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Monday, October 3, 2016

FALL IS IN THE AIR.... By Gail L. Jenner

Fall is definitely in the air. It started to rain yesterday -- the first time in weeks -- and we even got a bit of snow on the peaks surrounding our quiet valley.

Getting some wood in for winter -- everyone helps!

Finished up the last of the haying yesterday (thank goodness!), and the guys were able to get all the balers out of the weather and put away for winter -- just in time. Sometimes it's a matter of scrambling to get the last of summer's jobs done before fall arrives......

Also working on the last of the garden! Had a few of the grandkids helping out with picking what they could, although their dedication tends to wane after awhile. Onions pulled and corn stripped, tomatoes picked and more. Got some salsa and chow chow made and the basil dried, too, but still have more to do....That is probably my hardest 'transition' -- saying goodbye to the garden. I love the end of summer and try to make use of everything. Never can get it all done, though.  My husband always says, "There's always next year!" Yes, to be sure....

This is also the time we work cows, as they are getting ready to calve. Separating off the yearlings so that the cows can be turned out again on pasture. Love riding and working cows.  

Everyone seems to enjoy the cooling temperatures, though -- especially Louie as he rides with Papa around on the ranch! It's truly a dog's dream life to ride side-saddle, although sometimes it's hard to keep him from jumping out of the window after a 'coon or barn cat! Sometimes we simply have to tie him up....

And now the geese and ducks are settling in. We are quite fortunate to have them stay here throughout the fall and winter. They love hanging out with the cows and neither seem to find the other an intrusion on their lazy days.

Hopefully we will be gathering apples again this year. Sometimes we have a bounty of them, but sometimes we don't get as many. We have a 100+ year old cider press and make gallons of great apple cider, which we share with friends and family.

We did, however, get some nice grapes this year! Instead of crushing, I froze them on pie sheets and what a delightful treat to pop them into your mouth.

Have also been picking blackberries and freezing them, too.  Next job? Jam.....

It's also time to begin calving -- which will keep us busy for the next couple of months! I love this time of year, with babies running across the pastures, tails high in the air. The "nursery" is growing day by the day.

So, here's to the coming fall and time spent beside a big's when I get to spend a little more time writing and reading, too. I love this time of year when transitions take seems to me that it represents the changing times of our lives, too.

Hope everyone has an opportunity to relish this time of year. What is it that tickles your fancy as the year moves on???

Gail L. Jenner has enjoyed working with Prairie Rose Publishing and her collection of stories published by PRP has grown since "joining the gang" in Dec. 2013 with the re-release of her WILLA Award-winning Across the Sweet Grass Hills.

"Prettiest Little Horse Thief"  and "July's Bride" are two of her other favorites.....and then there are the boxed sets and anthologies!  For more about Gail, check out: or


  1. Fall offers such beauty and the push before the 'slower' cold months. Oh the memories.

    Enjoy your fall and winter Gail. Looking forward to what the time to write brings. Doris

    1. Thanks, Doris.....I am looking forward to what I can 'accomplish' on both the professional/writing level and on the personal level!! Thanks for stopping by.

  2. Wonderful post, Gail! So much happening in the fall months.

    1. Hi Kristy! Yes, it is a busy time of year for ranchers and farmers...not busier than the summer months, but maybe more 'satisfying'??? Thanks for dropping in....

  3. Gail,

    I always enjoy reading your articles about the ranch and all the activities you family is involved in. It takes me back to an earlier time in my life when I lived on the family ranch. For me, those really were the good old days.

    1. Hi Kaye: Ranch life is deeply satisfying -- IMHO, that is! Each season has its ups and downs but I think Fall is definitely one of the most satisfying. I just picked more blackberries today and will be making some more jam :-)

    2. Reading this just warmed my soul, Gail. It's the way the onset of autumn should be, in my mind anyway. But suburbia never delivers! The apples and 100 yr old press especially intrigue me. Thanks for making my night here in Houston.

    3. Thanks! Yes, I love it when we get to press the cider....some years it's better than others. We do a lot of traditional things, even have our own smokehouse where we do our own sausage, bacon, and hams -- even a little "head cheese!" We are four and now five generations strong.....

  4. I loved all these pictures of autumn fall life, Gail. North Carolina hasn't truly entered the autumn season yet so it was nice getting a little prelude into the season.
    All the best to you.

    1. Thanks, Sarah....we are a mountain valley (almost 3000 feet at heart of the valley), surrounded by Wilderness Area and mountain ranges, so we do experience fall earlier than the rest of CA....most people don't even know we "exist!" The valley is only 30 miles long and about 8 miles wide.... :-)