As I write this near the end of September, a sure sign that fall is upon us was apparent this morning with the reappearance of flocks of wild turkeys around my home. These critters spend their summers deep in the Badlands canyons sheltered among the pine and cedar trees, hidden from view by the ragged edges of the buttes and deepness of the canyons. They show up as the fields are harvested and the weather starts to turn cooler.

First to appear are the ‘toms’, which are large males. They strut around the yard spooking the cats and showing off their tail fans. Many days later the parade of females turkeys (hens) and their broods of young poults show up.  I’m noticing many different sizes of poults this year–some are almost as big as the females and others are smaller, about the size of chickens, indicating there were several hatches.  Perhaps the first hatches were lost to storms or predators of some sort.  Depending on the year, we may have hundreds of birds or maybe just a very few. It’s fun to watch them fan out across the combined fields gleaning the last of the grain and streaming down through the farmyard looking for anything else interesting, such as the late crabapples falling off of the tree.

The fields have also drawn in hundreds of doves that fill the tree branches and line up on the fences and overhead electric lines. They don’t stay long, but are pretty to watch.

The deer resurface as well; they too spend their summers deep in the badland canyons among the cedar and pines where it’s cooler to eat their fill and raise their young.  We have to be ever vigilant about watching for them popping out from behind trees and tall weeds and bounding out of the ditch into the roadway. Hitting one is expensive for both the deer and the vehicle.

Leaves have changed from summer green to gold and yellows.  Gardens have been harvested and the food that was gathered has been put in canning jars, dried or frozen for the coming winter months. Last minute ‘winterizing’ of homes is in progress as yet another season comes to an end.

We give thanks for the bounty of the past season and look forward to the winter months and the joys and the blessings of this time of year.


(I was given this article years ago; it’s food for thought, and especially important in a world that is so ‘busy’.)

Moments That Take Our Breath Away

I had a very special teacher in high school many years ago, whose husband unexpectedly and suddenly died of a heart attack.

About a week after his death, she shared some of her insight with her classroom of students. As the later afternoon sunlight came streaming in through the classroom windows and the class was nearly over, she moved a few things aside on the edge of her desk and sat down there.

With a gentle look of reflection on her face, she paused and said, “Before class is over, I would like to share with all of you a thought that is unrelated to class, but which I feel is very important.  Each of us is put here on earth to learn, share, love, appreciate and give of ourselves.  None of us knows when this fantastic experience will end. It can be taken away at any moment. Perhaps this is ‘the powers that be’ way of telling us that we must make the most out of every single day.”

Her eyes began to water; she went on, “So I would like you all to make me a promise.  From now on, on your way to school or on your way home, find something beautiful to notice. It doesn’t have to be something you see, it could be a scent, perhaps of freshly baked bread wafting out of someone’s house or it could be the sound of the breeze slightly rustling the leaves in the trees, or the way the morning light catches the autumn leaf as it falls gently to the ground.

 “Please look for these things and cherish them.  For although it may sound trite to some, these things are the ‘stuff’ of life.  The little things we are put here on earth to enjoy. The things we often take for granted. We must make it important to notice them, for at any time…. It can all be taken away.”

The class was completely quiet. We all picked up our books and filed out of the room silently. That afternoon, I noticed more things on my way home from school than I had that whole semester. Every once in a while, I think of that teacher and what an impression she made on all of us, and I try to appreciate all of those things that sometimes we all overlook.

Take notice of something special you see on your lunch hour today. Go barefoot. Or walk on the beach at sunset. Stop off on the way home tonight to get a double-dip ice cream cone.

For as we get older, it is not the things we did that we often regret, but the things we didn’t do.

 Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.  –Author unknown

God Bless you all and may sunshine always be in your lives to brighten your days.

 (Dedicated to the memory of my grandson, Trevor, who went to live with the angels at the age of 17 on August 29, 2015.)

by Paula Vogelgesang | Paula Vogelgesang is the author of the monthly column "Pennywise", and is a monthly contributor to the Farm And Livestock Directory. Email her at [email protected].  Please be sure to mention the "Farm And Livestock Directory" when you respond.