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Today has been one of those quintessential autumn days — a strange, blustery blend of sunshine and wind gusts strong enough to strip my maple trees of their remaining leaves.  It was beautifully clear, but chilly, and made me realize how few sweatshirt days we have left!  The temperature was a poignant reminder that fall is now barreling rapidly toward winter in our part of the country (and gaining momentum daily!)  It’s still technically fall — the remaining leaves are as brilliant as you could could ask for… but the days are growing shorter and the nights colder… and yesterday morning, I was surprised by the hint of snow in the air.  I don’t even know how to describe the “snow-in-the-air” scent — but it’s unmistakable!  We won’t likely see snowflakes outside our windows for another couple weeks at least, but we could wake up to snow on the mountaintops any day.  I love the way the mountains look when the tops are dusted with white.  It’s so beautiful!  And motivational!!  Our long “to do before the snow flies” list is suddenly on the forefront of our minds!  Today’s chore was mulching the garden with leaves and covering the rose bushes with straw to protect them from a deadly root freeze over the winter.  We never know going into it what kind of winter we are going to get!  Sometimes our winters are relatively mild and other years we have weeks of well-below zero temperatures!  We plan for the worst but hope for the best in terms of the temps… however, snow is always inevitable!  🙂

This time of the year always brings back wonderful childhood memories of going out to the woods to get firewood with my dad.  We’d leave early in the morning and spend the whole day out working, bringing back load after load of firewood to stack in the woodshed.  My sister and I would play in the trees and among the little groves of saplings and bushes until my dad finished cutting down the first tree.  Then we’d help roll the cut rounds back to the truck, and after Dad split them, would load them one by one.  We’d take turns being the stacker in the truck bed (I’m not sure why that was the coveted position — but it was!)  By the end of the day our little arms ached and we were covered in leaves, dirt and sawdust — but we were so happy.  More often than not, it was raining, so we were wet on the outside and steaming on the inside because of how fast we were moving.  It was deeply satisfying, even as a kid, knowing that all our hard work was going to result in months of warm fires and toasty backsides!  I remember so clearly the smells of the forest on those days — dusky wet leaves, pungent pine needles, chainsaw fuel, freshly sawn Tamarack and Fir trees…  To this day when I smell these things, I am transported back in time… to the cab of an old Chevy truck, bumping along a logging road, clutching a sack lunch and looking excitedly out the windshield into the grey, misty October morning.

Peter and I use a pellet stove for our primary heat source, so we don’t need firewood… It’s actually a LOT less work and hassle… but on days like these, I miss having a woodstove!  We are going to have to take our kids on “pretend” firewood cutting trips into the mountains as they get older, because I can’t imagine them growing up without the opportunity to make those memories!

But, back to today… Jo and I were outside much of the afternoon and I wish you could have seen how delighted she was when a big gust of wind blew by her swirling up the fallen leaves into the air all around her.  It was magical!  She raked leaves with her little rake and played in the garden with Sophie while I worked.  We laid on our backs in the grass and watched the leaves fall from the trees and I finally went inside to grab my camera.  Of course, I did!!… it was all just too good to miss!  🙂

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The best picture! Her hair is finally long enough to blow in the wind!!!

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