Travel’s been largely on hold for me – just too much to do at home, for instance, especially when it comes to writing. But what if that were to change?
San Francisco, Seattle, and Yakima. I haven’t been back to my beloved Pacific Northwest since leaving in 1990. This would provide a basis for an memorable sweep.
The East African Quakers have much to teach the rest of us, and I can’t think of a better introduction to this mysterious continent.
Cumbria, England, and Lurgan, Northern Ireland. These two places, a short hop apart on the Irish Sea, are central to my Hodson ancestry. I’d love to see where we’re from.
Apart from the museums, classical music, and theater attractions, I’d want access to some early Quaker minute books – especially those pages marked “too faint to microfilm” in Lurgan’s surviving records.
Alsace, France/Germany, and Switzerland upstream. On my Grandma Hodson’s side, these are my places of origin.
Kyoto, especially. Did I mention my long fascination with Zen Buddhism or Japanese cuisine?
The Himalayas. Or my interest in Tibetan Buddhism along with the world’s tallest mountains? (Yes, I know it will make it more difficult to appreciate the summits back home, but that’s got to be well worth the encounter.)
Canadian Maritime Provinces. These are just up the coast from us but have remained a world away. Think I can fix that in the upcoming future?
Anasazi ruins and Albuquerque. The American Southwest is a huge blank in my explorations. This sweep would end with a visit to some very special friends in their new locale.
Australia and New Zealand. From here, they seem incredibly unimaginable. Only one way to fix that.
In all frankness, it’s the dreariest month. In a flash, the trees are bare. The switch from Daylight Saving Time has many folks going to work before daybreak and coming home after sunset. Still, we can try …
Harvesting root crops.
Chill mornings with fog wisps rising from ponds and rivers.
Election Day. We can always hope for a miracle. A return to sanity, for starters.
Ministry and Counsel retreat – even years in Deerfield, Massachusetts; odd years in Winthrop, Maine.
Days can be warm enough to work outdoors … or go for a hike.
No bugs. Beware of ticks, though.
Neighborhood souper. Everybody brings a pot of their own creation, then eats what everyone else has concocted. It’s outdoors, though, rain or clear.
Tagging a Yule tree.
Thanksgiving dinner. Why mess with tradition?
Community Thanksgiving service. It’s turned into a showcase for local church choirs.
Even with a field guide, weeds can be hard to name. At least in polite terms. As a gardener, identifying them as weeds is easy enough, once they’re past a certain point of sprouting – they aren’t what you’re expecting and they’re growing faster than what you planted. Staying ahead of them is another matter, especially if you’re trying to be organic like us.
Here are 10 that have been especially problematic this year.
Virginia creeper: Initially, it looks like a nice ground cover in a wooded area. Maybe something to climb a tree trunk, too. But beware, it develops tenacious woody roots that can grow six feet a day – that’s not an official measure, by the way, just a sense I have returning to the same site a day after I thought I’d cleared it. This beast nearly took out one of our big shrubs last year. ‘Nuff said?
Bindweed: Another one that can strangle a neighbor in no time. It looks a lot like a morning glory, which can also go rogue.
Creeping Charlie: This little ground ivy and a shiny-leaf cousin take over in no time. One couple two blocks away covered their entire garden in black plastic this year in what we suspect is a futile effort to eradicate it.
Mystery stalk No. 1: It has large leaves and started popping up like crazy in our strawberry bed. New to us this year. Looks like its seeds come at the base of the leaves. Think it’s also the one in two of our potato pots … kinda resembles the young tater plants. At least it was easy to uproot.
Mystery stalk No. 2: This one has nasty-looking jagged leaves and a big fuzzy stalk. Also new to us this year. Can’t find either of these online.
Wild chervil: Looks kind of like Queen Anne’s lace, which we tolerate, but I just read the down and dirty on this deceptive tan flower. It’s going to be big trouble next year. Ouch!
Multiflora rose: Its vines are always a pain, and they take over in no time. For us, they’re often near the equally stubborn Japanese honeysuckle.
Dandelions: My, what taproots! And if you don’t get all of one up, you’ll soon have another opportunity … to fail.
Common purslane: Another one that gained a foothold this year and will be back with a vengeance next year. My wife says I better learn to like it in salads.
Grass: Many varieties invade the garden and squeeze out what we’re growing, but the Bermuda roots and stems have been particularly nasty this year.