October is nearly over . . . and I can’t get to the fall decorations! The fat squatty pumpkins for the kitchen window boxes, the gourd turned into a bird house, the big grapevine acorns that hang in a trio in the window toward the lake. I have only these red branches fresh cut from the point above the water. My hubby’s annual love gift to me.

The petunias were so hardy that I had to pull them out to make room for the vines. I’m still fussing about the pumpkins, not being able to get to those orange plastic bins. I go down to the cellar one more time to see if I can clear a path to them. I can’t, and my guy doesn’t plan to. It would be a big job. “What’s the point of having seasonal decorations if you can’t get to them!” I think I said that only in my head.

As I’m pushing the branches into the dirt of each window box, cold inching down the neck of my jacket, evening light waning, I have an epiphany. I’m spoiled. I’ve lived in this cabin long enough to think I have it all figured out, that I’ve tamed it to my whims, have a right to expectations. . . I’ve forgotten how to live here. Forgotten that no matter how long you’re here, it’s always about making do, sifting down to what’s important, letting the rest go.

There are still yellow leaves on the branches. I keep most of them. They will brown and curl before the snow. I can crumble them between my fingers then. My hubby stands at the stone wall behind the woodpile with me, cutting each branch just the right length with his clippers. I hear God whisper, “See, it’s enough. You have leaves.” You’re right, Lord, it’s enough.

We are adjusting again to living here full time, trying to find room for boxes of things where there is no more room. The living part is easy. So much beauty, the comfort of woodstove, the gift of time, companionship. But this old cabin is what it is . . . 120+ years old with original chinking that lets the wind and the wild work their way in.

There are two old-fashioned, wooden mouse traps just under the red armoire in the living room . . . set with fresh cheese. We haven’t found the hole yet where they’re entering. It could be anywhere. One spring the Virginia Creeper grew right through the wall under the window, arching up toward the light. We have a feeling that it is a specific spot right there behind our chairs by that red cupboard. They’ve come for the warmth . . . and the supper that we set out for them every night, or is it breakfast? For five mornings straight we wake to a tiny mouse caught in one of the two traps. Five little mice. Then the cheese remains untouched for nearly a week as it dries and curls in place. This morning a little white belly, downside up, when I turn on the lamp. So, the traps sit with their cheese. I cannot summon the pioneering spirit necessary for companionship with a mouse in the house! Everyone within earshot knows that. I’m the girl who stretched out on the kitchen floor to foam every single crevice in every single drawer and cupboard when we moved in thirteen years ago. I was sixty.

I’ve bought two new cans of foam and I’m on the hunt for that hole. Wish me luck.

The sun comes up, it’s a new day dawning;
It’s time to sing Your song again.
Whatever may pass and whatever lies before me,
Let me be singing when the evening comes.

—10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord)
Matt Redman and Jonas Myrin

14 thoughts on “Red branches in the window

  1. As usual my friend we’re sharing a lot of similarities. After a recent move I’m still working on getting settled into my home and finding a place for everything. I did not manage to find my fall decorations yet and put them out. So I had decided that today would be a good day to go buy a few pumpkins. I’ll set them out on the front porch before the kids trick or treat. Then they can linger there until thanksgiving. And as for the mouse situation you have my full support. I once lived in a house where no matter what I tried I could not get rid of them. And I’m the type to stand on a chair and scream when I see the mouse. Wishing you luck with that one my friend.❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your support! And for reading my words. I don’t stand on a chair and scream, but I complain heartily . . . especially when one little guy climbed up the tablecloth next to my chair and sat there right beside me!!!! That hasn’t happened since we set the traps. I’m going to try the little sachet that an Insta friend sent me the recipe for. Cloves, Red Pepper, Cinnamon, etc. They don’t like strong smells. We’ll see how it goes. Still looking for that hole. The red cabinet is FULL of dishes so you know what a big job that will be if we need to move it!

      I love the idea of the pumpkins. That’s why I was still trying to get at the decorations. I love leaving fall up until Thanksgiving.


    1. Thank you for reading! Foam works when applied inside . . . for a few years. Then it gets dry and they burrow through it. Outside it disintegrates with the weather. The whole cabin needs to be rechinked, but it is a complicated issue. The inside of the logs do not have chinking but rather peices of wood cut just the right size to fit each space between the logs. It is a lovely look, but cleaning all of the old chinking out, from the outside–especially if blowing it out, would make a mess inside and could dislodge these pieces.


  2. Hi Becky. I have been away from communion with you through your writing. However, the Lord led me to you this morning. Thank you for the reminder. Love you, Donna
    ” I hear God whisper, “See, it’s enough. You have leaves.” You’re right, Lord, it’s enough.”

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Simply red branches in the window…a beautiful annual “love gift” from your hubby! What more could you need…no need to plunder around for your seasonal artificial pumpkins! 🙂 Always warmed by your writings and added poems! Sincerely, Linda Tietjen

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you! I’m smiling. I love your words “plunder around for your seasonal articial pumpkins!” Really puts it in perspective. I love old words we’ve forgotten to use…like plunder.


  5. Saturday was Betty Hall’s celebration of life. She taught home economics at the high school. Very sweet lady who was an encourager to others and an awesome quilter. She went through many season’s of life and God was with her through it all. Her desire was that her kids and friends join her in heaven. On earth she could create a beautiful quilt, but only God can piece a quilt to completion in the lives of each of our loved ones and friends. We pray for their response to his master quilting of their lives. Oh how his warmth covers us here on earth. There is nothing better than to be wrapped in his love!❤️


    1. I wanted to go to Betty’s service. Do you know if they recorded it or livestreamed it so I can find it online? Her quilts are beautiful!


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