The long determined march to autumn

Just over a week ago, I was at YMCA Geneva Park north of Orillia, Ontario, having the time of my life at Mindcamp, Canada's creativity conference.  The days were either torrentially rainy or tempestuously hot.  At night, our room flirted with 30-degrees, which made it next to impossible to get a good night's sleep.

I woke up this morning to a house that was a perfect 20-degrees.  The temperature outside is in the low single digits.

"The leaves are starting to turn," observed Heather, looking over to a tree on the other side of Norm and Sheila's yard.

I feel a sense of relief and gratitude as summer begins to loosen its grip.  Don't get me wrong, I have appreciated the warm days and evenings when using a blanket just didn't make any sense.  But I really appreciate when the air turns crisp, and autumn begins to make its presence known.

This was a busy weekend of painting for me, which started Friday afternoon and continued right into the evening on Sunday.  I had promised to complete the second portrait of Jim Carter and Eric Newell by the end of August.  I started the first one at the We Love the Oilsands Dance Party just before the fire and finished it shortly after re-entry in June.  It raised $5,000 for the cause.  Someone else offered an additional $5,000 if I would paint a second.

I also got out in the yard and trimmed the grass, cleaned off the patio stones in the middle of our raised garden in the back, and fixed the broken soffit on the back wall of my studio.

Shortly after re-entry, I noticed wasps coming in and out of a small gap in the soffit that hangs just over the mural of Elsie Yanik.  I grabbed the rake and ripped it down, hoping to reveal a next that I could safely deal with.  However, getting rid of these industrious insects took several different methods, as they were building a next deep within the insulation.  I sprayed them, smoked them, and psyched them out with a faux bees nest.  While one queen appeared to stick around for months, there was no sign of them this weekend. The soffit is now successfully back in place.

I feel a sense of satisfaction when the yard is neatly tended to and ready for winter.  It feels that we are as ready as we've ever been.  Heather has done a brilliant job with her gardens, and even though the weather is turning colder, she has spent hours weeding and making sure they look absolutely fantastic.

We have been decluttering and putting extraneous stuff out in the garage.  Our intention was to do a big giveaway on Saturday morning, but the weather proved to be uncooperative.  We'll try again next weekend.  Rather than do a sale, we're going to give away books, CDs, kitchen stuff, and various odds and sods.  My primary objective, besides wanting to pay it forward, is to clear out the garage for when the snow arrives.  I need my winter parking spot back.

As spring makes its long slow departure and summer sets in, the days get warmer and warmer so slowly that our bodies barely notice the difference.  The opposite seems to have happened the last week or so.  It will continue to happen as children return to school and the lazy hazy days of summer give way to the frenetic buzz of autumn.

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