garden Sept 2018 Beets in Ground

I’m also cheering the raised container bed of herbs my husband planted in the spring: rosemary, basil, thyme, parsley.

“Keep growing!” I tell them.

Blog Photo - Garden Sept 2018 Herb Bed.JPG

I eye the pots of amaryllis outside, knowing it’s almost time to shake off the soil and bring the bulbs indoors.

I see this patch of maple leaves changing colour, and pretend they’re a charming seasonal anomaly.  Meanwhile, I narrow my eyes at a nearby tree whose leaves have already turned an unattractive dull-brown.

Blog Photo - Garden Sept 2018 Leaves start to turn

Perhaps most ridiculous of all, I am foolishly encouraging this sunflower seedling to keep going, telling it that blooming is not beyond the realm of possibility.

Blog Photo - Garden Sept 2018 Sunflower Seedling

Yesterday, I listened to an old favourite song, “Turn, Turn, Turn”, (Pete Seeger) whose lyrics were excerpted from the biblical book of Ecclesiastes (“To Everything there is a season”).

But there are limits to these accommodations of the change in seasons. For example, I have resolutely not bought any spring bulbs, though I know my husband will likely go out and get some.  (I figure he has enough garden work to do at this time, with little help from me.)

Yesterday, I glimpsed a Christmas decoration show on television. For a few moments I stared in bewilderment, then turned off the TV.

To everything there is a season. But even as I creep and lurch my way into fall, it’s way too early for Christmas!

 

 

 

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A Good Home, A summer day in autumn, Arabella Magazine, Architecture and Design, Autumn, Canadian Art, Canadian Design, Cynthia Reyes' magazine stories, Magazines

One Summer Day in Autumn

Arabella  – the arts and architecture magazine — has been called one of the world’s most beautiful publications.

And so it is, publishing gorgeous art and design from across Canada in a sumptuous glossy publication each quarter.

I’m honoured that my feature stories are a staple of Arabella.

“One Summer Day in Autumn” is featured in this issue.

Do have a read and let me know what you think, please. It’s a different style of writing for me:

http://arabelladesign.com/One_Summer_Day_in_Autumn_Fall2014.htm

And enjoy a look at Arabella. Perhaps you’ll agree that it is one of the world’s most gorgeous publications:

http://arabelladesign.com/current_issue.htm

My best to you,

Cynthia.

A Good Home, Apple Pies, Dried Herbs, Farmhouse Kitchen, Garden, Harvest, Herbs

A Messy Kitchen in the Autumn

Life happens in our kitchen. Every day.

Which means it’s always clean but often a mess. 

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Blog Photo - Kitchen messy friend smiles

Our human friends like to hang out there and share their stories.

Dog friends like to sleep there and sometimes snore.

Blog Photo - Kitchen Dog Sleeps

In the autumn, potted plants move in from the verandah.

Blog Photo - Kitchen plants on window sill

English ivy sits on the window sill, Scotch Bonnet pepper sits on the floor.

Blog Photo - Kitchen Pepper Plant

Within a couple weeks, we’ll get dozens of ripe peppers….

Blog Photo - Kitchen Pepper CU

Blog Photo - Kitchen Ripe Pepper

… which we’ll give to relatives and  friends. (I’m not a hot-pepper person, despite my Caribbean origins.)

Some days the whole kitchen smells of apples, cinnamon and other ingredients for pies….

Blog Photo - Kitchen Apple slices

Blog Photo - Kitchen Seasonings for Pie

…which DO include a tip of Jamaican rum, yes, and maple syrup too, since we’re a Jamaican-Canadian family.

Blog Photo - Kitchen Pies on Table

Earlier, it was the fragrance of apple and mint jellies –

Blog Photo - Jelly Jars many

And as you can see, they’re still on the kitchen table — recent events having overtaken us…

Blog Photo - Kitchen harvest table

Some days, the kitchen smells of herbs drying on a tray. Parsley, basil, rosemary and thyme.

Blog Photo - Kitchen herbs drying

Blog Photo - Kitchen garlic in pot

And onions and garlic, fresh from the garden….

You’d think the kitchen is the only room in our old house.

It’s a wonder we don’t sleep there as well…

HAPPY HARVEST, EVERYONE (except for friends in S. Africa, New Zealand and Australia…. who for some strange reason are now planting their gardens and welcoming the springtime).

A Good Home, Blessings, Canadians, Couples, Family Stories, Gardening, Garlic, Home, Inspiration, Love letters, Loving Acts, Vegetable Garden

“If you are reading this, it means….”

Our friend Jacqui phoned.

“Are you going to be there in a few minutes? I’m coming for a visit.”

I smiled. It was almost exactly what Paddy used to say. Minutes later, he and his wife Jacqui would be at our door.

Photo by Hamlin Grange
Photo by Hamlin Grange

Married for decades, they were always together, these two.

Blog Photo - Jacqui and Paddy on holidaysOur family loved their visits.

But Paddy died from cancer earlier this year.

We wondered if Jacqui would continue the impromptu visits. I was very pleased with her call.

As usual, I let her in through the kitchen door, and we hugged.

We sat at the harvest table.

Blog Photo - Garden harvest Basket tomatoes pumpkin

It was the same table that just last October was laden with produce from the garden — including the lone Jamaican pumpkin that grew from a seedling that Paddy and Jacqui had given us that spring.

Blog Photo - Garden harvest baskets with toamtoes peppers eggplants on table

“Come for your share of the pumpkin harvest,” we’d phoned them, laughing.

When they came, we handed them a bag filled with herbs, garlic, tomatoes and half of the Jamaican pumpkin.

Now, 8 months later, Jacqui and I sat together at the table for the first time without Paddy.

We sipped our tea.

She’d been going through Paddy’s belongings, she said. Deciding what to give away,  and identifying matters that needed her immediate attention.

She opened Paddy’s briefcase.

She saw an envelope addressed “To My Wife”.

She ripped it open and started to read:

Blog Photo - Jacqui letter ECU2

My dearest Jacqui.

So faithful and true!

… Without you, I would have had nothing. It was due to your sacrifices that we survived. You gave so much and demanded so little. Thank you for being so much to me over the years….”

“I want you to read it,” Jacqui said now, handing me the long white envelope.  She had torn it open at one end, but the writing on the front was clear: “To My Wife”, it said.

I reached into the envelope, pulled out the letter.

I got goosebumps.

Paddy’s letter to Jacqui ends with this paragraph:

Blog Photo - Jacqui letter final graph

“If you are reading this, it means that I’ve passed on. Don’t be sad. Our life together was good! Although I won’t be here in body, I will always be at your side in spirit.

“Good bye my love!”

Moved by his love for her and their daughter Donna — and by this considerate act – Jacqui cried.

Paddy and Daughter in earlier years
Paddy and Daughter in earlier years

But here’s what surprised her most: the letter was dated August 9, 1999.

Blog Photo - Jacqui letter date1

Paddy wrote it 14 years before – and put it in his briefcase, where he knew Jacqui would find it.

Blog Photo - Jacqui on verandah

The impact on Jacqui was so positive that on a subsequent visit, as we sat on the verandah, she agreed to let me share excerpts from the letter.

The lesson here:

There’s no need to wait. You can write that letter to someone you love right now.