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Wednesday, August 19, 2015

August 6, 2014

August. Back Porch is no longer the busy, bustling, tweeting-twittering place we knew just a few weeks ago. The birds are quieter, no time for idle chatter now. They frequent the feeders with purpose, some fattening up for the upcoming journey south, others filling their craws before flying off to private storage nooks to stock winter pantries.
Then there’s the critter village… chipmunks, squirrels and yes, you guessed it, the MouseHouse community. They too are intent on gathering, storing and preparing for the long winter ahead.
Fivelina has more mouths to feed this year—seven to be exact, but thankfully Bic, Ben and Bitsy are responsible, effective helpers now, making her job much easier. Of course school will be starting soon, but Miss Winklesnout delays classes until mid-September so that families—including able-bodied children—can dedicate their time to helping prepare for winter.
It’s been a lush growing season this year. There are seeds and pods, berries and nuts galore! Papa Fivel often remarks, “Our Creator provides well; we have much to thank Him for…” and the children are reminded of that as they make endless trips back and forth from field to Downspout Timber stairs, carrying their little grass-woven baskets filled-to-the-brim.
Mama greets them with… “Thank you, my dears…” before emptying the contents onto the kitchen table and sending them off to fill the baskets again. Then she sorts and packs every morsel into the appropriate acorn canisters, covering them carefully as she fills each one. Even the little twins are old enough now to help sort. They sit at the table and carefully pull out any chaff or dirt from the pile. Sometimes there’s more chortling and dust-flying than there is progress being made, but Mama is patient, to a point at least.
“We need to remember that getting ready for the Big Cold is a serious matter though…” she chides gently, “and I do appreciate all your help, m’ladies.”
At the grown-up term, two pairs of beady brown eyes widen. “Ladies?” Tatiana chirps. “We’re ladies, Mama?”
“Yes, m’dears… you are young ladies… and you are doing a good
young-lady job by helping me.”
That quieted the chortling and giggling considerably, at least for awhile. Mama smiled knowingly; often a quiet bit of praise speaks louder than any protest.
My tea grows cold and my to-do list isn’t to-doing itself, so enough Back Porch musings for today. I gather up my breakfast mug and plate, glancing up at MouseHouse under the eaves. Mama Fivelina is hanging wee dresses and overalls on Bittersweet Vine-line. With one hand full of wet cloth, she waves, a tiny clothespin in her mouth, her eyes sparkling with good humor. I smile and wave back before slipping into the house.

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