I’ve taken up a new transitional ritual every time we return to the Enterprise house. After we’ve unloaded, done our evening stuff, and had dinner, I go into the bathroom, pull out the jar of Fango facial mud, and give myself a facial. During this hot, muggy summer it’s felt like purging the grime and stress of the big city and beginning a lovely period back up in the mountains with clean air and fewer people. I don’t know that it makes that much difference in my skin but it definitely helps me relax back into the pace and rhythms of Enterprise as opposed to Portland.
But transitions are happening everywhere. It’s the season for wrapping up summer chores and finalizing winter food prep for humans and creatures alike. The wheat threshers work long hours harvesting fields while those of us who can and freeze are busy. Most of the most recent cutting of hay is already put up, but those ranchers who haven’t finished with the hay are hustling. This week alone, while juggling novel, back-to-school prep, and other stuff, I put up zucchini relish and a lot more applesauce than what I want to think about. Between canned applesauce and frozen applesauce we’re in good shape–the trees were quite productive. We’ll be going back to Portland and Clatskanie and I’m already planning what to do with cabbage, corn, and zucchini (relish and pickling ahead). This was my first canning in Enterprise, and the kitchen passed the canning test with flying colors, even with adjusting for altitude.
Just through this week I’ve noticed the arrival of fall. The angle of the sun. A damp coolness in the air. A late summer thunderstorm briefly grumbled over us last night, processing from Ruby Peak over town and continuing northeast toward Idaho. The leaves on the burning bush add a little bit more red every day.
Today Mocha and I jumped up a whitetail buck by the road. As he bounded away, I noticed that his antlers were the bright white of freshly sharpened horn. Hunting season has opened for archery and gun season is a month off. No more bucks in velvet, I guess. Our late afternoon ride was cool, and I realized that this might well be the last shirtsleeve ride of the year, if not one of the lasts. Mocha’s been hairing up the past couple of weeks, winter coat starting to come in. One doe I saw today already had a winter coat coming in.
We also marked yet another transition today as the last construction project on the house wrapped up. Today the contractor put the last touches on the front porch. For the first time since March, 2014, we no longer have construction projects pending on this house. We do have some plans for future things to be doing, but nothing as big as what we’ve already had done or are doing.
More warm days may return…but autumn is here. High autumn, with the hopeful promise of early winter and a good snowpack.
I think I’m ready for it.