Tuesday, April 25, 2023

21st Century Living: Days of Future Past - Still Living By the Seasons

Days of Future Past is the title of my favorite Moody Blues album.  In fact,  it's easily in my top 10 albums of all time,  right up there with Sgt. Pepper,  Rubber Soul,  Revolver  (Beatles),  Dark Side  (Pink Floyd),  Zoso/4/Untitled  (Led Zeppelin),  and a few others.  But the album title just says it all for me as a living historian:  Days  of  Future  Past.
I've used this title numerous times for my posts on history.  
But I think you'll agree it fits today's posting most of all.


There's a room in my father's house
Full of old heirlooms
Nonna's Bible,  Papa's trunk
To a total stranger no more than junk
The closest ties I ever knew...
Until I met you...
. . . .

Hey,  it's good to be back home again
Sometimes this old house feels like a long lost friend
Yes,  and hey,  it's good to be back home again
. . . .

Someday,  when I'm dreaming
Wishing you weren't so far away
Then I will remember
Things we said today


(lyrics of  the above songs may have been slightly modified):
top - "Until I Met You"  by Judy Rodman
middle - "Back Home Again"  by John Denver
bottom - "Things We Said Today"  by The Beatles


I have written many postings on the long ago days here in Passion for the Past.  Over 800!  Dozens of these postings center on historic or simply old homes and buildings,  while a few hundred posts focus on daily life inside those old homes and buildings.
A real passion,  eh?
But,  you do realize that one day the  "now"  we are living in will be  "then" - that one day  "today"   will all be considered  "the past,"  right?
Yeah,  I know you do,  but most of us never give it a thought because we're too busy living in the now,  even when we reenact the past  (if that makes sense).  I wonder,  though,  who will be studying  our  daily lives?  You can laugh and say that's a ridiculous statement and that who would ever want to research our time...and yet,  I believe they will.  I mean,  young people today are researching the Vietnam era - the 1960s and early 1970s - and collecting Americana from that time.  I've even been asked about what was it like to live  "back then"!  I've also been asked what was it like during America's Bicentennial celebrations of 1976,  another pivotal moment in the more modern American history.  So why wouldn't future historians be interested in us today - in collecting our  time?  It's interesting to think about - as long as they don't depend on the awful media to teach them of our time!.
So with that thought in mind,  I figured it might be fun to write about  "now"  in a sort of way as if I were telling and showing  "today"  to the people of  "tomorrow."
Get it?  lol


The four seasons of the year - - - 
It was by religious festivals such as Candlemas,  Rogation Sunday,  and Lammas Day that villagers told the passing of time,  especially in the Middle Ages.  Events in the recent past or near future would be dated by their coincidence with - or proximity to - a particular saint's day or festival.  Few in the Medieval period knew the exact year according to the Christian chronology,  and even literate men & women living in the manor houses looked at the passing of time in terms of the monarch's reign.  The hours of the day were calculated by the position of the sun or sundial on the church tower.  In fact,  not too long ago I read an excellent novel,  The Outcasts of Time  by Ian Mortimer,  about two time-traveling Englishmen - John & William - who were originally from the year 1348 but travel into the future at 99 year intervals,  witnessing the changes made in each near century.  And since we are speaking of  marking time,  I thought the following passage and exchange in the book was well-suited at this point,  for it speaks of  the ultimate man-made time-keeper:  clocks.  You see, mechanical clocks,  as we know them to be,  did not exist in John & William's starting point time.  However,  a major breakthrough occurred around 1360 when a device designed and built by Henry de Vick established basic clock design for the next 300 years.  Of course,  ideas and inventions took much longer to spread in those long ago days,  and minor developments were added over the decades and centuries,  such as the invention of the mainspring in the early 15th century,  which allowed small clocks to be built for the first time,  but the basics were there early on and remain to this day.
So,  as the Outcasts of Time story continues on,  at one point the two men find themselves in the year 1546 - 198 years past their own time - and in meeting a man named Tom,  the following occurs  (written in 1st person from John's perspective p. 134):
St.  Michael the Archangel's Church,  Chagford
The church bell in Chagford  rings out nine times. 
"Nine of the clock,"  remarks Tom.
"What is  'the clock'?"  I ask.
He looks at me.  "How can you not know what a clock is?  It is a machine for telling the time.  With weights and cogs and things like that.  Surely you've heard one?  They're proud of their clock in Chagford.  All the folks there live by its chimes.  But those from the town are constantly saying  'sorry,  sorry'  for their lateness - and why?  Because their clock tells them so.  If they didn't have a clock,  they would never be late.  No one would know."
I am still mystified.  How do you get a machine to tell the hour?  Time is reckoned by the motion of the sun around the Earth,  which is down to the Will of God,  so how do you make a machine that tells the Will of God?
You see,  because the seasonal tasks were the same every year,  and because only a major public or private event,  such as a plague epidemic,  a drought,  or the death of a monarch or a family member,  for example,  would distinguish any one year from all the others,  the perception in the passing of time meant little to most people,  and only few were even aware of any differences in the physical conditions of their lives compared with those of their grandparents  (even though such differences may have been minimal). 
Seasons are fundamental to how we understand the climate and the environment around us,  but how do we define  when they start and end?
In meteorological terms,  it’s fairly simple – each season is a three month period.  So here in the northern hemisphere,  Summer is June,  July,  and August;  Autumn is September,  October,  and November,  and so on for Winter and Spring.
Defining seasons in this way means we can compare weather from one season or year to the next.  It also has the advantage that each season is roughly the same length,  neatly dividing the year into four quarters.
Astronomical definitions of seasons also exist – using the Earth’s position relative to the Sun as the cue for separating one season from another via the equinoxes and solstices.
So the Summer begins around the Summer Solstice,  when daylight hours are at their longest  (around June 21st),  and ends around the Equinox,  when days and nights are of equal length  (around September  21st),  which is when the astronomical Autumn begins.  This continues until the Winter Solstice,  which is when daylight hours are at their shortest  (around December 21st),  and the same for the astronomical Spring around March 21st,  when days and nights are of equal length once again. 
However,  this means that astronomical seasons therefore are about three weeks behind the meteorological ones,  for they begin on the first of the month rather than the 21st  (or,  sometimes,  the 22nd)..
But one thing both methods have in common is that the dates are fixed by the calendar and don’t take into account what is actually happening in nature,  which is,  after all,  how most of us understand the nature  of seasons.
So,  like our weather,  the exact timing of when we  ‘feel’  one season is over and a new one has begun will always be liable to change.  I know this has happened to me - end of August and early September almost always feel like fall to me.  But,  in contrast,  the meteorological seasons always remain fixed by the calendar month.
I personally enjoy the changing of the four seasons and take joy and pleasure in the coming of each.
So,  that being said,  have you ever thought about the house in which you live?
I do...in ways most people probably do not.
A number of years ago I took on a project:  for some reason I find it interesting to see the monthly - and sometimes even the weekly - changes that occur over time,  so I decided to have a bit of fun and spent time photographing a couple of historic houses every month over the course of a year.  This took place inside Greenfield Village where I  "captured"  the Firestone Farm and the Daggett House from the same angle through each of  the four seasons,  from January through December.  And then I added historical information to those photos to give life to each house during any particular month.  So now I thought I'd try it with my own home.  I mean...it was built in 1944 and I've been living there for 32 years now...eventually this old house will become historical,  right?
Do you see how I intertwine past and present?  
That's the way my mind works.  I mean,  when I visit historic homes,  which is quite often,  I think of the time they were built and of the people who lived in them way back when - and in that way the so-called spirits within their walls can sort of speak to me.  Oh,  not actual ghosts per se,  but through my research and having the knowledge of those who once lived there can sort of help to bring the houses back to life;  I can seemingly hear the echoes of  long ago conversations and envision daily life experiences;  almost witnessing the house as it once was when it was young.
Almost like an energy...
Think of the history they would tell...
I suppose that's what research does to a person - gets us thinking in different ways,  rather than cut n dry black n white;  our minds are expanded to having a greater depth and understanding of those who lived in a time long ago,  and it's then we realize that history is not at all black and white,  but only shades of gray.
So,  just imagine...those who once lived in these old historical houses we visit at Greenfield VillageGettysburgColonial WilliamsburgConner Prairie,  or Old Sturbridge Village were living human beings and not just sketches or characters or black & white images in a book.  They had feelings the same as we do:  they felt happiness,  sadness,  anger,  pain,  concern,  absolute joy,  and contentment.  They celebrated the coming of spring and of harvest time.  They enjoyed church picnics and weddings,  and certainly mourned when loved ones,  whether friends or family,  passed away.  They spoke of their crops,  of the weather,  told stories,  and studied the Bible.  Just imagine the discussions and probably even debates they had of the news of the day - how interesting it would be to hear conversations and opinions in the 18th century Daggett home about the Bloody Massacre of Boston,  the Revolutionary War,  their thoughts on the Declaration of Independence,  the forming of the new nation with its own Constitution,  and hearing of George Washington becoming the first president of this new Republic...as it was happening!
How about the Plympton House?  The brother of one of the three who rode with Paul Revere on the night of April 18,  1775,  pounded upon that very door to warn Thomas Plympton that King George's Regulars were on the march,  and they were heading toward Lexington and then Concord! 
And how about the homes that were around during the Civil War,  such as the Tillie Pierce House or the Birthplace of Henry Ford?  Just think of the discussions that occurred about the Civil War - Tillie Pierce and her family certainly saw it all first hand while living in Gettysburg!  And Henry Ford's uncles,  John and Barney Litogot,  fought in that awful war.  In fact,  John was killed during the battle of Fredericksburg,  hit by a cannonball.
Just imagine...I mean,  if the walls had ears,  they most certainly would have heard at least some  talk about these historic events.
And if walls could speak,  imagine the tales they could tell.
I  can only imagine…
Now,  I look at my house in the same manner but only opposite:  perhaps we're  the spirits that will remain within the walls for others to feel.
Or even read about.
I do not live in a historic home,  to begin with.  It remains where it was originally built in 1944  (79 years ago,  as of this writing).  I have family members  (a sister & brother)  who live in homes over a hundred years old,  so my house is nowhere near ancient,  though some of our interior décor can rival any home of 200+ years ago.  
There's my street,  circa 2003.
Small changes in the 20 years since.
I wonder what this street will look like in a hundred years...?
No,  my house is not historic or ancient.  And no famous person ever lived here to make it worth saving for future generations.  Nor do we live in any sort of historic district;  it's just our own home where we raised our growing family.  As far as I know,  we're the third owners.
Patty and I were relatively young when we purchased it back in 1991.  We had only one child with another on the way.  In these 32 years since,  we grew our family to a total of four children,  two daughters-in-law,  and four grandchildren  (as of this writing,  there is another grandchild on the way).  And we're on our second dog.
This means for us there are 32 years of  wonderful memories within these walls.
So far.
And 32 years of our conversations:  often political,  often religious,  sometimes family business,  work-related,  jokes & laughter,  favorite TV shows,  reenactor gatherings and historical discussions,  stereo/musical sounds played,  visits with friends,  holidays,  movie nights,  Simply Dickens rehearsals,  enjoying playing with our grandchildren,  standing out front to watch 4th of July fireworks,  food preparation and eating...you know,  everyday life.
And we spoke of the current events as they happened:  9-11,  NAFTA,  the Oklahoma Bombing,  the Space Shuttle Columbia,  the Internet,  the death of Princess Diana,  cell phones,  the various presidential elections,  social issues,  Trump,  Hillary,  Biden,  Obama,  Bush,  Clinton,  covid...and we still speak on current events  (and I taught my children that it is okay to disagree and still be friends with whom you disagree with).
The great hall of the mid-18th century Daggett House.
So,  in thinking along these lines about the Daggett Family of the 18th century while standing in the great hall of their now historic home  (pictured left)  was when I came upon the idea of doing my own house.
Lots of changes have occurred in these many years we've lived here,  aside from my ever-growing family.  During the period when my mother moved in with us,  and she was truly a God-send,  for she was there for our kids,  she sometimes would take them to school,  pick them up from school,  cared for them after school,  and then,  on her own,  she did laundry,  cooked meals,  and sometimes even went shopping.  Oh!  There was never a dirty dish in the sink!  "What---you want me to sit here and do nothing until I die?"  she would say to me when I told her not to worry about cleaning.  My sister reminded me that mom was raised to be a mom - she was born in the 1920s,  lived through the depression-era 1930s,  through the horrible 2nd World War in the early 1940s,  married soon after the war had ended,  and had children of her own.  Being a grandma didn't change things.  She still had that urge to care for her family.  And that's what she did.
Unfortunately,  she took her last breath on January 18,  2017.
But she was such a joy to have here with us - my kids absolutely loved  having grandma around!
And I miss having my mom with us,  too.
We all do.
Another great loss was the death of my brother,  Tom.  It was his sudden and unexpected death on April 6,  2014 that hit so hard.  And it was his death that brought my mother into such despair,  sliding her into seemingly a dark abyss.  As she had said,  "You're not supposed to bury your own child."
And,  yet,  here she was...
Now,  aside from those two sad occurrences,  most times in this house were filled with happiness and joy.  The holidays of Easter,  Thanksgiving,  and Christmas were always especially joyous occasions,  and they still are!
And not unlike our forbearers,  we also live by the seasons...at least we do in my family.
Okay,  so not in the same way necessarily as those from the 18th or 19th or even early 20th centuries,  but in that direction,  for we celebrate each season in our own special way,  oftentimes more than most current people I know,  as you shall see.
And I believe the spirits of the past will remain.
January 25,  2023
I don't have a lot of property.  In fact,  if we were in the early Republic period of our country's history  (roughly 1780 to 1830)  and I lived in this house,  I couldn't vote because I do not own enough property for that allowance  (and it would not be until 1828 before I possibly may be able to vote).  But,  living here in the 21st century,  not owning a lot of property means I don't have much to shovel when we
get a snowstorm.  Therefore,  it's a pretty refreshing feeling when my son and I finish shoveling then head indoors for some hot chocolate and a warm glow coming
from the TV set.
And I can now vote.
I enjoy the snow.
I really do.
Yes,  even the shoveling,  which gets my blood flowing.
And we've taken our kids sledding,  as we now do with our grandkids.
We can sit and grumble about the cold weather and snow,  or we can embrace and enjoy it.
I choose the latter.
January 23,  2022
Do you see that birch tree in my front yard?
My wife and I planted that sometime in the late 1990s.
You will see our garage change from a white cover with a black door to a deep purple and orange door.  That's because for varying reasons this photography project took a few years to accomplish.  Changes occurred during those couple of  years.  So if it is white with a black door then it was before summer 2021. 

January 26,  2020
It's also during the bleak mid-winter that I like having a family day where all of my kids and their families  (for those who have families of their own)  come over and we have our Italian soup,  chicken,  and fresh homemade hot bread.  Oh,  man! The BEST!! 
A great winter tradition~~~

February 16,  2021
Now here is a typical metro-Detroit area snowfall!
It's in this winter time that we enjoy watching the most movies in the evening.  You see,  we turn off all the lights,  have the DVD player and TV hooked up to the stereo,  make popcorn,  and enjoy our movie nights even more than going to the show!
February 25,  2021
Yet,  only nine days later and most of that snow has melted.
Usually by late February we can begin to feel the hints of spring heading our way, 
though snowstorms are always still around.

 Now we head into the month of March.
At one time,  New Year's Eve was on the evening of March 24,  which was according to the Julian Calendar,  and therefore,  New Year's Day was March 25th.  This practice lasted until the year 1752 when we switched to the Gregorian calendar and New Year's Day became January 1st. 
Because spring is the season of  things coming back to life after a long winter's nap,  one can see how March could be the beginning of the New Year,  as it once was.  (September comes from the Latin word  "seven"  and October is  "eight" - for in the Roman calendar):
Martius,  Aprilis,  Maius,  Junius,  Quintilis,  Sextilis,  September,  October,  November,  and December.  The last six names were taken from the words for five,  six,  seven,  eight,  nine,  and ten. Romulus,  the legendary first ruler of Rome,  is supposed to have introduced this calendar in the 700s B.C.
January and February were the 11th and 12th months.
March 20,  2023
The 1st Day of Spring
And it looks like spring,  doesn't it?
If I was a farmer I would be preparing my tools for manuring,  harrowing,  plowing, 
and planting.  But I'm not a farmer - at least,  not in the 21st century anyway. 
However,  my 18th century persona is.
And sometimes my 19th century persona is as well.
So what do we do to prepare for spring here in the city in the 21st century?
We talk about our upcoming plans,  whether for the garden we plan to have or
for our reenacting world.
By the way,  the Spring Equinox,  March 20,  will consistently fall on that date until
the 22nd century - we wont see it fall on March 21st again until 2101.
Our calendars follow the astronomical seasons,  where the seasons change usually around the 20th or 21st every three months  (March,  June,  September,  and December).  For me,  for where I live,  and due to the feeling in the air,  I prefer the meteorological seasons,  which do not change or vary by year.  
Those seasons are:
Spring:  March 1 to May 31
Summer:  June 1 to August 31
Autumn:  September 1 to November 30
Winter:  December 1 to February 28  (or February 29 during a leap year)
To be honest,  this is  (mostly)  the way I think of our seasons,  though I have to admit I do get excited on the equinoxes and solstices  (when the season are  "official").
Just thought some might be interested in this bit of a fun information~
March 25,  2024
We dig the snow and the rain and the bright sunshine...
remnants of winter's snow upon the ground...
In those long ago days,  instead of playing,  such as I am,  on the ancient equivalent of a computer,  and rather than writing a blog post,  perhaps I would,  instead,  be writing for a newspaper or even writing a book.  Then again,  I may not be writing at all,  for if I were a farmer,  I would have too many other chores to take care of this early spring day.  Or,  if we went back far enough,  I could be celebrating New Year's Day.

March 30,  2022
As the daily temperature slowly ekes up the gage,  the muddy and dirty leftovers
of winter can plainly be seen.

Now we head into April:
April 4,  2021
Spring has sprung,  and we can see the green getting greener. 
Growing up and even as an adult,  the first signs of sunny warm weather and my mom would get into a shopping mood.  Years later,  when I was married,  my wife would say and do the very same.  As a kid,  I would be getting excited about the baseball season,  but as an adult I would begin to think and prepare for the cottage season  (my family had a cottage).  As an even older adult my thoughts head in the direction of reenacting and the annual opening of Greenfield Village  (which closes completely by the end of December).
Easter Celebration April 20,  2019
My family,  including my siblings and their families,  come over and celebrate this holiday with us.  We always hope for a sunny spring day but that rarely seems to happen.  No matter,  it's just nice having everyone over! 
Because my family celebrates the Holiday on the Saturday between Good Friday and Easter Sunday,  I am sometimes able to visit Greenfield Village on Easter Sunday itself,  as I did in 2019 and again in 2022,  for Easter was early enough those two years for the Village to be open for the season.
But in 2023:
Easter 2023~
Siblings,  sibling in-law,  son,  grandson...
Now,  would things be any different if all here were living in 1773?
Except for clothing fashions,  methinks not,  for conversations would abound
in either time.
Family gatherings,  to me,  are what makes a house a home.

Later April and into May my wife gets downright giddy at the opportunity to plan and plant her garden in both the front and back yard.  Usually the front yard sees flowers while the back yard will have flowers as well as vegetables such as cucumbers and tomatoes.
April 23,  2022
You see my wife preparing the front yard for flower planting.
The two of us often work together on this - I usually dig up the dirt
and she usually plants.
See the tiny green buds on the birch tree?
Arbor Day,  a day I remember celebrating in school way back when,  is a secular day of observance in which individuals and groups are encouraged to plant trees.  The first American Arbor Day occurred  back in 1872,  and was first celebrated in Michigan in 1885.  In 1966,  Michigan Governor George Romney proclaimed the last week in April as Arbor Week and the last Friday in April as Arbor Day,  helping to recognize the importance of trees to the environment and how much their beauty enriches our lives.  Today,  many countries observe such a holiday.  Though usually observed in the spring,  the date varies,  depending on climate and suitable planting season.   Here in the US most states generally celebrate Arbor Day every year on the last Friday in April.

Time for the merry,  merry month of May!
May 11,  2021
Though it is mid-May it does not mean we will not have any more snow.  There have been plenty of times we've had snow in mid-May.  However,  it is not too often,  so there's that.  More often than not our temps at this time are generally in the 70s and even regularly in the 80s.
The season of re-birth is here!

My Magnolia tree I planted in our backyard in 2021.
Spring is right here - May 1st,  2022.

May 22,  2021
I took this picture on my birthday  "just because."
Once the weather is pretty much staying warm with little chance of snow,  I begin putting my historic flags out more regularly.  Here I have my orange Gadsden Flag  ("Don't Tread On Me")  and my Betsy Ross flag waving proudly.
I enjoy flying my historic flags in decent weather.  Every-so-often someone will stop and ask a question or two and I am very happy to oblige by giving a short history lesson.

Along comes the month of June - - school will soon be out for the summer!  It's summertime USA!
June 23,  2021
This was the summer where all of the sidewalks on our side of our street were destroyed to put in better drainage systems.  It was a pain,  yes,  and very dusty as well, so we were all pretty happy when it was completed.  And now we have an updated drainage system and  new sidewalks to boot!

4th of July,  2021
I absolutely love the 4th of July,  and each year I select flags to have the honor of flying
off my porch during the nighttime fireworks extravaganza.  There are those few who live in this great country who have nothing good to say about it - those who see nothing positive.  However,  the greater - by far the greater majority of us  of all races and nationalities seem to celebrate the anniversary of us becoming an independent country.  Yep---my entire city is engulfed in the celebration of what took place back in 1776!
I myself no longer set off fireworks as I used to,  but I do stand on the front walk to enjoy all of the  "illuminations"  (as John Adams,  2nd President,  called them)  exploding all around me,  and loving every minute!
4th of July 2021
My décor is proudly waving,  and I'm all set and ready for the fireworks celebrations
to commence!
Those few with the biggest and loudest mouths can claim that July 4 should no longer be celebrated all they want,  for on this day I see quite the opposite occurring,  which warms my heart and keeps my patriotic spirit ever-so high.  We live in a mixed neighborhood with black,  white,  and Latino neighbors,  all enjoying and celebrating Independence Day together,  and I'm loving it! 
July 4,  2021
My camera does a pretty darn good job in catching
the Spirit of  '76!
Yes,  my house has seen many 4th of July celebrations - close to 80 of them.  And my patriotic spirit helps in the celebrations!
Summer 2019
I am so proud,  humbled,  and honored that my family and I have been selected to receive the Flag Certificate of Commendation from the National Society of the
Sons of the American Revolution – Detroit Metropolitan Chapter - for my
 displaying of historic American flags.
I began collecting replicated historic flags nearly two decades ago when I purchased one of the 1860s - Civil War era,  and I have been purchasing them ever since.  I fly them at my house frequently,  which garners great conversations from passersby,  and I especially love to fly them at our historical reenactments,  which also is a great teaching opportunity.
The replicated sewn cotton historic flags seen in this picture,  besides my bunting,  are:
the white Minutemen flag from Culpeper,  Virginia from 1775
the Grand Union Flag from 1775  (both hanging off the porch)
the orange 1775 Gadsden flag that I am holding
the Liberty & Union flag that Robert has,  also from 1775
and Miles is holding the Betsy Ross flag from 1776.
And we have a few mini-modern American flags in the front garden.
I was also proud that most of my family could be there for this:  my wife Patty,  most of our kids  (Robbie,  Miles,  and Rosalia - - except for Tommy,  who had to work),  our daughter-in-law,  Samm,  and our three grandkids,  Ben,  Addy,  and Liam.
This really means a lot to me and to us.  I’ve raised my kids to be patriotic and to be proud of their country – past and present - and if they disagree with something,  they also know how to protest and work to make changes,  and, most importantly,  accept it if those changes cannot be made.
I must say I appreciate other friends,  such as Tom Bertrand and Bernie Dobrzykowski,  who also collect historic flags.  And I have many friends,  notably Beth & Kevin as well as Lynn Kalil,  who also display their patriotism and American pride,  many times in fun ways.
Thank you,  SAR,  from the Giorlando Family.
(And,  no,  you don’t have to display the red,  white,  and blue to be patriotic.  This is just the way I prefer to do it for myself)

Late summer...
July 30,  2021
The heat of summer is now upon us.  
Items in our garage are set upon wood pallets to keep safe from water leakage,
so if we see any available,  we grab  'em. 
2021 was the year we finally said  "enough of this heat"  and got air-conditioning installed.  The heat of the summers of late have been horrifically abrasive,  and I can no longer handle the long stretches of hot hot hot with little means of cooling down.  So we went into debt and had a/c installed.
I'm not sorry I did.

August 10,  2021
Here it is in mid-August 2021 and our water drainage system is not yet completed
 - but it wouldn't be long at this point.  The dust was everywhere.
But in the air there is a hint that fall is coming.
Just a hint.
Lammas Day falls on August 1st - many colonial farmers celebrated the holiday, 
which marked the first major harvest of the beginning fall season,  even though it is still technically summer,  for August was once considered one of the months
of harvest time.  
And it was usually in late July and throughout August  (oftentimes beginning on August 1st)  when the  cicadas - also known as  "harvest flies"  in the old days - are
a-buzzin'  loudly in the trees!  
Yep - every year we still hear their loud,  and sometimes annoying,  buzz.
August is a hot,  lazy time.  Patty begins to pick the cucumbers and tomatoes and whatever else we have growing in the back yard.  For a few years in the mid-teens  (2012 to about 2016)  we,  along with our eldest son,  really made a very cool garden with raised beds and everything:
The idea of raised beds came from the historic Daggett House.
And just look at the yield in mid-August:
Summer harvest from our garden - and there's much more!
All planted from heirloom seeds.
From here,  according to the comment with this picture,  my wife and eldest son 
had been canning all afternoon and evening.
Still following the seasons while living in the city in the 21st century!
And due to summer harvests such as this - as small as they may be to you country folk - August is usually the month when I begin to mentally get prepared and excited for fall,  for that is my favorite season of the year,  as you shall soon see.     

Wow!  We are already in September!
September 18,  2021
The transition month from summer to fall.
It's also the time my family goes apple picking.  Every year,  usually in mid-September,  all of us - my wife & I,  our four kids,  our grandkids,  and our daughters-in-law - will venture out to the country to a  "U-Pick"  apple orchard,  enjoying cider and doughnuts in the meantime.  Then my wife will begin to peel and cut up the apples for a pie.
Oh,  yes,  we still celebrate fall harvest time,  too,  in ways not unlike our ancestors!

About September 17,  2022
The crate of freshly picked apples sits on our new  "Harvest Table."
Yes,  that's what they called it when we purchased it a week before this photo.
As I mentioned earlier,  fall is my favorite time of year and pretty much always has been.  I remember those days of my youth when I would get excited in those first few days and weeks following Labor Day Weekend when we'd begin to get a nip in the nighttime air and my mom would light the candles.  My dad would start a fire in our fireplace,  depending on how strong the nip was.
Cozy and traditional and old-timey - I loved it even at such a young age.
And I still carry on this tradition:  once springtime hits,  with the sun setting later and later and the thermometer showing less and less red,  our homemade hand-dipped pure beeswax candles,  which have sat curing for up to a year,  are lit,  giving us that fall feeling I've felt my entire life.  In fact,  my son Miles always gets excited when I do light them come September,  just like my mom did.  I love that we are carrying on her tradition!  I only wish we had a fireplace...
Lit candles and  a fresh homemade apple pie!!
The look and smell of autumn~
By the way,  note the changes in the leaves of our front yard birch tree from this point out.
Also,  there is a newer tradition of my own I do to help welcome and celebrate the fall:
September 26,  2022
If you look closely,  you can see that I festively decorate my porch for fall,  using hay bales,  corn stalks,  and pumpkins & gourds that I buy every year.  Nothing fake - all the real deal,  items I purchase at the local garden center and sometimes from a farm market in the country.  For the most part,  people from the old days didn't  "decorate"  in this manner,  for fall was all around them and there was no need to add to God's glory.  But living in a city the way I do,  it helps me mentally and gives me great pleasure to do this.  I will usually put it up on or right after Labor Day and leave it up until Thanksgiving.
And here you see my front porch:
My next door neighbor mentioned,  "Oh!  Getting
ready for Hallowe'en!"
I responded with,  "Not necessarily for Hallowe'en. 
More for the autumn season."
He replied with,  "Oh!  I like that even better!"
No,  it's nothing fancy.  But I like how it looks.

The most beautiful month of autumn is upon us now:  October.
October 5,  2022
No season of the year  - no month,  in fact - shows the changes as does autumn and October,  as you shall see.  Even in the city.
Have you been keeping an eye on our birch tree?
October 14,  2022
As summer fades into fall,  the days start getting shorter and there is less sunlight. 
This is a signal for the leaves to prepare for winter and to stop making chlorophyll.  Once this happens,  the green color starts to fade,  and the reds,  oranges,  and yellows that make the fall season what it is become visible.

October 19,  2022
When the sky is darker because of a cloudy day,  that makes the fall foliage colors appear more vibrant.  So the reds,  oranges,  and yellows stand out more with a gloomy sky.  The opposite is for a bright, sunny day.
I absolutely love the sky offsetting the golden leaves remaining on our birch tree.
This is the epitome of fall,  in my opinion.
I wouldn't mind another tree with a bit more color to the leaves...oh wait:
Sometimes the leaves are not as  "popping"  as I'd like on
our back yard Red Oak Tree  (that we got from
Greenfield Village on an Arbor Day many years ago), 
but no matter,  because most times it still is beautiful.
Every year for nearly a decade I've had candle-dipping days in my backyard - a tradition going back hundreds of years for our ancestors.  Sometimes a dozen people may come over to help,  while other times it may be just me with perhaps one or two others.  But I've had more than one tell me they look forward to this fall activity at my house.
And look what other fall tradition I have in my yard - - candle dipping!
Friends and family,  including grandkids,  help out.
Yep---once again,  in my small back yard we do big things.

My favorite  "Autumn Carol"  is  "Autumn Leaves"  as sung by the great Nat King Cole.
I've also come to really enjoy the original version of  Washington Irving's  "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,"  which is more of an Autumn tale than a Hallowe'en tale.
October 27,  2022
The activities really take off this time of year!
Here in southeastern Michigan,  by late October,  the most colorful of leaves
lay in the grass,  dirt,  gutter,  or street...dead.
Perfect for...
...October 31st:
~Hallowe'en Night  2022~
Tonight is the night when dead leaves fly
Like witches on switches across the sky,
When elf and sprite flit through the night
On a moony sheen.  
Tonight is the night when leaves make a sound
Like a gnome in his home under the ground,
When spooks and trolls creep out of holes
Mossy and green.
Tonight is the night when pumpkins stare
Through sheaves and leaves everywhere,
When ghoul and ghost and goblin host
Dance round their queen.
It's Hallowe'en!
(by Harry Behn)
We don't get as many trick or treaters as we used to.  I hope that changes.  I enjoy seeing all of the kiddies all dressed up in their costumes and the smiles upon their faces when we give them their treats.
Incorporating Hallowe'en and Fall - - 

I like how it all pulls fall together.

Kind of eerie,  almost like being out in the country...

Still eerie,  even with the porch light on.

And then once Hallowe'en is over and November begins,  a noticeable change is in the air.  The smell of fallen leaves wafts throughout,  and it's as if the trees all dropped their leaves at once.
November 11,  2022
If I were a farmer,  this would be the month to harvest my root vegetables. 
Instead,  it's the month we prepare for Thanksgiving,  which is actually an 
"official"  harvest celebration.
But the nip in the air sure does feel good to me.
As you can see,  it's November 11th and my autumn porch decorations are still up.
The sounds of the old world Christmas carols carry from our back room through every room on our main floor.  The old carols like The Boar's Head Carol,  The Gloucestershire Wassail,  All You That Are Good Fellows,  Deck The Hall,  and so many others from a period long,  long ago.
If it's November,  Simply Dickens must be over for rehearsals.
Now let us sing...!
And before you know it,  it is Thanksgiving!
Our Thanksgiving meals are always eaten by candle light.  
Since Patty & I have been married,  I don't believe we've have ever eaten our
Thanksgiving dinner or our Christmas dinner by anything other than candlelight.

November 28,  2021
November comes and November goes
With the last red berries and the first white snows
It does snow in November here in Michigan quite often.  One year not long ago
we had such a November snowstorm that they called off school!  

We now enter the final month of the year - December!
Leaves are pretty much all off the trees by now,  and the weather is almost always below freezing.
We are into the darkest month of the year.  where daytime hours are less than nighttime hours.
By now our Christmas Tree is up and decorated.  We travel as a family north to the tree farm to cut it down ourselves,  then bring it home to decorate.
December 7,  2021
It's the Christmas Season~
It's been years since I've decorated the outside of my house for Christmas. 
I always say,  "Maybe next year,"  and when next year comes,  I usually get lazy and say,  "Maybe next year..."
However,  we do a fine and fun job festively decorating the inside of our home,  with garland and lights strung along the ceiling in our living room,  and a real Christmas Tree,  which we cut down ourselves,  set up in our back room.

Christmas Day in the Morning 2022
It's always wonderful to get a snowfall on Christmas Eve,  so upon a-wakening on Christmas morn,  this is what we sometimes get!  Oh,  I know it wasn't a lot of snow, 
but beggars can't be choosers,  right?
We have snow on Christmas!

Christmas 2022
As I mentioned,  I may not decorate outside,  but I believe what I do inside more than makes up for it.  We added the back room onto our home in 1999 and it has served us well.
And,  look!  Our first Christmas with our new Harvest Table!

Christmas 2022
My wife and I with our four grandchildren  (and one more on the way
as of this writing in April 2023!).
Yes,  our tree is candle lit - real candles on a real tree in this photo
and in the one above it.
That's Christmas for my family,  for,  once again,  this is something
Patty and I have been doing all the Christmas's of our marriage
 - and that's a long time!

So,  as it goes,  it was over a decade ago when I began photographing the 1880s Firestone Farm from roughly the same location and angle every month for a full year.  I thought it would be interesting to see the seasonal changes  (click HERE).  I don't know why I would do such a thing - I just happen to like seeing changes that occur over a year's time.
Then more recently I did it again with the 1760s Daggett House  (click HERE).  And I'm sorta doing the same with the Ford House now...I say  "sorta"  because I'm not making a conscious effort - I'm just doing it. 
Well,  this week's post reflects this same mindset,  but not of  a historic home mentioned,  but of a more current house - one of which is still lived in - - my  house.  With this post,  my  home's walls are talking... 
A photo of my ever-growing family.
If the 1760s Daggett family had a means to photograph their family back in their time -
or had a family painting done in their own home - I'm sure they would have.
Here you see my wife and I,  along with our four kids,  two daughters-in-law,  and four grandkids.  All of our kids were raised in this house and now our grandkids come and visit their Nonna & Papa in that same house.  And we all celebrate holidays here,  too.  That means something  to me.
This was just a basic simple overview of a typical year at my house with my family and me.  I must admit I didn't fully realize how much living by the seasons we do in my family!  But our house is a lively home filled with activity and love...and much happiness  &  laughter.  I often - quite often,  in fact - have people tell me  "You do such cool things!  I wish we would do things like you do!"  And my response is,  "Why aren't you then?  Just do it!"  
As silly as it sounds---think about it---each day adds more history to our homes - there are so many wonderful memories here in my own home,  just like the Daggetts and Firestones and Fords and all those whose homes now sit inside Greenfield Village and other historic areas must have had.  And just like those historic homes there in those amazing places of history  (I'm also looking at you Williamsburg,  Gettysburg,  and other places with historical structures)  I believe the walls in my own home will one day talk as well.
Someday we'll remember things we said today...

Until next time,  see you in time.


To read how I turned a portion of my home into an 18th century home,  click HERE
I can't afford a historic home,  so this was the next best thing!

To read about the monthly activities of the 18th century Daggett family,  click HERE
How an actual 18th century farm family lived,  including notations from his own ledger and loaded with seasonal photos.

To see the monthly seasonal photos of the 19th century Firestone Farm,  please click HERE
Much like the Daggett House post.

To read about the original locations of the historic homes now in Greenfield Village,  please click HERE
A few of us ventured out to find where these transplanted historic buildings originally stood.

Living by the Four Seasons on a Colonial Farm,  please click HERE
Daily life on a typical 18th century farm.

To read about kitchens from the 18th century through to our modern times  (which includes our kitchen) and the women that ran them - my own ancestors - click HERE

A few living history friends and I make the grand attempt - somewhat successfully - in spending a day in the 1770s at the Frontier Cabin - here are the links for this exercise in history: 
To read about our 2020 autumn excursion at the cabin,  click HERE
To read about our 2021 wintertime excursion at the cabin,  click HERE
To read about our 2021 springtime excursion at the cabin,  click HERE
To read about our 2021 summertime excursion at the cabin,  click HERE
To read about our 2021 summer harvesting of the flax at the cabin,  click HERE
To read about our 2021 autumn excursion making candles at the cabin,  click HERE
To read about our 2022 winter excursion at the cabin,  please click HERE
To read about our 2022 spring excursion at the cabin,  please click HERE
To read about our 2022 summer excursion at the cabin,  please click HERE
To read about our 2022 autumn excursion at the cabin  (Pioneer Day),  please click HERE
To read about our 2023 winter excursion at the cabin,  please click HERE

   ~     ~