“And all at once, Summer collapsed into Fall.” –Oscar Wilde

woodsy path, man and dogs

My better half, walking our pups.

And that’s how it happened this year: it was summer, then it was fall. Boom, baby.

Aaaand, not long afterward: we were surprised by a killing freeze accompanied by 5″ of soggy wet snow, so my gardens– full of tomatoes, peppers, herbs, edible flowers, and lots of other nice things too, only a couple of days ago–are now full of frozen limb raggedy plants, and lots of cleaning-up chores to do. The radishes and beets and turnips are okay, however, and possibly even sweetened a little from being blanketed with snow for a couple of days.

And the hoop house is still full of edible flowers 🙂 and heirloom tomatoes, so I’m not entirely out of the gardening biz just yet. *phew* And I’m working on transitioning the hoop house over to winter crops, which makes my heart very happy indeed.

The last of the summer squash plants have finally petered out, just last week, and I dug potatoes long ago. I’m having the usual sweet potato regret, though, inwhich--viewing my dad’s gorgeous tubers, and photos other farmers are posting on social media–I feel very sad about not planting sweet potatoes this year. Again.

It takes a special trip to town, you see, in the spring, at just the right time (before the nursery runs out of them) just to purchase those sweet potato slips, and this year I didn’t make it in time. 🙁

Such a poignant state of mind is sweet potato regret. And one that, if I pair with big puppy eyes in the vicinity of my o’er generous dad, may even garner a couple beauties from his huge harvest. And a couple will be enough to feed us all through the fall.

Next year, I will try to grow my own slips (I don’t think it’s difficult, you just have to be with it in your timing, which is difficult enough for me.)

So no sweet potato photos for me, but I’ve got radishes and radishes and radishes. (Anybody for a radish sammage?) Or maybe some hot and creamy radish leaf soup? YUM.

handful of fresh radishes

Radishes: French Breakfast, White Hailstone, and Pink Beauty.

I plan to sock some fermented radishes away soon. They are wonderfully zesty and tasty, and so good for the gut.

The camera on my ‘phone is full of pictures, in fact, and it seems such a shame not to share a few of them. So here are a few photos from the past few months, just for you, gentle reader, as we wrap up summer, and look forward to a few weeks of fall. Colored leaves. Frosty mornings. Wood fires. Snuggling in quilts for read-aloud sessions with little Mack and the girlies. Sounds so good to me.

So let’s put summer to bed, before we embrace fall, okay? If we must, we must. It’s not my choice, ya know. I’d rather have summer all–year–’round. *sigh*

Bike Rides with Mack

Nebraska sunset

Sunsets can be spectacular here in Nebraska.

I actually tried taking pictures from my biking vantage point, waay behind that is, watching my cheeky son zip out ahead of me, laughing at me because I couldn’t keep up with him. “Get with it, Mom! You’re so slow!” (Hmmph.) So it goes. However, some new exercises I’ve been doing have rendered my knees stronger than they’ve been in years—years!-–which was a discovery that caused euphoria in my aging breast, not to mention a longing to go very very fast again. Just one more time, God, let me feel like a teenager.

It’s hard to go at a good speed, on a bike, when your knees won’t let you push down. But that all is behind me, for now. Watch out, Mack, I’ll be the one riding circles around you . . .

Yes, my children, your mama used to race her big brother–on ten-speed bikes–on a loosely-graveled hill–at night--when she was a girl. IT. WAS. FUN. (But please don’t ever do it, yourselves.) I never wrecked my bike, not once, but came close enough (that loose gravel, Mark, remember?) that I felt the keen relief of not crashing, more than once. You know it: that breathless gratitude that you cheated a terrible fate, indeed. That your guardian angels saved you from some real pain, loss of blood, possible broken bones. Then a resolve to just–be–more–careful. Then a careless forgetting of that resolve. Over and over.

Our summer picked up speed from the get-go, and my early summer imaginings of biking farther than our little neighborhood didn’t happen often. Sometimes we bought ice cream at the local DQ and took it (quickly) over to my folks’ house, across town. Before it melted. Sometimes we got lost in the lonesome access roads that wind through the corn and bean fields around our place. Some evenings we biked around the cemetary.

Every place was my favorite.

At the Lake

two little girls playing on a sandy beach

The girlies working on a sand project together. The great thing about playing at the beach is that everybody can get wet, sandy, messy, and it’s appropriate!

This was a brilliant move, on my part. If I may say so, myself. One of the weeks that we kept the girlies while their mama was in the hospital, things began to get dicey at home. Mack was too easily irritated. Girlies were missing their parents and their own home. Tempers flared and tears threatened.

I had a sudden thought, born of desperation: let’s go play. At the lake. And so we packed up a very simple picnic lunch (picnics are always happifying, aren’t they?) and, within thirty minutes, we were at the beach. The girls were ecstatic. Sand! Water! Sticks! Little pebbles! Uncle Mack was relieved for a change of venue. Amma was smug with the knowledge that the tough part of the day was over.

two boys on beach

Gideon and Uncle Mack soaking up some sun.

The girlies were especially delighted because we weren’t in the car longer than twenty minutes. Mack actually (this is big for a twelve-year-old boy) lauded my decision: Good job, Mom, this was a good idea. Any piddling little interpersonal problems we were having at home vanished on the expanse of that beach. Sometimes the answer to a problem just is: go find some water. And some space.

It was too cool to swim, but we waded, we built sand castles, we played in the sand and we ate sandy sandwiches. We picked up pebbles and interesting sticks. We watched clouds and gulls. It was amazing.

little baby with dark eyes and curls and mama

Smiles all around!

The next time we went, we invited Auntie Bethie and cousin Gideon, which was an excellent idea, too.

Mack’s boats


Time spent around the campfire is priceless. Here, Anne teaches an impromptu and casual class on sourdough breads, her new passion.

Regular gentle readers of this blog will already know that the extended Young family spends a weekend together every year, usually at the excellent Ponca State Park. Babies are passed around, dogs are walked, lavish meals are shared, games are played, and lots of coffee is sipped around the campfire.

Saturday morning Breakfast is usually a lavish affair.

We are all busy folks and our family gets bigger in some way or another every year. This weekend is a great time to catch up with each other, and to make some sweet memories.

So many pretty girls . . . and Gideon, right there in the middle of them.

It’s a lot of trouble–packing and prepping and getting everybody there, but it’s so worth it. It is something our family looks forward to all year long.


Continuing the theme of Being-lots-of-trouble-but-worth-it . . .

I just keep accumulating critters. Some days they take more of my time than I think they should! But I think they do fill in the quiet restless areas of my heart that miss having oodles of kiddos underfoot every day (and yes, mamas, I do miss it!). They provide the noise and the activity that I miss.

I am unaccustomed to quiet, ya know.

two dogs in car

Scout–who loves to travel, and Capone, all loaded and ready for a car ride. Can you tell by ‘Pone’s anxious face that he’s not a happy traveler?

We all stay busy with these two pups of ours. Scout has taken to looking for trouble whenever she can get away with it (and even when she can’t). When she can manage it, she’ll slip away from us and choose one of the following to keep her from being bored:

  1. chase the neighbor’s cows
  2. pick on the other neighbor’s dog
  3. go show a coyote in the woods what-for
  4. chase bunnies to the death, never mind the boundaries of our property, the county, or the state
  5. round up our chickens that tease her, just to hear them squawk
  6. put every cat in our vicinity (we have 6) up a tree
  7. go check on ‘Pone’s papa, and if he gives her any lip, pick a fight with him

I know, I know. She is so pretty and looks so sweet, doesn’t she? There’s more. Gosh, she’s something else. So she spends a lot of time on a leash, following me around as I do my chores, going for several walks a day, and inside (still on a leash, because she can open doors with that long nose and she doesn’t suffer being inside any longer than I do) with us when we are in the house.

And Capone? He’s a mellow fellow, prone to carsickness (see the misery in the photo above?) and basically fine with anything. His preferred modus operandi: close enough to me to actually touch me occasionally with his nose. He’s a big sweetheart who doesn’t mind boredom, as long as he’s actually touching me. He is not the restless athlete that his mama is, and I can see him growing fat in his middle age, as lying around the house for hours is just fine with him, thank you. As always–touching me.

The ducklings with their mama and papa, and Charles, Hyacinth and Petunia.

My flock grew quite a bit this summer, but I think they’ll all still be comfortable in our tiny little coop. I hatched out a few Icelandic chicks in my incubator, and two Icie hens also hatched a few chicks each. I bought a few pullets of different breeds this summer, because I wanted to have more eggs to share with family and friends than my Icelandic hens alone provide. And my duck couple hatched out six nearly (not quite!) identical ducklings.

I can’t wait until springtime when my two lady geese start to lay eggs again, now that we have such a handsome male gander . . . !

duck stuck in a bucket

There’s always that one.

This silly duckling–one day she got stuck in a puddle, upside-down, flapping her webby feet in the air and making a ruckus–and the next decided that bathing in this water bucket wasn’t such a good idea, after all, when she couldn’t get back out! ha!

A teaser

Now I’ve gone on too long and I need to get busy, but I’ll leave you with a teaser photo and the promise of a story for another time.

Yes, that’s a bird on my head.

I love you guys. Take care. Get some fresh air! Don’t forget to floss your teeth, and like, comment and share this post to totally make my day. Thanks!



17 thoughts on ““And all at once, Summer collapsed into Fall.” –Oscar Wilde

  1. Andrea

    Love reading your blog–reminds me of one of the lives I envisioned when I was just making life choices. My choices took me in very different directions, but I get such vicarious pleasure from reading about the multidimensional, earthy, relationally beautiful and richly creative life you have built for yourself and others:) Thank you for sharing so generously!

  2. rita penner

    What a lovely post!!!! And that last pic is my favourite of you EVER!!! You make me feel like you’re a real friend that I’ve known and loved for years!

    ps. ice or steam: I sometimes have to think about it, but not today. I’m pretty sure that wasn’t always the case.

  3. Michele D Yates

    Great photos, especially of the birds. My bantam Cochin hen hatched 3 babies with her Silkie roo and they are adorable. Same here with the weather, it has been summer until yesterday and now there is a frost warning/11

  4. gene

    Great posting! I can tell that you wrote this one because you had things you really wanted to share and not because you thought you needed to update your blog. And the pics are great! Darn – I forgot to ask you about Fearless when I stopped by on Friday. Is she still alive? Still roaming ODF at will.

  5. Diane Young Decker

    Just want you to know that the photo at this end of this blog is now in the archives of Young Family Photos. Someday, when the next generation views the photos, they will wonder who that lady is with the bird on her head. They can make up their own stories about that. Love your blog post as always. I’m so glad that things have calmed down a little.

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      Diane, I’m glad that things have calmed down a bit, too! Garden variety craziness is fine with me, but medical crises hanging over garden variety craziness is a bit much! Thanks for the kind words, cuz. <3

  6. Janet Dugan

    Another touching and delightful post! I look forward to them,like letters from old friends.
    Please don’t make us wait too long for the bird/head story!

  7. Becky

    Sounds like you have a great life!
    My mom’s side of the family (7 siblings) does a huge family camping weekend every summer too! This summer was 31 years with nary a miss. The numbers have grown so we just about take over a campground, the potlucks have grown so they fill 3+ tables with food… and it is WONDERFUL. I feel sorry for all the people missing out on this insanity! : )

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      Becky, it does take somebody in the family who is good at–and willing to!–do the organizing. Happily my sister Anne is terrific at this, and she pulls it together every year. Otherwise, I think it wouldn’t still be happening. I think this was our 13th year!

  8. Chef William

    Great post,great pictures, three of which are outstanding. The dogs, the duck in the bucket and of course the teaser. That is Mack’s bird is it not? Little update for you. We will be ready for your visit in what you call late spring or early summer. We are building on our farm land. We break ground November 6th. No electric wiring yet but it should be there by the time we build. Water will be trucked in bi-weekly and we will use tanks of propane for our stove and eater heater. Not the little ones but those that are about 5 feet tall. oh ya, because it is in the hills we are including a fireplace. I have designed a drainage system where sink water will go to the garden area so it will always have water. We are in the hills about a couple of miles from other farms. Do you have any suggestions of the water drainage idea?

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      Gosh, Chef, no well out there? I’m sure it’s beautiful, back there in the hills! But I’m not full of ideas for the water drainage idea, except that your idea sounds like a good one. Use the sink (and other waste water) to water the garden. Also take advantage of rainwater coming off of the roofs of your structures? I’ve always wanted to set up barrels around our house to do the same thing, since we have such a large roof. I’d love to see pictures of all this exciting activity, and I’d love to be a guest at this new place someday soon!

  9. Kay

    I seriously mourned for you & your garden during our recent snowstorm. I had a momentary thought for my few remaining outside herbs & flowers (garden as you know has been LONG gone.) I wondered if you had had time to pick, store, gather, squirrel away, harvest your garden before the 5″ of wet whiteness we had. I see, you did not. I’m so sorry. I was thankful to find on this past weekend that my herbs survived and looky there! Baby cilantro plants that were seeded by this spring’s momma plants. Unfortunately I don’t think they’ll have much of a chance to get big enough to use in salsa or pico, but they might. I potted up my 2 big flat leaf parsley (from you) and my lavender, rosemary, English & Lemon Thyme (all from you too) in 2 BIG pots and along with my green foliage plants from my dad’s funeral (another HUGE pot) and some ivy that call my name at Wal-mart one day; my office is a blooming (not really) garden! My boss had a couple of HUGE-ER foliage plants already enjoying the sunny west exposure and my clearance Wal-mart orchid is happy (hurry up and bloom again!) And that’s what’s going on at my house. 🙂 (Ok, corn & soybean harvest too, but I’m tired of thinking, talking, stressing over that.)

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      Sweet friend, no need to mourn over my perishing garden! I could have spent a lot of time tossing blankets and tarps around and might have saved some of it, but it’s just too big at this point for that to be feasible. I’ve been hurting for you folks (and some of my commercial farm neighbors) who still have beans and corn in the fields! It’s got to be dry enough one of these days, with this brilliant October sunshine, to harvest, right? It sounds like you’ve been potting up lots of nice plants to keep your house healthy and to pinch and smell all winter long. Good job! If they make it through the winter, you can plant them back outside and get a headstart on next year’s garden. Word to the wise: the lavender and rosemary do not suffer overwatering! Let them dry out a bit between waterings. They will kinda be in a dormant state through the winter. If you water them lustily they’ll die one by one. Ask me how I know this. *winces* Thank you for the update! I love hearing from you. <3

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