Thursday, October 3

Black Cats, White Pumpkins and the Deer That Wasn't Friendly After All.

As if on cue for Halloween, it seems that a new stray cat has found its way to our barn. A beautiful black cat with bright green eyes and a skittish personality. He, or she, also seems to be a bit on the intimidating side as my long-term stray cat Bailey has taken to giving this new cat a wide berth.
Many superstitions involve the black cat and I really don't put much stock in any of them, especially the more negative notions of bad luck and 'witch familiars'. I did however find two interesting notes:
The Scottish believe that a strange black cat's arrival to the home signifies prosperity. This is something that I could definitely use - a little prosperity never hurt anyone.
And, in the Middle Ages, negative superstitions led people to kill black cats. This had the unintended consequence of increasing the rat population and the spread of the Black Death (bubonic plague) and other diseases carried by rodents. (what goes around, comes around.....)
This is the best picture I could get of "black cat".

I love fall. It is my favorite season for many reasons. The colors are perfect - all of my favorites in one big autumn explosion. The days are crispy cool but still warm in the sun. It is sweater weather but flip flops are still acceptable foot ware. Bees congregate at the apple sellers table at the farmers market. Knitting scarves, taking pictures of leaf-changing landscapes, rows upon rows of mis-shapen, lopsided, not-quite-orange pumpkins, and rows of perfect ones with prices set a little too high.

I think that selling crispy corn stalks is both ingenious and annoying. Three cheers for the farmer who can make money from selling his sweet ears of golden corn, and can also make money from the stalks instead of grinding them up. People will pay a nice little sum to have a pretty bunch of sheaves to adorn their front porch or to engulf their lamp post. Genius! Gone are the days of swinging by the farmers field after the harvest and chopping down an armload of the browned d├ęcor for free. And that is where the 'annoying' comes in. Growing up in a rural area, I personally hate paying for corn stalks.

Ah, the white pumpkin. I love them and they are beautiful. And my brother invented them.

Yep, my brother, at around age 8, planted some sort of squash too close to the orange pumpkins in my Dad's garden and the white pumpkin was born. A local farmer came to see the pumpkin and offered to buy the seed from my brother who declined. As for my brothers white pumpkin enterprise, he did not pursue the venture and now you can see varieties of white pumpkin in many seed catalogs. All knock-offs of my brothers original, to be sure. I'll need to ask my Mother more about that family story...

Most of us know that a deer is not an animal that enjoys socializing. They don't like encroachment into their personal space, even if that intruder is a cute 4 1/2 year old boy with the best of intentions. My parents have a few deer that they refer to as 'regulars.' These deer come to certain areas of the yard at certain times of the day and it has gotten so that the deer are comfortable with my parents coming and going around the yard while they are munching grass and crab apples.

While visiting my parents the other day the little man saw one of the regulars grazing on the tall grass by the woodpile and he was determined to pet this deer. Given that they are not prone to run when the back door opens, this deer stayed put, eating grass, while the little man got a little closer.... and a little closer..... and even closer.....

...until the deer decided that this was not my mother taking the laundry off the line and ran into the hedgerow.
"What do you mean I can't pet the deer???

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