This weekend we enjoyed a number of Halloween and autumn-related events — parties, trick-or-treating, and pumpkin carving among them. This autumn has been different than many seasonal changes I’ve experienced.
For one thing, as my friend Mike posted on Facebook the other day, “the temperature dropped from 90 to 55 as if it had seen a state trooper.” It made me laugh, but it was so right! We had summer weather that lasted well past Sept. 22, and then overnight I was hunting for sweaters and turning on the furnace.
Nope, autumn is not arriving with its typical gorgeous colors among the tree tops. I look out over our woods and the woods around the creek near us and all I see are lush green lawns and a variety of green hues in the leaves. Occasionally we’ll find a red leaf down on the ground, but they aren’t significantly visible among the trees. In fact, our lawns look as good as they did in May. That’s the good news. The bad news is that we still have to mow every five days! There are a few ways that autumn is showing her face, though.
The stink bugs — which plagued us through August and September — seem to have finally migrated to their winter homes. Those dratted things were terrible this year, I suppose because it was unusually warm. They’d land on and around our storm doors and wait for us to enter or leave. As soon as the door was opened, no matter how quickly we closed it, a dozen or more would fly in. They immediately flew up to the ceiling, coming close to us only to buzz us while we were distracted and taking a month or two off our lives. They also forced us to find creative ways to encourage them to leave. We tried a mop (ineffective), the vacuum (effective, but smelled terrible), and spraying mint oil around the door frames (which seemed to attract them).
Finally, they left. Which means, of course, that the cooler nights attracted mice into our home. I’ve washed the silverware and pots three times now, and sanitized the drawers and cupboards. Matt has caught four of the little devils and we seem to have gotten word out to the mouse community that we are not a safe place for them. Catching mice is an every-autumn activity in the country.
Turning up the furnace is the first warming activity. The placement of a blanket on the bed is a second. Nothing beats snuggling in a chilly room under a soft blanket. The third aspect of the autumn warming ritual is hitting the snooze button on the alarm. I know it’s better to jump up when the alarm rings and start my day. But sometimes, especially in the fall, I like to start my day with a little procrastination and a deeper burrow into the blanket.
Mice aside, it’s good to enjoy all the blessings of autumn — pumpkins, the harvest, kids in costumes, candy, campfires, and the snooze button. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sue is a retired public servant who volunteers at the Hospice store (For All Seasons) in Troy and teaches part-time at Urbana University. She keeps busy taking care of husband, house, and pets. She and her husband have an adult son who lives in Troy.