Sunday, November 14

The Last Ditch




We had great weather this past Saturday - sunny and in the 60's - so I tackled as many outdoor projects as possible. There are quite a few left on the list but I managed to check a few off. Some of the flower beds have been cleared out for winter and all things have been stored away before the snow hits. We also managed to rake up the ton of leaves that have been piling up ion one section of the yard. We still have a few more 'sections' to tackle and I am hoping for a sunny day this coming week.

Today was a total wash out with clouds and rain and general unpleasantness. Normally, I love a good storm, but this was just a miserable kind of cold, pelting mess. We headed to the movies and saw 'Skyline' which was not everything I thought it could be, and checked out the new L L Bean store, which had everything and was an expensive as I thought it would be. We didn't buy anything and I don't think we will be shopping there. The things were nice but the prices were high and I was turned off by the trapper hats lined with real fur. A sticker on each hat indicated that "Yes! This is real fur!" No thanks.

It is the middle of November and we are fully aware of the 'last ditch effort' qualities to our outdoor projects. I have given up painting the shed until next spring, as well as scraping all the lead paint off the front porch and repainting that. Yard cleanup and winterizing for the chickens are our two 'efforts' that are almost done and I am not feeling as rushed as I usually am this time of year. Maybe it was because I enjoyed a red rose and some black eyed susans while out and about in the yard on Saturday. They were making their own last ditch effort - tempting the season as I like to call it.

Making a 'last ditch effort' historically, as it turns out, is not as pleasant as smelling a late blooming rose. Simply put the expression alludes to the military sense of last ditch, “the last line of defense.” Its figurative use dates from the early 1800s.

William of Orange, my ill-sentiments concerning Ireland aside, seems to be one of the first to use the expression -- 'There's one certain means by which I can be sure never to see my country's ruin: I will die in the last ditch." William of Orange (c. 1677).

Another source states that the last ditch was, in military terms, the last line of defense. The term had begun to be used figuratively by the eighteenth century, when Thomas Jefferson wrote, 'A government driven to the last ditch by the universal call for liberty.' Similarly, to 'die in the last ditch' means to resist to the end; it dates from the early 1700s." From "Fighting Words: from War, Rebellion, and Other Combative Capers" by Christine Ammer

My last ditch efforts are to button my homestead up before the snows of winter arrive so we can spend out days warm and quiet, not venturing out unless we have to, and enjoying the slower days with homemade soups. Nothing quite militaristic about that unless you want to think of a fleeting rebellion against slush and ice coated windshields.

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