My late summer in western NY

Hi sisters,

The leaves are just starting to change here. We have had some lovely warm days the last week, but the nights are getting crisper and the air smells of the change in seasons. Here’s the view from my front porch yesterday afternoon, in between clouds and rain.

Late summer on the hill

As you can see, the garden has gotten a bit overgrown since the semester started, but intentional plants grow amongst the weeds. I love having found a lemongrass that grows here, the popcorn seems to aging as it should, and I am still getting lots of cherry tomatoes and some large ones as well. I think that beauty is one of the big reasons that I garden. I can grow jewels in the field next to the house.

Cherry tomatoes

I’ve been drying most of my tomatoes. I don’t get enough at a time to make canning worthwhile. Dried tomatoes store well and are easily thrown into soups, salads, or even eaten plain.


The only thing about late summer is that fall comes afterwards. I know that many of you love fall. My facebook feed is filled with fall love. I’ve been mentally writing snarky posts threatening to defriend the people who keep posting “Yay fall!” and “I can’t wait for snow!” things.  Don’t they know that winter is so long and cold with so little green and sunshine? It is too bad that late summer is so beautiful here. It makes it hard to be grumpy.

I love late summer foliage. Asters and goldenrod have long been some of my favorites and any time I’m outside for any extended period of time I find myself gathering them. They braid easily and, for example, looked pretty stunning against Beth’s freshly red hair last week.

Red and crown

Part of this fall is wondering where I’ll be at this time next year. Letting my heart touch the possibility that I might not be here and sitting with all emotions that come with that idea. Whatever next fall will be, it will different from what falls in recent memory have been. It definitely won’t be grad school, which is exciting and scary.

The semester is picking up.  On Thursday I stayed later than usual at internship to fit in a client, met with some students who have some great ideas for hair, make-up and costuming for the musical, and then went back to school to attend a “Mental Health Movie Night” sponsored by the Counseling Services on campus where I’m interning. The movie was “It was Rape” by Jennifer Baumgardner and my supervisor and the clinic director ran a discussion afterwards. Long day, heavy and important discussions included. When I came home afterwards, I crashed on the futon for a few minutes. The cats kindly joined me.

Front carpet cats

One great thing about the start of classes is that there are more chances to to see thoughtful personalities interacting with this rural area. Where else can you see an outdoor dance performance that includes sheep and a herding dog, performed at sunset on 150 acres owned by an art professor?

Doggy Hamlet

Last night I took a break from staring at spreadsheets for my graduate assistantship work and met Beth and Eva for dinner at Eva’s. Eva was working on one of her commissions when I arrived. Her illuminated letters are lovely.

Eva paints

Eva, Gwen, Beth and I have been getting together weekly-ish to sing. Last week we started learning a Puppini sisters song. For better or worse, our version does not (“yet!,” I can just hear Eva cry) include gold lamé. Gwen is out of town this week. We have sang without her before, but we didn’t last night. We ate good food (Martha, I made and took your beet salad) and ended up laying on the living room floor talking and listening to a thunderstorm roll in. The semester has been busy in the different ways that an academic schedule affects a dedicated art history librarian, undergraduate psychology prof, and counseling grad student.

This fall is different for many of us, huh? Rachel in a new house, Miriam in a new school, Eve still new to the world. Martha with three children where so much is always new, settling more into Ireland. Jewel with Calvin and a new job, still less than a year in Wisconsin. Esther in a new state, with new jobs for both you and Marcus. Busy times of transition and adjustment all around.

I found this giant on my back porch a couple weeks ago. I loved how its bright color stood out against the house.


The cicadas were singing last night. Another sign of late summer, as is the fire siren that rang several times throughout the evening. It sounds so much more frequently when the students are back in town.

Hope your late summer is lovely, sisters. Missing you all, as usual.


One thought on “My late summer in western NY

  1. Oh Janna, I can’t quite pinpoint it, but I loved this post. I loved reading snip-its from your life and seeing your beautiful images. I remember you braiding the girls flower necklaces at our wedding rehearsal…one of your many talents! Your life sounds full, active and quite satisfying, which is so lovely to hear. Have a wonderful fall (even if you’re not ready for it!) and hopefully we’ll make it out east for the winter Buckwalter gathering this year! xoxo

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