Saturday, October 31, 2009


Leaves dash from the corner of my vision and skitter across the road in a brisk fall wind. The size of so many small critters that are jumping in front of my path way too late not to be crushed by a steadily moving truck. At night the smaller field of vision illuminated only by headlights amplifies the dancing leaves and their cursed imitations. The foot hovers over the break pedal in fear and the mind says have no mercy. Is your life worth the risk of careening over the steep side of a mountain for a twirling illusion? This aspect of fall still catches me off guard.

Earlier a still black figure laying motionless on the forest floor caught my eye. My heart skipped a beat. I squinted and looked closer. It was not who I thought it was. The forest was playing tricks again. Always filled with indecipherable sounds near and far that toy with your imagination, the newly leafless forest is now playing with distinctly formed dark shadows.

A day filled with sightings left me unsettled. A black and silver tabby cat with patches of white was by my truck in a parking lot in Asheville. Crawford? I saw the same cat walking along the highway driving home. It was an omen. A dead hunting dog on the side of the road followed the two sightings of Crawford such a long way from home. I was afraid he would be gone again when I got back.

Helmund Fire writhed in anticipation. He waited all year for this night. Fear was his specialty. He knew of no better way to keep the members of his small congregation worked up and easy to prod in the direction he wanted. The devil's night was his favorite.

The community dining room was recast as the circles of hell. Sinners torments were acted out in graphic fashion and the community's children were escorted through to be held firmly for a time at each grisly scene. A bonfire on the front lawn of the church waited for heaps of immoral books, movies and even a few computers to be burned in praise.

A witch and a homosexual were tied to stakes in the side yard. Next to the witch was a black cat in a wire caged filled with dismembered rats. Sharp sticks were available to poke the black cat and make it scream.

Helmud had seen the black cat on the hill above the road at the the gap many times and set a trap to capture the animal for his festivities.

All around the church grounds the groves of dying hemlocks added a special touch to this year's hell night. Helmund Fire was very pleased with his efforts.

Thank goodness. Crawford was home and waiting for me when I pulled up. The sightings meant nothing. A fevered imagination runs away from me. Still no Mama Spot though. She has not returned from the shadows and is on day number three of her second disappearance.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

A Yeller Fothergilla

It is the time of russet. A reddish brown hue dominates the mountains.

Most of the vivid reds and golden yellows have fallen. Brown is taking hold. This is largely the doing of the oaks I think. They linger til the final moment having the last word, but never say a cheery goodbye.

Inside the cozy cabin the drywall progresses. Now I could end up with mice trapped inside the walls. Mr. Mouse in the floor was quiet today, but I saw evidence of chewing. There was a little bit of suspicious rigid insulation dust near one of the seams.

The back kitchen wall was also completed. You can see the tongue and groove ceiling of the kitchen and bath. A decision was made a while back to do the main living room ceiling in tongue and groove planks to just stick with the theme. The loft ceiling will be drywalled.

Things are getting sealed in and sealed out of the cozy cabin. The lady bugs have begun to arrive in search of cracks and crevices to spend the winter. Last year they swarmed the cabin by the thousands. Not so many this year. So far.

Then there are the bats living under the eaves. My siding and painting only bothered them momentarily no doubt. Everyone is moving in for the winter but me.

The Fothergilla up here is totally yellow with a tinge of brown. Could it be a different species than the ones at Client #1's? They are a nice native shrub and I have eyed this one to dig out some of the suckers. They tend to grow that way as a habit. The suckering is pretty mild and they hold a single shrub appearance quite well. Oh I should check the other pretty Fothergilla for suckers that need to be weeded out.

Out there is a garden waiting to be. I have a couple of sacks of leftover bulbs to plant from Bulbarella's digging this season when I find the time.

I will need shrubs too. The Fothergilla will be a nice addition.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


Close to two inches of rain yesterday and the march of the inevitable is bringing the peak to a rapid end. It is starting to look bare out there.

I was down at Client # 1's raking, raking and doing some more raking of the drop when this very fetching Fothergilla caught my eye. This one plant has a rainbow of color in its fall fashion wardrobe. Green, yellow and hints of red and orange highlight a strong purplish plum. I will be raking for a couple more weeks yet at the Clients. Gardy don't rake up on this mountain.

The big drop is winding down, but it isn't over. I wonder what the annual tonnage of the leaf drop across the northern hemisphere is.

The native Witch Hazel, Hamamelis virginiana, gets naked and gets busy. One day I would like to add to this collection with some of the later blooming, (January, February) varieties.

Moving in the opposite direction, the cozy cabin is getting dressed. The first half wall of drywall was screwed on during the deluge. It is always good to get another project going . You can never have too many projects going on at once.

The last bits of color call for attention as the world turns gray, fluttering in the wind.

The light and shade of the forest is about to go out.

The bare bones of the earth will soon take center stage.

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Silver Lining

The world is preparing to turn cold. The splendor of autumn belies the fact that the forest is battening down the hatches and sealing off openings to the outside. Antifreeze is being manufactured and pumped into the system. Self contained and protected, the forest trees will survive the long frigid twilight of winter.

The little cabin has gotten its final layer of winter protection. The rigid insulation sandwich is done. The silver lining is a radiant heat barrier. One side of it faces down to the outside and the other faces upwards to the cabin floor. Radiant heat can't come in and can't go out. That is the theory anyway.

The water and sewer lines are wrapped in a pink swaddling blanket and boxed in with the rigid insulation. The floor is now even more sealed off from the outside. And a mouse is sealed inside there some where. I can hear it scurrying around. There are still three potential escape routes if it is not trapped inside the wrong segment of floor joists. They tried to move in before the occupancy permit was granted and may suffer the consequences.

The bead board sheets come next. The joints will get wood trim and any tiny openings left will be caulked. Mr Mouse your last call is arriving soon. Get out now while the gettins good.

When I sit at the dining room tablette to sup and enjoy the view I do not want to hear any scurrying sounds beneath my feet.

Get out now Mr. Mouse while there is still time to build yourself a new house for the cold days to come. I won't even mind if you help yourself to the construction scraps. There's even plenty bits of insulation you can have.

This is fair warning. When I move in the Spot family is coming with me. They eat mice like you for breakfast.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

High Above The Fall

It is said a picture is worth a thousand words.

But there is a vision I see, transformed by the mind that I seem unable to share.

Or convey in its full complexity.

Cold to the touch, a steely blue flame has rendered the whole world into a fiery blaze.

Eyes begin to ache from the torch of red, orange, yellow and gold.

Yet you crave more.

To the point where you think there are too many trees in the forest getting in the way of seeing.

High above it all

Kokopelli puts down his flute.

The fire will be over soon.

Time to come home and prepare for the winter.

With a vision transformed and held in the mind.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

I Was Wrong

Fall will not be muted. It is positively glowing right now. This is it, the peak, the weekend my sister should have come to visit, but didn't. The blog will have to do.

There was decidedly more color on the mountain in the view this morning. Overnight things change.

It was the drive to town for more sheets of rigid insulation that convinced me there will be no muting.

The drive down the mountain was suffused with an other worldly light.

Halfway there the sun was out.

Up on the mountain top the clouds have descended. The temperature is plummeting and it is acting like it is going to snow.

I live in the clouds.

Tomorrow I think I will go for a drive if the weather is nice while fall is peaking.

Meanwhile Crawford eats and sleeps off his recent unfortunate trauma close to his mommy and me where he feels safe and warm.

Now where did the aloof Miss Collar get to?

Friday, October 23, 2009

A Cabin In The Fall Wind

The wind has been stirring. The forest creaks. The leaves rustle. Things bump out there among the trunks. I hear other things. A faint meow. I call. It is so distant it could be a sad memory or my wishful imagination. Crawford. Collar. Now where did she get to?

The wind is too loud moving through the forest. Fall brings a whole new array of sound as leaves scatter around. Fruits and nuts drop. The constant rain of branches plummeting to the earth increases in a stiff wind. I can't hear what I imagine I am hearing. A meow must be separated from the rubbing violin of trunks and branches. I wait for a still moment. Collar. Collar. Now where did she get to?

After a couple of hours she finally appears. A roll call training session has begun with an evening feed of canned food.

The thinning forest is about to reveal a summer's work to passersby. It may reveal other things I dread.

From the cabin looking out towards the scenic byway, the trees of the septic drain field garden to be are in their prime. The always half dead Black Locust are on my hit list. Some judicious thinning could allow the addition of some Silver Bell or Sourwood trees. I like my summer privacy screen.

It has been a long time since I have seen the entire floor inside the cozy cabin. The remaining batts of insulation were tossed up in the main loft to make way for the drywall to be delivered.

The floor insulation sandwich is moving along smoothly. A truly insulated house will soon be a reality.

While a cabin grows, a sweep of forest dies. Behind the cabin on the right is a former grove of the mighty Hemlock. Eighty foot tall carcasses are all that remain. When will they fall? It is a sound I am sure to hear. Loud crashes and groaning trees leaning quickly to the ground are a rather common voice in the wild forest. Wind is not always needed.

There is a nice view into the forest canopy from the window in the loft. There could be a whole new array of sound from up here. Funny how the eye does not see screen and the camera hones in on it.

The forest talks and I listen. I need to know who is out there. First I must become fluent in the seasonal language. Rain drops hours after the skies have dried. Ice whispers as it warms and falls. Branches clatter when bare, in leaf it is a stadium roar.

I think I hear a faint meow far off in the distance. It could be carried in on the wind. I position myself, ear cocked in multiple locations. I wait for a still moment. Surely this is imagined, the echos of brain cells deep in the recesses of my psyche. Crawford ... sigh.

Then a small black and white figure comes running down the driveway at dusk with a hoarse meow. Collar what are you so exited about? Meow, mow. The meow is not right. Could it be?

Good Lord have mercy it is. It's Crawford!

He is skinny, hungry, skittish and hyper, but Crawford is back home. There are no dings or dents, no tears, wounds or bald spots. He looks just fine. Crawford is back after five days of an unexplained disappearance.

I think someone is baiting a live trap around here. The question is why can't I hear the kitties cry?