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October 23, 2005

Rustic Autumn Wheelbarrows

To me, this photo captures the mood of Fall, my favorite season. It's from our trip to the pumpkin patch at Mangini's Farm.

PHOTO: Rustic autumn wheelbarrows

Pumpkin Patch

Today, we went to the pumpkin patch at Mangini's, a fruit & vegetable stand situated at the front of its own  fields, that's been a part of Pleasant Hill for as long as I can remember.   Mangini's has never been a large operation, but it's got a long-standing and loyal customer base because it's produce is excellent.  I grew up eating Mangini's corn, and going there to get pumpkins & Christmas trees.

Pumpkins at Manginis

The afternoon exemplified Fall; long shadows, crisp, cool air, and golden sunlight.  A bunch of kids waited with their parents for a ride on the tractor, others buzzed around with excitement at being on a "real" farm, and going to get a pumpkin for Halloween.  Their infectious energy got us in the spirit too; we darted from place to place with silly grins, calling "look at this one!" and "wow!", ooohing and aaahing at the pumpkins.  Sure, you can get them at a grocery store, but there's nothing that takes me back to being a kid quite like being out in a field among rows of tilled earth, sunflowers, and dried stalks of corn rustling in the breeze.

As we were looking through the gourds and decorative corn inside the stand, I was surprised to hear a woman ask, "Are you Mr. Mangini?" to a friendly looking older man, who looked like a farmer.  I waited until they were done chatting, and introduced myself and Ania.  I told him how I'd grown up going to Mangini's, which is just around the corner from my parents' house, and how happy I am to be able to do so again, now that we've bought a house in my home town.  I also thanked him, not just for putting on this event, which everyone so clearly enjoyed, but for keeping Mangini's going though the years.  This small, family-owned produce stand is a part of what makes Pleasant Hill special.  For us, it certainly makes going to get a pumpkin a fun and memorable event!

Happy Halloween!

October 16, 2005

Autumn Morning at Skyview

Ania and I have been  having a great time and doing a lot lately, but we haven't had much time just to truly relax nor to enjoy our new home.  This morning, we had nothing on the agenda.  We got up, made coffee, and went for a little stroll on the walking path behind our house.  There's something indescribable about the golden glow cast by the Autumn sunlight, and that's part of what makes the season my favorite...

We got back and enjoyed a nice breakfast of cinnamon toast, raspberries, and fontina cheese on our patio.  I called and chatted with Jene (my sister) while Ania started work on her Autumn wreath, a project she was happy to finally have time for (it turned out great!).

Wild Animal Photo Shoot

At one point, Ania spotted a squirrel in our apple tree  and went to take some pictures and investigate.  The squirrel seemed to have "bitten off more than she could chew", trying to figure out what to do with an apple whose mass was pretty close to her own.  She sat very still pondering the problem.  This frustrated Ania, who moved closer and closer, determined to get a picture of the squirrel in a different pose.

Squirrel throwing apple

With no warning, the squirrel threw the apple at Ania and shot out of sight!  Okay, it's more likely she released the apple and the way it fell through the branches caused it to roll toward Ania, but we have it on video (that's a  screen capture above) and I have to say, it sure did look like she threw the apple!


We exuded happiness as we indulged in the lovely Fall morning amongst the chirping birds and the drone of the occasional propeller plane (a favorite sound that takes me back to sitting on the front lawn with my dad after early-morning yardwork).   "You should blog this," she said, reading my mind.

Skyview House

Perhaps it's that we're finally getting a chance to settle in a little, but I think maybe it's that memory of the propeller planes -- more than two decades ago, but not three miles away -- that helps me truly realize how good it is to be back home, in Pleasant Hill.