Gardening saves the damn day. Also, tucking in and then cooking a squash.

I awoke with a vise-like headache and the familiar achiness of a cruddy cold coming on. My body felt stuffed with cotton, my humours peevish and off. Tom was sneezing and sounds raspy. The boys had circles under their eyes and were both listing toward the wrong side of behaved.

One slammed my bedroom door and stalked off to nowhere. I don't know why. The other set up an enormous fake-food snack bar called Buttville on the floor next to my bed. He forced me to buy pizzas and sandwiches and to consider making something with his blender. 

There were moments of promise. Ol decided that I should have a real breakfast in bed, demanded I stay put, and asked Tom to make coffee and chocolate chip pancakes. He made place cards, brought up TV trays and joined me to dine. We are "table 40" because "you're 40, Mom." Indeed.

But there was also world war level bickering, and at some point, we all blew. I grabbed Oliver and desperately zoomed to the nursery. 

I off-gassed for the entire drive, fuming silently about how damn hard it is, more than ten years in, to complete a newspaper article or two on a weekend morning, steaming about just how stupid (and therefore even more irritating) sibling squabbles can be.

As we turned into the nursery's parking lot, I felt my blood pressure start to drop. We chose a cart and hurried through Annuals, slowed momentarily in herbs and veggies, and then regained focus: Perennials. 

It is still quite hot here, but a definite tinge of fall is in the air.

I sense the awakening of my acute need to roast and eat huge quantities of root vegetables and their kin. This happens every year, and I always go big before gastric distress reins me in to reasonable quantities. For christ's sakes, I roasted a huge butternut squash last night (try this recipe!)and almost finished it at lunch today. (As an aside Oliver had become very attached to this squash and actually shed a few tears when I cooked it which I only did because he'd been carrying it around for days [we even tucked it in next to his bed one night; not even joking; WTF?] and dropped it several times and it had a small crack which would have turned into rotting nastiness and so duh, I cooked it.)

Heirloom pumpkins, decorative gourds, and to-be-Jack-o'-lanterns spill from bins and tables. Halloween decorations seem to have bred overnight; ghouls and ghosts and gravestones beckon from every variety store in town. And with it all come new plants, bulbs, grass seed, and towers of folded leaf bags. 

It's all very exciting in some way, and I felt my heart skip a beat with anticipation. (Then I blew my nose for the 93rd time. Damnit.)

Long story short: perennials, dirt, composted leaves, a white pumpkin, renewed spirits, an absence of inane anything, and we returned home.

Several hours in, Tom called from the front door: "Don't you think you're overdoing it a bit out there, Em? You have a cold. Drink some water."

I gave him the hairy eyeball from behind the enormous, gas-powered saw I had vrooming, vroomed it with gusto, and returned to the hedges and trees like Sweeney fucking Todd on speed.

"Honey, you've really been out here for quite a while," he called another hour later.

"Help me put on this backpack leaf blower thing, man."

"Mom, can I stuff Pop-Its in my Nerf gun and fire it and see what happens?" Jack asked. "Sure, hon." I replied. "Just stay over there in the median."

I really think that kid was working off some negative energy today. 

I blew and raked and dug and planted. Two neighbors drove by slowly and said, "Do you know your children are in the trunk of your car?"

"Yes, thank you."

The neighbors looked a bit confused.

"They'll be fine. I'm over it!" I said in a tone that I now believe sounded slightly insane.

They drove away.

I shoveled and hacked and fertilized (organic, natch) and mulched.

A couple walked past. "Say, aren't you flexible! Those knees!"

"Thank you." Lovely and a bit odd.

When my arms started shaking and I ran out of mulch, I considered it might be time to go in. Turns out it was 5:30pm.

Mother of god. I think I had some negative energy to work off today. Thank god the soil is such a generous taker. I don't know who or what I'd be without land to work.

I showered, sat on my bed, blew my nose for the 154th time, realized I couldn't quite get up because my legs felt wobbly, and so ordered a side table. You'd have done the same.

And now, a couple hours later, I'm back in bed, this time with Tom, Oliver and Nutmeg too. Ridiculous, sweaty, and slightly delightful. Just like today. 

**Bonus pics.

Waiting for the birds.

Waiting for the birds.

Celery, fennel and apple salad; bacon chicken done in a cast iron pan; lightly creamed kale with toasted breadcrumbs.