What a beautiful version of Autumn Leaves by Eva Cassidy💕
Today is a classic autumn day. The sun is shining, the sky is a cloudless blue and there’s a crisp chill in the air. The leaves on our grapevines are falling every day and creating their usual autumn mess, but as they fall they allow the sun to shine into our kitchen with a lovely warm, golden glow.
We have lived in our home for the past 40 years and the vines were planted about 35 years ago for several reasons … to shade our north facing wall and windows in summer to help keep the house cool; to discard their leaves in autumn so that the sun warms up the north facing wall and warms our kitchen/eating/sit-here-all-day-area; and naturally, to provide us with grapes. They have certainly done all of that and more. We have a lovely dappled shady area from December through to February/March where we sit, eat, and entertain protected from the fierce summer sun …
and then, as the leaves fall and the grapes start to wither, we still have this lovely area where we can enjoy the warm sunshine on cooler days and the birds are still coming in to check out the grapes which, I must add, they do all summer! We work on the theory that there’s always enough grapes for us and the birds and the bees.
Winter is the only time that it’s not practical to be out there … but on those occasional winter days, when the sun is shining (and it’s very cold), we will still take our cup of tea outside and sit and chat in the sun.
Our home is an L-shape and our lives are centred mainly in our kitchen area as it’s the long room on the bottom of the L. It incorporates the laundry at the very end, then the actual kitchen part with sink, stove, cupboards, fridge, etc and then an eating area that on the original 1970s plans was called the “family room”. It truly is a family room. As a family of five (we’re now retired and just two of us), this is where we have always gravitated. It’s not a very large area at all. We’ve managed to squeeze in a 1930s kitchenette, a writing desk, table and chairs for six that has stretched on many occasions to eight or more and a lovely Everhot slow combustion wood stove.
The wood stove is lit as soon as the cool autumn days and night arrive and it burns non-stop until the end of winter … except when it decides to go out before I get to it in the morning 😕 The majority of my cooking is on this stove, the kettle is always hot and ready for a cuppa, and the bonus is that it warms the house and boosts our solar hot water system.
We both spend a good part of the early morning here … Gordon reading the paper and doing the Sudoku and crosswords, while I catch up on emails, Facebook and other computer “stuff”. On cold winter days it’s our favourite place to be when we’re not doing “other stuff”. Gordon has a car restoration project that he’s working on and he’s still planting out his winter/spring veg garden. There’s plenty I should be doing, as after 40 years our home needs a really good de-clutter but I keep getting lured back to my crocheting and reading. Naturally, this warm and sunny spot is ideal for both 😉
To burn non-stop over winter we need about 2 tonne of wood. We ordered early this year so that it would be nice and dry and this is our stockpile for the coming cold weather …
Gordon also built a large box to hold the kindling that we use to start the fire if it goes out. We regularly have small dead branches falling from our trees and they make ideal kindling. This box keeps it all nice and dry and easy to get to.
I took a few photos of the garden this morning … the grapefruit tree with fruit ready for marmalade; my Mother’s Day chrysanthemums, from two years ago, that have survived my neglect and are flowering profusely; petunias and pansies happily sharing the same container; the Seville orange tree with fruit almost ready to pick; our 60 foot Marri tree, one of five out the front of the house; and one of two lovely pink flowers on my Mother’s Day plant from last year.
Last week we had Mark, the tree surgeon, in to check out our Marri trees as there was red sap bleeding from the 60 foot tree. Unfortunately he diagnosed borer, which is a worm that actually ring barks and kills the tree from the inside. The first signs are a thinning canopy of leaves and the red sap. We had several large branches removed to give the tree a chance to recover and Mark is coming back to give it injections of a special fertiliser to help it recover. We’ve had this done before and it worked, so we’re hoping we’ll have the same luck this time and that we haven’t left it too late.
We also took the opportunity to have two of the other Marri trees “tidied up” as there were too many low hanging branches, especially over the driveway. There’s a lot more light in the front yard now, so perhaps some of the plants that have struggled for light will do a lot better now.
When we moved in 40 years ago, there were five Marri trees down the side of the driveway and they were just small saplings. In our ignorance (then) we didn’t realise just how large they would grow. The driveway has been damaged by their root systems, but we would prefer to put up with the lumpy driveway than remove the trees. Two have been removed due to borer damage, but we’re doing our best to retain the rest.
Time to pack up the computer and get moving. The morning has drifted away and I have a lunch date with two very good friends.
Catch you later …..