This morning a leaf beckoned me to open the deck door and walk outside. Come, come, it whispered. I am covered with dew. I am a harbinger of autumn, even though most of your leaves still sing in green. I have been eaten by caterpillars. Perhaps even the caterpillar that fell on your hand that fateful night last week, Kathy.
It’s a caterpillar versus leaf world out there. More accurately, it’s an interdependent ecosystem out there with each precious organism depending on another for its very lifeblood.
The name of this lovely caterpillar, thanks to my god-daughter Rosalee is a Banded Tussock Moth Caterpillar. When I posted this on my Facebook page in a moment of caterpillar love and mystery one dusky evening, Rosalee took it upon herself to delve into the encyclopedia of online Google and discover the scientific name of this creature who fell from the sky unto a person’s hand.
She faithfully searched and searched. Was it the milkweed tussock moth? Close but no. Besides, milkweed grows down by the bay, but not in our curve of the woods. (A fact she wouldn’t know.)
I also posted these photos on Facebook yesterday. I was willing to blog ’em first, but no blog appeared until the leaf fell this morning, so you guys are second fiddle this time, but not in my heart. Besides, you guys get stories!
The above full wood shed of split logs features the fruit of our summer work. We’ve been busy little caterpillars, eating away at delivered logs of trees. The chainsaw whirs, the splitter slices and the humans fill the 1949 Studebaker pickup truck with logs. Then we unload them in our relatively new wood shed.
Full disclosure: I like splitting wood. While it’s a lot of summer work, it’s become a fun ritual over the years. We try to cut and split before the sun shines at its zenith. We try to avoid 80 (26C) degree splitting. I feel like it’s good exercise, something to do on long summer morns or evenings. And we LOVE the feeling of steady wood heat throughout the endless winter, we surely do. Propane heat feels cold and miserly. Wood heat warms your bones, it surely does.
Fuller disclosure: See the last of our little pile that won’t fit in the wood shed? It’s been reduced by a third since this photo shoot. We’re stacking it between the trees behind the pile. Now one row lies covered with a silver tarp. See our wood splitter? Isn’t she lovely?
Fullest disclosure: I am soooo ready for wood splitting to be entirely over. Only about twenty-five logs to go.
The last photo is the garden in front of our little house. The little house that Barry built. The little house that Barry and Kathy built all those years ago when we were birthing babies and cooking in cast iron skillets and swatting mosquitoes left and right.
The garden is a lot of work this time of year. Beans, beans and more beans. Zucchini, zucchini and more zucchini. We’ve sold some zukes to the owner of the fruit stand south of town. He doesn’t like big ones. He wants small ones. But big zucchini breed overnight. At twilight they’re five inches long. By dawn: two feet! (I am only exaggerating slightly, tee hee. Those of you who’ve grown ’em know how it goes.)
I am still amazed at how this blog post dropped out of the sky like a caterpillar full from eating a red and yellow harbinger leaf of autumn. Hope you all are enjoying a lovely Labor Day weekend if you’re here in the states. Otherwise: your very own Monday, however it’s appearing to you, sunny or cloudy, working or resting, splitting wood or admiring the leaves on beautiful trees.