Pam Webb

a writer's journey as a reader

Archive for the category “fall”

Word Nerd: November


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Thanksgiving comes around in November and getting together with friends and family can be emotional for some. Needing a few choice words to express feelings might be handy.

verklempt: overly emotional and unable to speak.

velleity: a mere wish, unaccompanied by an effort to obtain it.

stultify: to render absurdly or wholly futile or ineffectual, especially by degrading or frustrating means

thrawn: contrary; peevish; stubborn

longanimity: patient endurance of hardship, injuries, or offense; forbearance

foofaraw: a great fuss or disturbance about something very insignificant

megillah: a lengthy, detailed explanation or account

brabble: to argue stubbornly about trifles; wrangle

fustigate: to criticize harshly; castigate

gasconade: extravagant boasting; boastful talk

nescience: lack of knowledge; ignorance

frumious: very angry

snollygoster: a clever, unscrupulous person

beamish: bright, cheerful, and optimistic

Let’s hope if someone should start a megillah at the table no one will fustigate or brabble should it lead to gasconade. Instead, the gathering be one that is beamish.

UPDATE: Read about a picture book that features delightful words here: https://kathytemean.wordpress.com/2021/11/14/book-giveaway-hornswoggled-a-wacky-words-whodunit-by-josh-crute/

It’s the Great Pumpkin


While not a fan of Halloween, I am a fan of pumpkin. While not a fan how pumpkin spice seems to rule the season, I am a fan of guinea pigs. So here is a share that should please those who love pumpkin spice and adore guinea pigs. Let’s see how long it takes for Mike Allegra to say he inspired this post.

Everything goes better with guinea pigs

Word Nerd: October


October is noticing the changes in nature. Have you noticed any of these?

paraselene: a bright moonlike spot on a lunar halo; a mock moon

gloaming: twilight; dusk

cordate: heart-shaped

brumal: wintry

matutinal: pertaining to or occurring in the morning; early in the day

procellous: stormy, as the sea

plashy: marshy; wet

lucida: the brightest star in a constellation

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It’s a bit squirrelly lately…


Not sure if we have adopted a squirrel or if she has adopted us.

It began with me spotting a medium grey squirrel bounding across the lawn. A somewhat unusual sight. Deer are more frequent visitors. Squirrel activity diminished with dogs moving into the neighborhood.

Or so we thought.

Upon spotting the bounding squirrel I mustered up my squirrel call. You know the one, that high-pitched ch-ch-ch the do. Yeah. She was impressed and came leaping right over to me. She look fairly surprised to find me instead of a swaggering grey suited critter of interest.

Since then she has shown little fear of hanging out in the yard with us. Costco is making a tidy profit from the bags of peanuts the hubs buys for her.

She will cautiously approach us and grab a peanut from our fingers. Rolling and measuring its worth in her mouth she will then deposit it in some part of the yard. Digging like a little terrier she pats it in place with dainty satisfaction and traipses over for more. I split them open because once open she tastes that peanuttyness and snacks right on the spot, inches from whern indoor th b f the f federal gregg geg for gu the gggy g of b no un noun bun nt in n ink in b min in see see e sawwwww swe wewew es swe de xmewwe swe was e I sit on the bench. Syringa, does truly work for peanuts.

Now we have a couple of new additions. A tiny sable squirrel who discovered the neighbor’s squirrel proof red ffcc ccfc f fcc cd c cc bird feeder could not deter him. He used our fence as a diner freeway until trashing the bird feeder in less than two weeks. He has moved on the freebie peanuts laid out for Syringa. She’s having none of it.

There tussles and chitterings range across the lawn and through the lily leaves. Entertaining turf wars at its best. We call this little guy Skitter, since he moves as fast as a drop of water on the pancake skillet. He’s too fast to snap a photo.

And a third squirrel has appeared. Yet, this one is a puzzlement. I notice it is small with characteristic squirrel gray coloring yet its eye rings are white like a chipmunk and so is its tummy. The legs are brownish. A hybrid squirrel? We’ve dubbed this one Buddy, as in “Hey, Buddy—what are you?”

The cx bbcgf he are beginning to vacate the area for warmer climates so there is less action at the feeder. On the other hand, the colder weather is ramping up squirrel activity as they gather nuts and bury them all over the yard. I find peanuts in my plant containers, in flower beds, and all over the lawn. How will they find them all?

Syringa will come over and spread out on the concrete like a dog when we are hanging out back.
Buddy infiltrating Syringa’s snack tray. Strange markings for a squirrel, wouldn’t you say?

Leaf me alone, please.


A tree lover. An appreciator of their grace, shade, and mesmerizing swish when the winds converse with them; however, I am not a fan of the annual migration of downward accumulation.

This year my strategy of waiting for all the leaves to fall before raking backfired. We received an early snow and the leaves frisked about the snowfall, creating a decorative touch of color. A bit like sprinkles on vanilla frosting.

I was momentarily charmed.

Autumn leaves on snow - Stock Image - C013/9909 - Science Photo Library

But then the snow melted, the rest of the leaves fell within one week–somewhat of a follow the leader venue (is that snickering I hear?) and the momentous task of dealing with two towering aspens, a birch, a linden, and a maple tree. Certain evergreens wanting in on the game shed their dagger needles as well.

I contemplated leaving the leaves alone this year. Scientifically, don’t they mulch and return to the soil as the snow blankets them all winter? I image more time is needed than the four months of dozing under the snow would render them inert.

The yard must have started looking pathetic because I had a group of church kids stop by and offer to rake my leaves. Oh. That’s so nice. Do I look old enough where I can’t handle taking care of my yard anymore? I’m thinking they were being nice.

Okay, November is here. Snow is lurking down the pike. It’s a rousing 46 degrees and I’m going to do this.

A love letter for leaf piles - West Coast Landscape Professional
To leaf alone or not leaf alone.–always the question…

Leaf blower at the ready. Rake, snow shovel (it’s the best for leaf scooping), and wheelbarrow are standing by.

The Best Cordless Lightweight Leaf Blower [2020] | Archute
herding leaves is right up there with herding cats–they don’t always go where you want them to…

I managed to get the leaves in four or five major piles and then it’s always the dilemma of burn, mulch, tarp or ? This is the only time of the year when I am envious of city folk, who are only 7 minutes down the line, jurisdiction wise. They get to cart their leaves to the curb and have city garbage haul them away. While us county folk have to figure it out.

This year it’s the giant pile and tarp for a spring burn. It’s getting them into that giant pile.

Having been called away by a Mother errand (glasses needed tightening, and while we are out, she says, I need a pedicure and some new tops), I did not return until almost three hours later. My hopes of the leaves somehow Disney-like traipsing into “hi ho hi ho” parade and forming themselves into that desired leaf pile momentarily tickled me.

No such luck.

I will give full credit to my Hubs who managed to corral the leaves and tarp them. At least most of them.

Help is always appreciated when tending to leaves

“Thanks for doing the leaves.”

“You’re welcome.”

“What are your plans for the rest of the leaves?”

“What other leaves?”

“The ones over there.”

“Oh, I didn’t see those.”

Okay, he’s wonderfully managed to organize and tarp the leaves. Am I going to point out that there is still a significant amount of leaves left to deal with?

I ask you, readers, what would you have done?

Word Nerd Confessions: November


Fall has officially set up its presence. The aspen, birch, and maple trees disrobed within a week’s span with the help of couple of brisk windstorms. Temperatures hover around freezing, and the sun offers minimal light with little warmth and disappears shortly around 4 pm. The preparation for winter is underway. The Hubs threatens to put on the snow tires since black ice is fact of life not to be ignored. I understand his concern, but snow tires seems to invite or acknowledge snow. We already had a flurry of snow that had the grace to be embarrassed enough by its early arrival and leave by the next afternoon.

This month’s words reflect my ambivalence towards fall: do I mourn the passing of summer or prepare for winter with my usual reluctance? Or do I just accept it knowing spring is not that far away?

So–how do you feel about fall?

POM: SEPTEMBER


September heralds in fall and school. Being a librarian at heart with a day job as an English teacher, I have a soft spot for poems about books, especially those about libraries. This one hits the spot quite nicely.

My First Memory (of Librarians)

Nikki Giovanni
This is my first memory:
A big room with heavy wooden tables that sat on a creaky
       wood floor
A line of green shades—bankers’ lights—down the center
Heavy oak chairs that were too low or maybe I was simply
       too short
              For me to sit in and read
So my first book was always big
In the foyer up four steps a semi-circle desk presided
To the left side the card catalogue
On the right newspapers draped over what looked like
       a quilt rack
Magazines face out from the wall
The welcoming smile of my librarian
The anticipation in my heart
All those books—another world—just waiting
At my fingertips.

This summer was an odd one. In my part of the world June is usually a bit drippy around the edges until after July 4th. Summer decided to rev up early and we suffered through high nineties through most of the season, which caused a set of horrendous fires in the surrounding states.

We usually coast into a gentle fall, with chilly nights and warmer days, allowing the ability to sneak in sandals and linen skirts a couple of more weeks. Not so this September. We are nightly lighting chill breakers in the stove and I forlornly have folded away my summer stock of tank tops and capris.

As a farewell to summer, as fall officially begins this week, I have included an August poem.

August

Lizette Woodworth Reese
No wind, no bird. The river flames like brass.
On either side, smitten as with a spell
Of silence, brood the fields. In the deep grass,
Edging the dusty roads, lie as they fell
Handfuls of shriveled leaves from tree and bush.
But ’long the orchard fence and at the gate,
Thrusting their saffron torches through the hush,
Wild lilies blaze, and bees hum soon and late.
Rust-colored the tall straggling briar, not one
Rose left. The spider sets its loom up there
Close to the roots, and spins out in the sun
A silken web from twig to twig. The air
Is full of hot rank scents. Upon the hill
Drifts the noon’s single cloud, white, glaring, still

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