Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Farmhouse Frustrations of Fall

There are several things I appreciate about fall. 

Photo-worthy foliage.

The next generation of calves hitting the ground.

Honeycrisp apples from Meijer.

And most important: Ponchos that cover an extra five pounds.

Our culture goes cray cray over fall, and seemingly more so in the last five years. I’m not sure if it’s been the introduction to pumpkin spiced lattes or the re-introduction of ponchos, or phones with fantastic cameras and one-touch filters, but here we are, drooling over burlap and mums and flannel and cinnamon.

The burlap, mums, flannel and cinnamon fall seemed to have ended at our place about a week ago. Now we’ve moved into the real, frustrating fall in this farmhouse. Everything I've done to make this place Country Living-worthy is now rotting and and frankly, all of my ponchos are at the dry cleaner.

In October I parked my car in a ditch along a rural roadside and gathered as many hedge apples as I could before the anonymous homeowner returned home or spotted me and my plastic grocery bags whipping in the wind.
What? They were going to have to mow over them, anyhow.
I drove home and placed the seized hedge apples all over our house, in an effort to 1. decorate with a green punch and 2. keep spiders away.
On heat registers.
In window sills.
In the mud room sink.
By the washer and dryer.
Under the coffee table.
On the mantle.
Under the kitchen sink.
Along the basement and second-floor steps.
And other random places I’ve since forgotten.
I dropped these bad boys so many spots that the only way I can find them all is to follow the awful smell they’re now emitting, a month later as we enter the frustrating fall. I hope to have found all of the hedge apples by the time I hide Easter eggs. Lofty goal, but one Cody has set for me. 

There are two sides to every stink. 

Speaking of…
I’d like to think I’m fairly tough.  
I walk across gravel in heels daily.
I once endured braces and the world’s worst haircut simultaneously. I'd post a photo but I'm not that stupid. 
I’ve worn Spanx for more than five hours straight.

But when it comes to mice, I cannot mentally muster the strength it takes to even address these tiny refugees fleeing the cold weather and hiding in our home. 

This was a day that we had zero bounty. 
God probably thinks I talk too much. 

When Cody is out of town, trap checking becomes my responsibility. I get serious hand sweats before this exercise. Sometimes it’s the only cardio I do in a day.
Last week Cody bought a new set of traps, Jaws of Death, or something spikey, black and sure to do the job. Or so we both thought. 
The other night I was watching TV alone (I thought) when I heard a trap fire.
And then a tap dance routine ensue.
Game over.
Farmhouse For Sale. 

I had to clip the screen shot there. 
My response wasn’t ladylike. 
Or wife-like. 
Or humane.
It's hard to take "haha" advice from a guy texting me from a prime steakhouse a state away. 
To summarize, I told him we better just stick 
to the $.99/2 pack neck snappers that actually work. 

And another thing. 
Another thing that chooses our homestead to die during frustrating fall.
The flies. Everywhere. 
Listen, flies and orange ladybugs, I know you're tired. I'm tired, too. But you'd probably have a little more energy if you didn't zoom around lightbulbs for for hours on end. 
Chill. Out. 
Nothing worse than having to turn up the TV volume because you can't hear Angela Lansbury give her Murder, She Wrote final remarks due to the B-51 Bombers pinging off the lampshade beside your head.  Really quick way for me to lose my head. 
My favorite part of holiday decorating is candles in the windows. Looks great from the road. Welcoming, cozy and colonial. It's like a subtle sign that we're waiting for Paul Revere.


But from our internal view, it's carcasses everywhere, daily. 
I can barely stay ahead of the carnage. 

Late fall is tricky because the harvest dust finally settles; all over everything, inside and out. I’ve learned that the greatest way to address this “harvest glitter” (I’m an optimist) it just to throw things over it. Every time I see something that needs dusted, I transition directly from fall to winter and toss some festive berries. As I type this, our home is decorated with aging hedge apples, pumpkins, gourds, mums that died of thirst the same week I bought them and two out-of-place Christmas berry bushes. And it wasn't until I look photos for this blog that I realized I still have spring decor up, too. No sense in taking it down now. December is half over. 

I sure hope this is one of those entries my Norman Rockwell-reincarnated-mother gets too busy to read.

Make no mistake, I do love my favorite season of fall, it’s just that the hype and glitter flakes off when things start dying and the dust settles all over our furniture. But I guess that transition happens right in time for Christmas to roll in and rekindle the spirit of the season. 

Then I look at the example on our coffee table in which I'm determined to emulate:
 The December 2015 Country Living cover

And reality hits me: There is simply too much going on here. Where on earth would I find a place for the tiny refugee traps? And those popcorn strings would be like a welcoming feast for them!
I think I'll stick to reality and our regular farm house frustrations. 

After all, what would life be without them?

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