Center Island’s oldest apple tree still bears lots of fruit, enough for many of us to share.
FIRE-HOSE RAIN AND WHIRLING WINDS have been November’s trademark for years in the Pacific Northwest. But the first eight days after Halloween this year were some of the prettiest of our island autumn.
The falling maple leaves, dry and spicy of scent, were the kind you could kick your way through with a satisfying scrunch. Center Island’s oldest apple tree gave us more than one bag of crimson fruit destined for pie and Brown Betty. And I had a bonus week of firewood gathering for the winter, after going in halfsies on a new Husqvarna chainsaw with neighbor John, the other charter member of the Center Island Writer’s Guild. (Seeing the two of us with our new saw and accompanying shiny new safety gear, one island wag dubbed us “Paul” and “Bunyan.” He didn’t say who was “Bunyan.”)
If not for her blue harness, our Galley Cat would almost disappear among fallen leaves on our knoll.
But if the birds and squirrels know anything, we could get a blizzard any day now. They’ve been in feeding frenzies all week, hoovering up the sunflower seeds from our feeders and gobbling suet blocks like they were Pop Tarts.
Squirrels literally ate the face off our Halloween jack o’lantern.
Today, rain arrived, but on Carl Sandburg’s cat feet, not with galumphing galoshes. A misty, quiet Saturday, perfect for a fire in the woodstove, Van Morrison on the stereo and bottling my latest batch of beer (Lopez Pumpkin, ready to uncap just in time for Thanksgiving).
Hatches are battened. Let the storms do their worst.
A squirrel dines on the remains of our jack o’ lantern, sitting on a stump next to Trudy, a garden bunny who followed us from our Bremerton house to the San Juans. Pumpkin beer is on our Thanksgiving menu. The squirrels don’t get any.