Thursday, October 2, 2008

Welcome, October

The morns are meeker than they were,
The nuts are getting brown;
The berry's cheek is plumper,
The rose is out of town.

The maple wears a gayer scarf,
The field a scarlet gown.
Lest I should be old fashioned,
I'll put a trinket on.

~Emily Dickinson

In honor of autumn and October, a pumpkin sits on a lofty perch in yesterday's morning sun. The sky was mostly clear and sunny early on, but clouds soon began to gather. By evening, it was mostly cloudy, the wind had picked up, and the heavier air seemed to announce that rain was coming. I checked the weather forecast and, sure enough, it's supposed to rain today and tomorrow. And guess what was in the forecast for Saturday? Snow! Or I should say, a mix of rain and snow? But now I see that the forecast has changed to rain sans snow. Early October is most definitely too early for us to see flakes falling, though we have, in the past, had a 10-inch overnight snowfall before mid-October.

This was week 16 of our CSA produce pickup. Here it is October, and we're still getting lots of tomatoes! I put some of the less ripe ones in the kitchen window. Notice the little red ones with the (literally) black coloring on them? These little tomatoes would be all black, but wherever the sun shines on them, they turn red. This is a variety of tomato that has been created by a researcher and is not yet available to the public. I haven't tasted one yet, but I'm eager to try it.

As I spent the evening putting deck furniture into the barn and hauling wheelbarrow loads of wood to the deck to build up the stack by the back door (our wood stove will be busy in the next few days), I noticed that among my brown, long-gone, frost-killed flowers are a few stray, hardy blooms. There's a tall plant that still has colorful pink flowers, but the edges of the blooms are blackened now. The purple pinchushion plant seems to thrive in frosty weather and continues to put out a lot of flowers. And there are a handful of blanket flowers managing to bloom and survive in spite of the cold.

So, I picked just a few of the flowers to put in a tiny vase for the kitchen. This little vase is a piece of handmade pottery I picked up at Goodwill for 50 cents. I thought it was sweet. Actually, come to think of it, everything in the photo is from Goodwill-- the three bowls and the Johnson Brothers plate hanging on the wall came from there, too.

I'm digging in and enjoying fall tasks. Going out into the cool, breezy air for wood. Wearing a light jacket or sweater for my walks. Putting yard and deck summer things into the barn, away from the coming harsh weather. The yard is already covered with a plush carpet of long Ponderosa pine needles that have fallen from the trees. Soon, I'll have them raked into large piles, only to have another carpet of needles laid come the next hard wind. The cones will drop from the trees soon, too, and I'll be picking them up and tossing them into the wheelbarrow by the 100's. I'll hang laundry outdoors on the line for as long as I can. And I need to do fall garden cleanup soon.

Coming back inside after working in the cool breeze seems to require a warm drink of something. Lately, for me, that's been tea. Spicy Russian Tea has been a traditional autumn drink in our home, but I have it only rarely now. (Anyone have a healthy substitute that approximates this?)

Then there are the inside chores and homey celebrations of the season, but I'll get to that in another post. Are you busy getting ready for winter, too? Dawn at
By Sun and Candlight has put up a wonderful autumn to-do list-- her Autumn Housekeeping Notes. For inspiration and some good ideas, have a look!

And definitely enjoy these fall days. The days and seasons and years pass so very quickly.