It’s time for a few updates as I make my mental shift from Summer to Autumn. My internal shifts don’t necessarily follow the calendar, and I have to wear a season for a little while, till it settles upon me. For fun one morning a month ago, I started a fire in the woodstove because I missed fire and it was almost chilly enough to warrant a fire. The temperature kept dropping and I’ve had a fire almost every day since then. The rains began early this year. Since then we’ve had some clear days, in which I woke up to frost on the deck for a few days in a row, and morning temperatures around 26 degrees (-3 C). So… ok, fine. I accept that it is no longer summer.
This year the oranges and reds of the trees are more spectacular than usual. I don’t have any photos of the brilliant hillsides that are actually making me think of when I lived in Vermont. Trust me, the light show has been dazzling.
The first week of October, Tara messaged me that they were taking their car to the shop. Tara’s dad, who lives closer than I do, met Tara at the shop to make sure no one was going to take advantage of the 23-year-old. While replacing the serpentine belt, and doing some regular maintenance checks, it was determined that the car needed thousands of dollars worth of repairs. I had only paid $1200 for the car originally. The mechanic recommended that money would be better spent on a new car and not wasted on the old one. One problem: the severity of repairs needed was time sensitive. So much so, that Tara said they were scared to drive the car at all. Discussion ensued between Tara, their dad, the mechanic, and myself. My conclusion: Tara needs a new car right away.
I told Tara to begin searching online, and I gave them a price limit, and recommended beginning the search by first determining what KIND of car appealed to them. Their dad gave them some tips about checking the total miles and CarFax, which gives a history of wrecks and owners. Lightning fast, Tara educated themselves on cars and decided the Hybrid gas/electric Toyota Prius was the car they loved best. By the next morning, they had chosen their specific car. Ha ha. This was a new idea for me, since I’ve never shopped for a car online, but why not? My brother is a Toyota guy, so I sent him the link, and he approved. The car Tara wanted was at a dealership in Tacoma, Washington. I had to get creative.
I gambled. The next day was Wednesday between Tues/Thurs Zoom classes, so I bought a train ticket from nearby Kelso, WA to Tacoma, WA. I called up the dealership to put a deposit down so they’d hold the car for me, and discovered that someone else was already in negotiations over the car. I had Tara search again, and we spent all day discussing the virtues of less agreeable cars. In the evening I got a call back from the dealership. Negotiations fell through, did I still want the car? Tara was thrilled.
The next morning I had my neighbor drop me off at the train station, which was closed due to COVID-19. I waited outside on the platform, grateful that I had decided to bring a jacket. This would be my first trip on this particular train, so I was interested. This would also be my first trip on public transportation in 2020, so I was nervous. I flashed my Amtrak QR code from my phone and the attendant informed us that we had to keep our masks on the whole trip. I didn’t have to sit next to anyone, and felt moderately safe while I read my class-assigned journal article during the two-hour trip. The salesman from the dealership arrived at the train station in the Prius and I did my test-drive from the train station back to the dealership! In a couple hours I was driving home to Rainier. The gamble had paid off.
In the meantime, Tara’s dad had picked them up and was driving north. They arrived at my house about 30 minutes after I did. We said our hellos, exchanged info about the new car, and Tara, gleeful, drove home. Their dad followed them all the way, just in case.
I’m still walking my loop from the house. Remember my walking team, the Belle Brigade? When the 2020 relay race was canceled, we were notified by organizers that we were automatically registered for the 2021 race. Our team no longer has monthly meetings, which is sad, but we do stay in touch and many of us are still training in our speed walking. When I do this, my spirits are lifted not only because of the exercise, but also because it’s just so darn pretty where I live.
Other than Racecar, my other girls are obviously the feathered ladies. This is molting season, and most of them look like hell. I am a mean mom to my chickens, and rather than empathize with their humility, I crack jokes right in their faces about how ridiculous they look. The whole floor of their pen is littered in fallen leaves and wet feathers and it’s so pathetic. OK, one thing I did do is bulk up their beds with fresh straw and some new hemp bedding because they must be chilly with half their feathers gone. I’m not THAT heartless.
The thing about new seasons here on my property is that each new season brings new chores. Fall means getting wood put up for the winter. It means cleaning all the gutters (For the first time. I’ll have to clean them again later.). My new brother Tanner gave me a bunch of extra tools he had when I visited, so now I have a leaf blower for the first time and thus I have been using it. Man, it is a million times more effective and faster and easier on my back than raking the ceaseless maples leaves that fall onto the driveway. Oh, and this year, since I’ve completely ignored it the entire time I’ve lived here: this year I had to begin clearing the moss off my roof.
Working hard outside is a good way to not think about politics, and to keep myself from scrolling the latest news, since I don’t have consistent cell service on my property. Writing an Autumn blog post is another way to avoid the news. But now I’m done writing. So I am going to go check and see if we’re any closer to 270. *sigh*