Fall at the House of Fairchild

November 3 – Last week it seemed like summer around here! But, from the 82 of that day, it started out at about 40 in the mornings after that and rarely has made it up to 60. When I first got up that first day and saw that 40 on the thermometer, I told Dale I would be satisfied to stay inside all day for a change and get some of the things done that have been put aside so we could get the yard and garden taken care of before the real cold weather arrives.

Fall leaves

Fall leaves

One of the young guys in our church is in charge of putting the pictures on the big screen TV near the pulpit. I recently asked him if he would like to have some nature shots. When he said yes, he told me that the pictures he had been using came with the TV system and did not come from him or anyone else he knew. After sending him several, we were disappointed to find that the entire picture did not appear on the screen, just the very center of it.

He worked on the problem and found out that he could fit them on the screen, but wanted them horizontal, not in vertical mode. So this weekend, I spent a couple hours sending him 35 new pictures with the autumn season in mind. Lots of beautiful trees, many in brilliant orange or red; some of our pond which showed reflections of nearby trees in great color; chrysanthemums; old country fences with oak branches and bright leaves overhanging them, and other scenes from the country. To save time, I fixed up a set of five photos to go, then stopped for breakfast, set up more, and kept busy doing other tasks while that slow-moving system finally took care of the job.

Downy woodpecker

Downy woodpecker

While typing a note to one of our friends later in the day, I heard a sharp pecking somewhere around the house and figured it was a woodpecker having a good time in the albesia tree or on the telephone pole. After a few minutes, Dale called me to the living room and said there was a downy woodpecker trying to peck apart a wasp nest that was glued to the top of one of the windows looking out on the porch. Was he ever banging with that bill of his! Must have been a real pile of wasp larvae in that nest. Wasn’t very sure I could take the bird’s picture from inside the front door, but I tried anyway. Just held the camera up high enough so it could see the woodpecker. I wouldn’t say the photos are spectacular, but I was happy to get them anyway.


Asian pears, anyone?

I checked with the remainder of our Asian pears, and decided to take care of them all at once. Don’t know what happened to the crop this year, as every one of them has strange lumps on the skin; tiny, but really noticeable. Never had anything like that before, but since the wild pear tree in the pasture has the same kind of problem, we have inherited that from somewhere. Had to waste half of each pear, but it was good to finally get them off the list. Sad, too, because Asian pears are such a delicacy and in the stores are really expensive! We have two trees, but the pears were the same on both. Dale is trying to figure out what he should use to spray them next year so we won’t lose most of them again.


Jerusalem artichoke stalks

One of the fun jobs we did last week was to finally cut down the entire patch of Jerusalem artichokes. That’s the one with tall canes reaching up into the sky; many were more than twice my height! We cut and cut with pruning shears of one kind or another, until all were on the ground, ready to be carried away by Dale on the big blue tarp. Also mowed down the wild blue indigo and verbena. Now when we check the yard in the morning, it’s hard to believe that the entire garden area on the north side of the barn is just flat and mowed down! We are left with nothing to help us remember those good crops, except for the preserved foods in the canning jars and freezers (and the occasional splinter). – CHRIS

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