The vining properties of Oriental Bittersweet mean that it is destructive to native plants.  However, birds, Bluebirds in particular, love the beautiful berries.

Char and I had the pleasure of sitting in the September sun this afternoon, twisting wild vines into wreaths for our barn and coop doors, listening to the sounds of early autumn, late afternoon field and farm life, sharing the companionship of our furred and feathered ones.  Cricket, sphinx-esque in the grass with an apple between his paws, Pippin the duckling “drilling” the aisle way of the barn with her bill, making nests near our feet in the branches and leaves.

The morning winds had long shushed and the quiet provided a showcase for the sounds of the hour:

Ducks quack, quacking in the distance,  

turkey tweedles,

occasional rooster crows,

a bit of baah-ing,

warning guinea fowl cacophony in a distant field,

crickets, grasshoppers sis-sis-sissing in the grasses.

Our bounty of branches came from the bordering hedgerows to our fields and we dragged them across the pastures.  Counting out the wreaths we’d made we thought “one for Grammie, one for Aunt Joan because Uncle Larry’s birthday was coming up, one for a friend who has been so kind to us…” and etc.

In the end, there was enough left over that we bundled it into corn shocks to decorate the mailboxes and lamp posts.  Evening cool was starting to settle in and we battened down the hatches on the critters.  However, while we’d been out and about planting wreaths and corn shocks, the wandering turkeys had discovered our litter, and loved it.

Autumn, for me, is a bitter-sweet time of year.  Unlike Spring in Vermont, which lolligags and takes it’s time to arrive, the Fall crisp and color open the door and step right in.  One moment you were plunging into a pond to cool off from summer sweat, the next you’re looking for that extra sweater, socks for your toes, more tea, please.  The garden produce makes puppy-dog eyes and simpers, “I tried!  I just. couldn’t. quite. finish. ripening…!” and you find your old sheets to cover basil & nasturtiums another night.

Vermont is gorgeous and country life is rich with cider-making parties, red Macs falling onto the ground around the bunny-hutches every day, glowing foliage, ponies becoming fuzzier.

It’s o.k., Autumn.  You can come in.  I’ll not be reticent, I’ll greet you warmly.  Just tell your old man, Winter, that he has to wait his turn…


Bittersweet bounty from the hedgerows

Bittersweet bounty from the hedgerows

Bittersweet wreathmaking with barn kitty Wasabi's help

Barn kitty Wasabi helps

Barn Hearts

Barn Hearts

Sherpa Char carries the corn shocks from the garden, the bittersweet from the hedgerows

Sherpa Char

Autumn decorating, corn shocks from the garden and Bittersweet from the hedgeros

Not to be forgotten, 4-week old duckling Pippin gives approval





One response to “Bittersweet

  1. I hear ya! Joanna and I just walked out to the aging pile of ‘horse product’ to pick this season’s Pairodox Pumpkins. This was one of Joanna’s experiments … we had a horse ‘pile,’ a hog ‘pile,’ and a poultry ‘pile.’ She planted seeds from the very same packet into each place. Each received the same amount of sun, the same amount of water, and only differed in the nature of the nutrients. And … seeds ONLY germinated and GREW LIKE CRAZY in the pile of horse product. And BOY did they GROW … huge. The largest we’ve every had. Felt just like Johnny-Pumpkin-Seed … tucked a few seeds into the top of the pile and PRESTO … there they were! You should try it at your place, and in your very own pile of Vermont horse product, and see what happens. Thanks for the nice autumn post … I’m looking out the kitchen window at a beautiful afternoon here as well. But I, like you and Char, know what’s coming … BRRRRRR. D

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