We screened in our front porch last month. Already I can tell you that this was an excellent decision. From my side of the screen, I breathe fresh air, watch the deer quietly pick their way through the meadow at dusk, and am connected to the rhymthic cadence of the pleasanter insects. From my side of the screen, I am sheltered from the whine, bite, and sting of mosquitos and wasps, and from the relentless swarms of gnats that usually drive me indoors.
My porch is an anteworld, something between inside and out. I remember reading once about the imporance of spaces that serve as a middle ground between the public and private boundaries of a property. How can I make this a welcoming space, where a neighbor I don’t know too well will feel comfortable to stop and chat a bit?
Autumn is a favorite time to sleep with open windows and burrow under thick bedcovers as the night cools. The owls were having a heated discussion last evening and I listened to their familiar calling and cackling for what felt like a long time, though it is hard to measure time in the dark. How many more Octobers will I hear them as they sing the Harvest Moon into the sky?
Once, in the middle of the day, an owl swooped over me from one side of the meadow to the other as I walked the path that encircles our property. That is the only owl I have ever seen.
The rose bush is putting forth a valiant end of season effort, the purple asters are stealing the show, and a solitary bee still hums among the multitude of basil blooms. The red bell peppers we planted much too late are finally making an offering, and the rosemary remains strong and healthy; I plan to pot it and bring it inside. (The secret to keeping rosemary through the winter is giving it much more water than you think necessary.)
The lemon tree’s solitary fruit is still green as a lime and as large as a baby’s clenched fist. I don’t know if there will be enough heat and sunlight to see it to ripeness. That is sometimes just the way of things; at least perhaps the way of lemon trees in Indiana.