On this Harvest Moon

Full moon times in the West County make for tightly wound days that uncoil through dreams in the night. The Queen of Summer retraces her footsteps past our bedroom window, now as Demeter, ragged in her dress. The plants in my garden are giving it a last go, most of their leaves are laced with holes, browning at the edges. The sunflowers bow their heads and the juvenile American Goldfinches try out their grace, as they acrobat for the seeds. The sun still plays at ferocity mid-day, but goes to bed earlier each evening and burnishes everything with golden slanted light.

She’s had that tutu since she was two.


We spent the weekend starting some projects, finishing others. We canned tomato sauce, planted two half wine barrels with herbs, and, because I didn’t learn my lesson in the spring, I planted the seeds of kale and carrots. Heeeerrrre earwig wiggy wiggy… Fern and I also played with full moon magic by making bioregional incense. We have to wait a week for it to dry, but I’ll tell you how it turned out on the other blog.


Fern returning from gathering plants for her incense, wearing her current go-to uniform.

We spent most of the weekend around the homestead, being decidedly unglamorous, but as ever, there were mundane wonders. Such as…

Mystery Solved: The case of the random eggs.

Over the last couple of weeks, Fern and I have been bemused by the sudden pathside appearance of random eggs. Here and there, down where the horse ranch abuts the neighboring farm, we have found chicken eggs nestled in the grass. The ranch doesn’t have chickens, nor have we seen any, save for off in the distant pastures. Are they booty stolen by a crow or weasel, dropped or temporarily hidden? Is the Easter Bunny getting in some early practice?

Distant chickens

On Sunday, Jeff was getting some help hauling redwood fence boards up to our house from a pile down by this section of the path. As they removed a few from the top, a sudden cackle and flurry announced the presence of a rogue chicken, startled from her nest. We’re guessing its an escapee from the farm. I didn’t see it, but Fern said it was white with that red thing (comb) on its head. The hen  buh kawked its way over the fence, and as of last night, hadn’t returned to her nest. We left her eggs there and made a little shelter for her, just in case she comes back.


Another Mystery Solved: The case of the insomniac owls.

Each morning on my run (I run now! 1.5 miles! Everyday! I haven’t lost an ounce, but I’m getting stronger, which I’ve decided matters more) I pass my favorite field and slow down, listening…and then there it is…the inhaled screech of someone decidedly owlish. Often there are two, calling back and forth hhhhrreeeeep? hhhreeeeeeep! Sometimes there’s a little action thrown in, like the scolding of 30+ crows, all mobbing a tree by the road and calling for reinforcements. Crows were answering from all over the hills and flying in, swooping over my head. I stopped that day, expectant. I knew what was happening and I held my breath in hope. Sure enough, the crows flushed an owl out from the tree and it flew right in front of me, back to its usual grove, the mob of crows following behind. I was giddy with delight, but also perplexed. I had thought for sure that they were Barn Owls, with that hissy screech, even though it didn’t make sense (Barn Owls are considered to be “strictly nocturnal”), but this owl was not at all white.

Thus followed several days of me driving myself crazy trying to id this bird. I listened to every call on Bird Songs of California from Cornell Ornithology. I even used up my book credit at Green Apple to buy another id book. It was only after watching the juvenile goldfinches that I chanced upon a hint. I’ve also heard Great Horned Owls around here…what do the juveniles sound like? Ah-ha! Check out this great blog on Earbirding...because I know you’re just rapt with attention about all this. A-hem…

And so went our weekend. It seemed I was doing nothing but cleaning, until finally I hugged Fern and said Let’s color because all this cleaning is getting me down. So we colored and listened to America’s Back Forty and I took photos of clean corners in our messy house.



Fern’s beloved purchase at the county fair. We named it Stinky, because it off-gassed “that beach ball smell” all the way home in the hot car.


Yup. Exactly what it looks like. Cleaning it with Hydrogen Peroxide.


I thought I could wrap up this post with something a bit more poetic, but I been sittin here for 10 minutes, and I got nothin. So I’ll let the rest of my photos do the talking and hey…did you catch that post about Meinrad Craighead on the other blog? I think you’ll love it (I especially thought of you Anne).

Look for the moon tonight at the horizon, a little before sunset. She’s the last supermoon of the year, and she’s gonna be a beaut.

Hey my herb-lovin ladeez…Moonrise Herbs, my first-love herb store from my Humboldt days, has these shirts for sale. I have Nettle (shown above) and California Poppy (grey and gold) and there’s also Echinacea (purple). They aren’t listed on the website yet, but you can call them, which is what I did after squeeeeeeing all over their FB page.

Mid yawn in her new sit spot.



What are you harvesting? xoxo


3 thoughts on “On this Harvest Moon

  1. i loved this post mary! the corners you showed of your home are inspiring! i want to see more. i can’t wait to see how the incense turns out. i’ve been wanting to make incense for years and still haven’t. fern is so cute and your shirt is rad and the pictures are beautiful and i just enjoyed ti all!

    thank you for thinking of me! i commented on your other blog, which looks so good btw 🙂

  2. Mmmmmmmm, this post gave me more food for thought for your b-r-s package, that non-fictional one I keep blathering on about. Keep on running, the feeling of being fit surpasses that of being skin and bones. Don’t forget, when the zombie apocalypse happens, you’ll be running so fast they won’t be able to catch ya. And one day soon you will see the difference in how running shapes your body, when you forgot you were even looking for it. Well, that’s how it has happened with me. Incidentally I’ve chubbed up a little, and my B00BS have gotten plumper for the first time since Mia weaned. It is exciting believe me, i thought they had gone for good. I’m going to trade off a flatter tummy for plumper b00bs – I’m 38 and I’m okay with that! Like Anne said, your house is looking so comfy and cute, and yes please show us more. x

  3. Me too! Mystery hens! Owls who don’t sleep! I’m not harvesting much in the way of fruit and veg. Leaving for a huge journey right in the beginning of harvest season has been a bit of a bummer, BUT I am harvesting lots of grand ideas, in fact, my brain is on overdrive with wild, wild thoughts. Also, I’m harvesting a metric s-ton of eggs, because, 11 hens equals roughly 77 eggs a week! Shiver me timbers with homestead luck! I’m happy to be back in comment land, after a summer that left much to be desired in blog reading and I hope you know I read each of your posts when I can, here and there in late nights and early mornings. Thank you for all of them and Happy Fall!

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