Monday, May 28, 2012

May Joy Week 4

I can scarcely believe it almost the end of May.
 Daily I remind myself to....
"Be strong, let your heart take courage, yes, wait on the Lord." Psalm 27: 14

I love what Ann Voskamp wrote on her blog today :

"Everything is being spun around and upside down and everything steadies with this: Practice gratitude to God to practice your Faith in God."

Yes, all steadies in giving thanks and having faith in Him

Day 22
(3 gifts that made you laugh)
523) a dear friend that I don't see too often, lovely to see her at a special friend's wonderful 40th birthday celebration
524) my daughter
525) my youngest, specially when we are learning to speak Afrikaans
526) hubby making dinner tonight

Day 23
(3 gifts found in community)
527) coffee break this evening with the neighbours... good to laugh and catch up

528) my kind neighbour sharing her fruit and veg purchase with us
529) shared lifts to extra murals, outings and exams

Day 24
(a gift in a plate, pot, package)
530) a plate...hubby's delicious chicken burgers tonight
531) pot...pots of popcorn made by daughter
532) package..that I found out about today, can't wait for it to arrive!
& thankful for more
533) coffee and a quick catch up with my friend
534) our eldest wrote his last exam for this session today
535) hubby had an interview today

Day 25
(3 gifts my own)
536) an early morning outing to a goat dairy with a friend, giving us a chance to catch up
537) supper cooked early so I could relax at the end of the long day
538) lying in my warm bed while the rain buckets down

Day 26
(a gift worn, white, whispered)
539) worn: a warm blanket wrapped Basothu  style around me,
 and a beanie on my head to keep away the chills today
540) white: a beautiful white fabric rose bookmark made as a gift by my daughter for a friend...saving pennies on buying another birthday gift
541) whispered: sounds of milk being frothed by the coffee machine my dad blessed us with this morning!
& my own
542) deliciousness of a day with no agenda....then relaxing with a roaring fire tonight

Day 27
543) enjoying the morning sunshine, chatting with a friend
544) encouraging conversations with my farm sister
545) enjoying celebrating a 13th birthday this evening

Day 28
546) a wonderfully fun filled school outing this morning to a bath bean factory
547) blessing of a borrowed camper-cot for my nephew
 (the same cot my almost 17 year old used to play in as a baby!)
548) a prize I won, waiting for me when I arrived home...

interesting jams....
 Chunky Orange & Whiskey Marmalade
Plum Walnut & Brandy Jam
Apricot Cardamom & Orange Jam
Black Cherry & Amaretto Jam
Peach & Passion-fruit Jam
Yellow Cherry & Roasted Almond Jam
549) receiving our cultural exchange pack full of surprises from Canada today
550) my happy girl returning from art lessons with a good grade for her project on Monet
551) laughing hard with the family tonight

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Visit to a dairy with a difference

Our youngest recently finished reading one of his SA history curriculum readers.
 In the story, Annetjie ( wife of Hendrik Boom  who was Van Riebeeck's gardener), 
cared for the cows at the Cape colony all those years ago. 
In the last week he also discovered more about Louis Pasteur and his remarkable contributions to the scientific world . So with great excitement, we visited a dairy of a different kind on Friday morning! 
It was dark and rainy, as we headed over the mountain with friends......
the mountain that used to hold my dear sister on the other side.
Children chattered excitedly and my friend and I caught up with one another....
how nice to have the time to chat early in the morning!
We arrived at Imhoff Farm's goat dairy just as it began to get light...

We were greeted by Denise, who welcomed us warmly and answered our numerous questions.
 The nannies, all lined up and most co operative, were in the process of being milked. We peered through the parlour window, fascinated  as the machines did their work. Some of the nannies looked rather large and we learned that most of them are pregnant with up to three babies!
Once milking was over, we entered the cheese making "factory"....

We were hit with a really cheesy smell....
it took a little getting used to so early in the morning! 
We enjoyed watching the making of mozzarella with the curd from the day before
 (whey separated overnight)
.....a surprisingly quick process.
 Strips cut, laid in boiling water, moulded into balls, squeezed in muslin cloth,
and then left in cold water before being put into brine. 

We learned how other types of cheese are made...
 Goat's milk and cows milk cheese. 
Feta, Gouda, Cheddar and Cream cheese.
Fascinating .
I could not help thinking of my sister...
 she has begun making her own cheese on the far away farm. 

We enjoyed delicious tasters of feta, goat's milk gouda, and fynbos cheddar...
the fynbos grown right outside the door!
For the brave, there was fresh goats milk to taste too...
I enjoyed the taste and was surprised that my non milk drinking daughter did too! 
I could not convince my youngest to taste it...reason being:
"I only like cold milk mom!"
ok, ok....was not going to push it!

What a tasty treat!
Of course we had to take some handmade cheese home for the rest of the family to try...
Fynbos cheddar and chili cheddar....

Enjoyed today on home-made spinach and sun dried tomato bread, 
alongside steaming butternut
 and orange soup!
Just perfectly delicious!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Mom Moment's - May Carnival

This month's "South Africa Carnival of Home Schooling" blog carnival is hosted by Karen and the brief was as follows :

 " this month, I'm wanting to write about those "Mom Moments" (I love Karen Andreola's term Mother Culture): - I'd like homeschooling moms to really share about the struggles they face, and the ways in which they tackle those black days, AND how they recover from those days, how they refresh and revitalize themselves, and find/make time for themselves and the things they love to do. 
My hope is that it would encourage us all, and remind us that no man (or woman) can survive as an island. "


I haven't contributed to the blog carnival in a while and perhaps that is because I have been trying to cope with the struggles which our family have faced over the last while. I have written other posts because I have wanted to.... but "having" to think up a post has not been at the top of my list of things to do. I felt it was important to rise to this challenge though, as often blogs only portray the good times. 

Our lives have been affected in many ways since hubby's loss of employment near the end of 2010. We are now almost mid way through 2012 and he has struggled along, putting his CV out there, doing jobs where and when they come you can well imagine that it has not been an easy time. Certainly stretching us in faith and growing us! There have been many ups and downs affecting me as "Mom" during this time. We all know that when Mom has moments, it affects the whole family. 

Alongside this, I am dealing with our 3 very different, precious children at different stages of their education and lives...a tween and two teens and then, recently added to the daily mix, our sweet baby cousin and nephew of almost 13 months.  Some days just seem insurmountable and I would love to disappear and run away from my responsibilities. But that is not an option!
I have found that there are practical things in different areas that I can do to help me cope with such days....

* Having my own quiet time and prayer is important, even if it is just five minutes when I am in the shower! It helps me to remain focused on Him, our Abba Father. My security needs to be in Him and not in my circumstances. This has become more important to me of late and I have been enjoying a study on 1 Corinthians 13. It has helped me to focus on the way I talk to my precious family and how I handle various situations that arise. 

* I have got into the habit of seeking out and counting my blessings daily. No matter what I am facing, there is ALWAYS something, no matter how small, that I can give thanks to God for. I recently read the following:
"In moments of discouragement, defeat or even despair, there are always certain things to cling to. Little things usually: remembered laughter, the face of a sleeping child, a tree in the wind- in fact any reminder of something deeply felt or dearly loved. No man is so poor as not to have many of these candles. When they are lighted, darkness goes away- and a touch of wonder remains." (tombstone inscription in Britain)
I have been also been able to share with the children how important it is to give thanks daily- it helps to lift our eyes from circumstances.

* Our Bible time and prayer together at the start of the day are important too. Each member of the family has the opportunity to give thanks as well as pray for specific needs or requests.

* A brief chat with the  children after Bible time, regarding the days plans/ expectations always seem to make the day run better. 
* I try to plan the evening meal in advance so if I need something to defrost, it is taken out in the morning.

* Making sure the children are well rested and that I have enough sleep too is important - I can be a late night owl so I really need to be disciplined in that area!
* On days that I have a had a bad night, I try to fit in a power nap.... works wonders for me and it means I can get through the evening without having bad mom moments!
* On weekends, if we are not too busy, I try to have at least an hour long nap.

* When one child requires dedicated input with no interruptions, I make sure the others have something they can go on with alone. With a baby in the house, this has become more important. The children have work they can do alone when he is busy and boisterous and then when he naps we focus on work that needs my input. Afternoons, when he has gone home are also focused learning times.
* On days when difficult lessons are not going to work, we read and read and read some more...we learn so much together through our read aloud times.
* If all else fails, we watch an educational movie.
* Or we get out of the house....a bit of fresh air can smooth many things over.

Household duties:
* As my children are big enough, they help with chores like washing, dishes, feeding pets, making lunches, meal preparation or cooking and more. They each know what they have to do and usually it runs smoothly. This has also changed over the last while as we used to have help in the home twice  a week. The adjustment has not been easy but instilling the value of team work and helping one another has been good for us. Hubby will cook dinner once a week usually, which is an enormous help. Our teen daughter is also very helpful with meal preparation.
* When a child is not feeling great, has a task that is keeping them very busy or exams, it is often easier for me to quickly do their chores to bless them rather than have a moment because it has not been done.

* My friends are special, and though I may "hide away" when days are tough, catching up over a quick coffee and chatting is usually a great "pick me up". Sometimes just sharing a quick chat on instant messaging is helpful too.
* I am positive I have one of the best neighbours in the world- she is such a gem and though we may not visit each day, we are in daily contact and help one another out with lifts, share quick cups of coffee and can count on one another. She treats my kids like her own and has often been able to have meaningful conversations with them. They know they can escape mom if she has a moment and hang out next door!
* My children are all at the age when they can understand that Mom may be having a "moment" or difficult day and so a little conversation can go a long way in helping them to understand the situation, making them more willing to help where they can with things that need to be done and restore some harmony to the home. My sweet daughter will often offer to pamper me with back massages, pedicures and manicures when she knows I am struggling. My youngest will often hug me, saying "You just need a hug mom".
* Hubby also plays a big role in conversations with the children and smoothing mamma's ruffled feathers...he is generally a calmer person than me and his listening ear always makes me feel better. He has a way of seeing things in a different light too, which can be very helpful.
* A good long chat (and sometimes a cry) with my own precious mum or one of my two precious sisters often helps me to see things from a different point of view and to keep putting one foot in front of the other. 

Though I try not to, at times I blow it ...... 
I talk harshly instead of kindly, or perhaps I may be sterner than necessary where grace is needed.
Recovery and restoration comes in the form of hugs and humble apologies,
admitting my short comings to my precious family, talking it out and finding possible solutions.

As for "me time", our children are big and baby is only here until lunchtime so there does not seem to be the need for me to make time for myself as such. I can enjoy the things I enjoy around the home without them needing my undivided attention. Often they come alongside me and join me in the garden or the kitchen or having some down time watching a movie or resting quietly with a book.  Very different to a Mom of little ones.... but part of the joys of having been there and done that!  

I truly want my children to remember their home as being a happy place. A home where, despite troubles, they are loved and learn to forgive and show grace and love to one another. 
A home where laughter and fond memories are made.

This is the May 2012 Blog carnival  which is part of the South African Carnival of Homeschool Blogs. To join the carnival or visit past carnivals visit the SACHS Blogs page. We hope you enjoy browsing!

Monday, May 21, 2012

May Joy Dare Week 3

The last week seems to have come and gone in a blur. Our eldest has been writing IGCSE exams, our daughter had a minor procedure, hubby worked through the night for three nights
(meaning I didn't sleep too well), migraines for me and the list goes on...
 I could complain about it all or choose to find blessing in the midst of all and give thanks....

Day 15
(3 gifts about me)
wow..this is not easy when one is looking at oneself but here goes...
494) I have a love for cooking and trying out new recipes so I think I am all right in that department. I am thankful that cooking is not always a chore, but often fun for me.
495) I love to make my children laugh by being silly...hopefully making some "crazy mom memories" for them to pull out and laugh at in the future.
496) I am growing in faith even though at times I stumble...
& some my own
497) thankful for exams that exams went well for my boy today

Day 16
(2 gifts found in His word)
498) You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorder each one in your book.When I cry unto You, then shall my enemies turn back: 
this I know, for God is for me Psalm 56:8 -9
499) Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you: not as the world gives,
give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid John 14:27
& more my own
500) calls from two of my siblings today
501) happy children laughing and playing cards this evening
502) thankful our eldest could help hubby on the job he is working on tonight
503) hugs from my youngest
504) thankful for my mom in law who makes her car available when we need a second car

Day 17
(my own)
505) thankful to have my sweet baby nephew for the morning
506) thankful my daughter's minor surgical procedure went well
507) thankful for a chat with my dear friend via our cell phones this afternoon
508) thankful hubby got someone to help him work on the job that he worked all through last night
509) thankful for leftovers in the freezer and last night's desert still in the fridge at the end of this very long day

Day 18
( gifts my own)
510) happy , sweet baby nephew riding up my path early this morning with outstretched arms
511) my boy going to his science club with a friend and then being invited to spend the afternoon....
happy boy delivered home again
512) busy yet peaceful afternoon
513) enjoying my daughter's home made hot chocolate with a touch of chili
and a movie night at home...
all snug and warm

Day 19
(3 gifts from my childhood)
514) precious memories of family times:
 holidays, family walks, tea time in the garden, Easter,
my mum leaving sweet notes on my pillow and
 getting up to mischief with my siblings and so much more!
515) parents who loved me well and cared to teach me right from wrong
516) having shared a room with my younger sister for many years...
forging a strong bond between the two of us

Day 20
(a gift sweet, sour, salty)
517) sweet ginger & carrot muffins shared with my hubby when he came in from working...
 at 4h00 this morning
518) sour words turned sweet with apologies and hugs
519) salty and delicious chicken soup shared with the family at lunch today

Day 21
(3 gifts found in little people)
520) open mouth, closed eyes kisses from my baby nephew who is just learning to give kisses
521) giggles and high fives from the same sweet little thing
522) hugs from my youngest whenever he thinks I need one!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Creative fun

We were blessed to meet an amazing lady early this year. She is a home educating mamma with incredible creative talent and she has been teaching K all sorts of wonderful new things. We are supposed to meet weekly, but we have not been able to make it every week. I am hoping we can change that!
 Here are some of the pretty things she has learned to make...

handmade paper flower and booklet
sand shaker card embellished with beads and flowers
scrapbook style calendar


fabric painted tray cloth
fabric flower Alice-band
polystyrene butterfly embellished with beads and glitter

K has been able to use some of these items as gifts and it has been such a blessing to meet 
new friends and enjoy time together.
 I look forward to seeing what the next project will be!

Monday, May 14, 2012

May Joy Dare week 2

Counting on and giving thanks to Him....

Day 8
(3 gifts my own)
465) having my oldest boy lean his head against my shoulder as we spent time together, working to prepare him for Thursday's exam
466) my youngest boy taken on a school outing by friends today...
then an afternoon of play and him coming home happy
467) hubby making homemade pizza tonight to satisfy the kids cravings for pizza..dough and all

Day 9
(3 gifts found in the dark)
468) comfort as my daughter and I lay chatting after lights out last night
469) some days darker than others but there IS ALWAYS something to thank Him for
470) knowing this in dark times...“I will never leave you or forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5).

Day 10
(a gift outside, inside, upside down)
471) salad greens growing outside in my garden: mustard greens, basil, spring onions and rocket... picked fresh almost daily to enjoy
472) inside the newly redeveloped mall my boy found a backpack he has wanted for a while and he used his  gift voucher from Christmas
473) lives turned upside down by exams but first one is over and thankfully my boy thinks it went well

Day 11
(3 gifts about your parents)
474) finding out yesterday that my Mum is ok...thankfully not cancer
475) my Mum's ever encouraging words
476) the way my dad just pops in from time to time for an early morning coffee and a chat
& more my own
477) early morning surprise of a box of products from the Home Tester Club...
Italian herb paste, Chilli Soya Sauce, Appeltiser, rice and some Kleenex wipes
478) a beautiful little tea pot card and note from my sweet sister
479) freedom to ditch traditional lessons and enjoy nature study in the garden with my younger two on this beautiful autumn day
480) a call from far, giving me something to look forward to
481) celebrating my dad in law's birthday....delicious dinner and family time

Day 12
(4 gifts held in hand today)
482) my phone...allowing me to receive messages from my far away mum and sisters even if their land lines are down
483) a borrowed text book which has helped my son revise for his upcoming geography exam
484) an early gift from my neighbour for mother's day.... she says I am her boy's other mommy
485) delicious plate of food at dinner...salads from the garden and fish, a gift from my brother, grilled to perfection over the coals by hubby

Day 13
(3 gifts found in your mother)
486) her patience with me as a teen
487) her soft, kind and words....soothing my thoughts and always encouraging me
488) her faithful and continual offering up of prayers for me and mine
& more my own
489) being mom to my precious three
490) spoiling of a delicious breakfast in bed by hubby: soufflé omelette and coffee...
 home-made cards and  flowers from the garden, 
chocolates from the boys, 
a beautiful, colourful tray cloth made for me by my daughter,

 and pretty charm bracelet she made too,
  voucher from my youngest for 5 million hugs, a car wash and massage- too sweet and thoughtful! 
Feeling so blessed by them today.

Day 14
(a gift picked up, put away, put back)
491) picked up... some lovely orders today
492) put away to savour again and again.... the beautiful letter my daughter wrote me for mother's day
493) put back...mmm can't think of that... so one my own instead - a bunch of recipe books passed on to us as a friend didn't want them any more!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Pretty Petunias

Over the years we have dabbled in a little nature study here and there but never really got into it as a regular feature in our days learning together. This year, it has been something we have wanted to enjoy on a more regular basis, and we are surprisingly almost half way through May with not much done in that department!

Yesterday, at the end of a long week with its own challenges, the beautiful autumn weather beckoned us outdoors to rectify that. We had a wonderful time, enjoying the sunshine and learning new things. We hope to make this a more regular feature in our days learning together, and I have been greatly inspired by the Outdoor Hour Challenges shared by Barb on her blog, "Handbook of Nature Study". 

We chose to study the bright petunias that add colour to the pots on the patio. 
Our primary source of information was the Handbook of Nature Study by Anna Botsford Comstock. We discovered the history of the petunia as we know it today, and that they are family of the potato, tomato, egg plant and tobacco plants. The shape of the flower and the scent given off at night attracts the hummingbird moth which has a perfectly suited long feeding tube.

We looked at the soft fuzzy leaves, adorned with fine hairs and  learned that the blooms only remain open for about two days before they droop and eventually fall off, leaving the seed capsule behind. Once dried out, the seed capsule will crack down the middle when disturbed and seeds will be spilled out. 

We found a dry bloom and managed to get to the seed capsule, discovering seeds as fine as dust. I remember a friend being surprised at some or other plant springing up in her pots, and on close inspection, discovering they were petunias. Now we know how they happened to just appear in the same place.

The children each did their own note-booking page, drawing their petunias and recording a little of what we had learned. I watched my youngest as he carefully studied the outline of his flower and slowly recorded what he saw in a beautiful pencil drawing. He does not consider himself a good artist but I think the finished drawing was just lovely!

K on the other hand, finds drawing easy and she quickly reproduced a colourful specimen for her notebook.

We also read from the book " Companion Planting " by Margaret Roberts, and the children learned my reason for having planted them alongside my cabbages and broccoli - they repel white fly, aphids and cutworms. 
Here we also read the story of an old English colonel who grew petunias in his garden as his own grandmother had told him the old wives tale of petunias calming badly behaved children. When asked if they had that effect on his noisy, active grandchildren, his reply was that he dared not be without them! Perhaps I too shall send the children outdoors to sniff petunias when next necessary!

We look forward to more nature study in the days to come.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Out and about

The past week has been a busy one for our youngest with a number of fun educational outings. I was thankful to a dear friend for taking him on two of the outings, giving me dedicated time to spend with  our eldest, who writes his first exam for this session tomorrow. 

The first was an outing to the Hout Bay Museum where the children learned more about the Khoi and San people. They were able to look at tools from the stone and iron age and enjoy a short movie. They learned of the Strandlopers who inhabited nearby caves at Llandudno.
 Fun was had exploring the caves, where they saw cooking areas, sleeping areas and a shell midden.
 One happy boy was delivered safely back home!

The second outing was "The 1902 Victorian Schoolroom" experience. Some preparation was necessary as this is totally different to his own experience of school. Big brother and sister did not do much to ease his fear of the strict Victorian teacher he was to encounter!
 Their memories of that outing years ago were still fresh in their minds.
However, we had some fun looking at websites and discovering what he would encounter, making a paper model of a Victorian school and colouring a British Flag. 

On the day, he was required to dress up and take a typical Victorian lunch in a paper bag: bread & cheese, a boiled egg, fruit and a glass bottle with ginger-beer.
No Tupperware lunch box allowed. It was all about role play and the total experience. 
The children encountered the strict teacher who required proper Victorian discipline, standing to address him with a "Yes Sir". They were seated in the classroom and went through their lessons, writing on slates and doing rote and object lessons.
At break time, they were treated to a Victorian sponge cake and played with toys of the day such as stilts, whirr whirrs and the yo-yo.
He was presented with a certificate of honour for good attendance. This was rather funny as he was supposed to be the "new boy" in the class, that being his first day!
He came home happy and having enjoyed the fun, even asking if he could go back again!

Today's outing was to the Department of Rural Development & Land Reform where we visited the National Geo-spacial Information centre, otherwise known as South Africa's national mapping organisation. K and I went along too and it was rather interesting but perhaps a little over their heads in some areas.

 (Note to self - time to do some map-work with them again!)

We were met with an enthusiastic teacher and his colleague who gave the children a presentation, showed them various maps and quizzed them at the end. 
We learned that NGI has an archive of aerial photography, dating back to the 1930s and photographic coverage of the entire country which is updated with their digital mapping camera.
One is able to purchase maps and access information easily. 
We were kindly given some maps to take home  and enjoy.
The museum houses a collection of maps and mapping & surveying equipment, dating back as far as 150 years ago. Much of this type of equipment is outdated due to advancements in technology. It was great to be able to see various equipment that we have read about or only seen pictures of....
far more interesting when one sees the real thing!

I am hoping that I can inspire the children to enjoy maps more than they do, gain a healthy respect for those early map makers and have some fun with map-work!

Monday, May 7, 2012

May Joy Dare Week 1

May's Moments of Thanks

Day 1
(3 gifts tasted)
427) coffee hubby served me with a dash of left over cream
428) soft serve chocolate ice cream savoured and shared with my daughter at the end of her long day at the teddy fair
429) left over dinner, thankful not to need to cook tonight

Day 2
(2 gifts flat)
430) large flat fish fillets, a gift from my brother's catch of the day
431) my panic at the messy house flattened... helpful kids and hubby who helped get it right again
& more my own
432) hearing my mum's calming, encouraging voice on the other end of line
433) enjoying a simple soup and freshly baked bread dinner with friends from about 40 years ago - wonderful people who have watched me grow up and have known me just about all my life- laughing and sharing memories of days long gone and rejoicing with them at the birth of their first grandchild
434) unexpected call from my farm sister....good to hear her voice
435) hubby and I sitting up late and connecting with our two teens....
sharing stories, tea and hot cross buns
436) meds starting to make me feel a little better

Day 3
(3 gifts my own)
437) knowing that my mum has my sister visiting while she is facing some medical tests...
but also wishing I could be there for her too
438) long chat with sister and mum and later farm sister too
439) popping in at my brother and his wife on my afternoon errands....
sharing cold drinks and conversation and laughing at my little nephew's antics
450)  finding that my sales for last month were not too shabby...every little bit helps
451) my neighbour who just feeds and cares for my youngest when he ventures over there....
sometimes I wonder if he lives here or there lol!

Day 4
(3 gifts before 9 a.m)
452) steaming cup of coffee warming me up on this chilly morning
453) a kind friend taking my youngest on a school outing...
giving me uninterrupted time to work with my high schoolers
454) easier, less congested breathing...
thankful for the treatment my neighbour gave me for my sinusitis last night

Day 5
(gifts my own)
455) friends dropping by for coffee unexpectedly
456) a day with few plans
457) the blessing of having my sweet nephew sleep over for the night....
watching him laugh and play with my big kids, bathing his cute chubby baby body,
 him wanting a snuggle before sleep time and going to sleep happily
458) knowing my eldest is looking out for his sister at the party tonight

Day 6
(3 gifts found in Christ)
459) thankful I am never alone
460) strength when I am weak
461)  peace that passes all understanding

Day 7
(3 gifts about your home)
462) warm and comfortable, thankful that we have a home
463) wonderful aromas wafting about the daughter baking up a storm in the kitchen today
464) thankful for our garden and eating dinner out there tonight on a perfect windless autumn evening