August. The end of August. Harvest season, tipping over the apex of summer and slipping into fall. It's the time of year to get your house in order, literally or figuratively. I'm attempting a bit of both.

Augustinus is a name in my family, from my father's side. I don't know much about where and when it became part of our ancestry, but it would seem the name comes from Augustine of Hippo, who in his early years was a Neo-Platonist, like my father. My dad, whose business card read, "Astrologer, Alchemist, Neo-Platonist". Not a joke, but you can't help but chuckle.

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This has been a summer of holding down the house. Householding. The garden report is that tomatoes, all seven plants, are going like gang-busters. Much salsa and sauce is being made. Much stewing is happening. The winter greens are planted, the peppers are popping. I'm not counting pumpkins yet, but we have at least a few good ones, turning big and orange.

The chickens, which I'm now pretty confident I can say are going to be hens (no one has crowed yet), are nearly grown. We're expecting they'll start laying sometime in September. In the meantime, The Machinist brought home 18 beautiful little quail eggs the other day. They're almost too beautiful. Can you imagine starting out that small?

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The weekend before last brought in a surreal blanket of wildfire smoke to the Portland area. The town woke up on Saturday to a fiery glow and dense, thick air. A small taste of the reality of what's been going on in Oregon and Washington. The smoke has reached far and wide, the flames have licked just about every corner of both states and taken lives. It's tragic and seemingly without end.

And then it rained. We were soaked this weekend with inches of rain. High wind and thunder kept us up a few nights ago, and in the morning power was knocked out at our house for many hours. A small, small inconvenience for our little family. The rain was epic. Everything is epic these days, this summer. The weather is unlike anything I've ever experienced, taken all together. The hot has been hotter, the dry has been dryer, the winds have held at higher speeds, and then the rain that pouring from the sky with a relentlessness I've never experienced in late August in western Oregon. I find myself holding my breath for everyone's safety, those dear to me and those who are strangers. Those who put their lives on the line to protect us, who beat back the fires, who restore our electricity with such speed, who rush to the aid of those much less fortunate than me, snug in my little house in my little neighborhood.

August is about to turn over to September. It's on everyone's lips that fall cannot come soon enough.