Monday, October 17, 2011

"Here We Go Gathering Nuts and May"

Recognize the quote? It's Eeyore, misquoting Alice Gomme's 19th century song, set to the tune of "Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush". You can find it in Gomme's "Traditional Games of England, Scotland and Ireland ", if you happen to have a copy handy.*

This morning, after our dishes were done, Kiddo and I headed out into a cold and misty morning to survey the dregs of the Apple Festival at Portland Nursery. I was determined to make some applesauce, and the looked-over Galas fit the bill. Of course, they are nothing fancy, you can find them at the grocery store year-round, but at  99cents a pound, that's a lot of cheap applesauce. Kiddo helped me pick some out, looking for bruises and spots. Then we headed over and grabbed up a bag of Cascade pears, one of my favorite varieties besides the D'Anjous. Inside, we stopped and picked out a handful or two of crocus corms in a variety of colors to plant along the borders of the front yard. Crocuses are one of those cheerful harbingers of spring that always make me glad to see on the cold, wet February mornings.

On our way home, we stopped beneath a chestnut tree and collected the shiny brown nuts, sometimes having to carefully extract them from their prickly hulls. This was a big, fun game for us, finding them in the street (watching for cars as we rescued them from being pulverized by traffic), seeking them under the spent lily greens in the garden below the tree, and finding a few out in the open, showy like brown marbles waiting on the sidewalk. They sit now in a bowl, waiting for me to find a "how to roast chestnuts" article online. Even after roasting and eating them, I'm sure the memory of collecting them will be the best part of it all.

This afternoon has been pretty terrific. Good sandwiches for lunch when we got home; I prepped all the apples while talking to my sister in Washington and Kiddo sprinkled them with cinnamon, then into the crock-pot they went. We worked in the front yard for nearly two hours today, digging out a now-illegal butterfly bush. They are considered an invasive plant and were placed on the Oregon Department of Agriculture's no-no list, so that they cannot be grown, sold or transported throughout the state. This has been in effect since early 2010, so we're a bit late in being law-abiding citizens, but Kiddo was so excited about the butterfly bush this spring I thought I'd give it a bit of a reprieve, if only for this season. "It's sad that you are digging it out" he told me today, and while I was sad too, this will only make sure that my relationship with the Native Plants Only gardener next door doesn't suffer.

Corn soup for dinner tonight with good crusty bread and smoked salmon. The light outside is changing, which tells me it's time to start thinking about setting the table and getting bowls out. Today was good. Really good. I'm going to savor it for a while, to think about the silly moments: spotting a squirrel digging through the composter like crazy; Kiddo still in his underwear because his pants were totally trashed after he sat in a hole full of fresh dirt; Kiddo finding leaves to bring home from our morning outing, even the ugly ones. (I suppose that's more sweet than silly.) All in all, a very satisfying day. Just as an autumn day gathering nuts and apples should be.

*I don't have a copy, just Wikipedia and a curiosity about these things.

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