As Fall falls

It's the last day of summer and I can feel the difference. The goldenrod lies exhausted in the meadow, top-heavy plumes worked over by bees and dipping back toward the sod. Lettuce is 2-feet tall and stringy, the only cutlery it will see is when I fork it into the soil to rot for next year. The wind comes in big spooky gusts that rock the house and send the first fallen leaves skittering across the road like the dry, discarded jackets of last spring's cicadas. The night-time has grown more insistent, slowly silencing the grasshoppers and treefrogs as it leaks and leaks more into each passing day. And the apples are here. The grandmother tree by the barn drops hers any old time into the muddy track, among the overgrown weeds, or behind the detached snow-plow. It's still summer, today. But the change is here, and the exhalation that started midsummer's day is getting stronger now, blowing straight through the open windows in our living room, taking with it all the too-hot days of July and August, and bringing the inward-looking pumpkin-times ahead.

What it all comes down to is: time to start up Netflix again.

In the meantime

I've been trying to decaffeinate myself and it's been painful. I think I've made some progress, however, since after only 2 weeks of searing headaches and brain-deadness I am starting to have some energy again. And it must come from... myself! I am still drinking some hi-test tea now and then, and so perhaps extending my agony, but I think the worst is over. Not drinking coffee is by no means a permanent vow. I was just getting annoyed by the hold it seemed to have over me. I hate being bent into submission by mere chemicals. A big reason why I no longer smoke--anger at addiction.

I was in Woodstock Vermont recently and find it a charming town. It has a fairy-tale quality and is very tidy, which I think means that a lot of rich people live near the town center (the houses are charming and enormous, a big clue). But despite my innate uneasiness being in the land of the haves, I couldn't help liking some selected stores around the main intersection--a nice used bookstore, 2 good stores with new books, Bentley's restaurant (which has the twilit atmosphere of a classy hotel lobby of yesteryear), Gillingham's general store (where they sell Fluke ukuleles, guns, Quimper china, potato chips, fine wines, greeting cards, escargots, crackers, you name it), and a sweet below-street kitchen store that had silicon pastry brushes I regrettably forgot to purchase. To counter these ritzy establishments, we were also relieved to find a natural foods store called the Woodstock Farmer's Market a little way up the road. OK, it was somewhat swanky too, but they make really good sandwiches.

The highlight of the trip was an afternoon at the Billings Farm & Museum. It's a working dairy farm but mainly a panoply of farm-oriented attractions & talks that go on throughout the day. We attended demonstrations about sheep & Jersey cows, saw some gorgeously bored Percheron horses, and visited the many interesting buildings & outbuildings on the property, plus the heirloom vegetable garden. And everything seemed so frickin' clean--not like some farms I've seen!

Next up, Garlic festival! I must lay in my annual supply of dip mixes. Dip is one of the only methods I've found to disguise vegetables so I think they're edible... Because salad is what food eats.