Tuesday, August 27, 2019

End of Summer Thoughts

Somewhere around the middle of August, our nights here in northern Minnesota start to be noticeably cooler.  In the late afternoon/early evening when we go outside to put away tools, protect on-going, unfinished projects and cover equipment we've been working on or used during the day, it usually causes one of us to comment that there's an autumnal feeling to the air.

Scarlet Runner Beans completely
covering garden trellis.

This can also fuel a feeling of mild panic as we realize our season of being able to work outside comfortably is, once again, coming to an end more quickly than we wish.

Forono beets ready to escape.

But it's not all bad.  All of a sudden I find myself thinking of and yearning for the comfort foods of the cold, crisp days of autumn and winter.

L.A., these are from the Winter Luxury Pie Pumpkin
seeds you sent me.  They are huge!

Oven meals, thick soups, casseroles, potatoes and gravy, baked squash, apple pie.  In less than two months, darkness will be falling at 5 p.m.  forcing us to wind down for the evening earlier than in the height of summer when dusk doesn't come until 9:30 or 10 p.m.  (Yes, we do work hard during our short summer season, but it keeps our muscles from atrophying and melts off the previous winter's hibernation blubber.)

Good, old marigolds.  Can hardly
beat them for blossoms and color.

Our fall rains have now started along with super-heavy dew (even after bright, sunshiny days) overnight that require rubber boots for any outside venture for the first couple hours of each day.

 This grain covering the field garden
 is standing nearly three feet tall.

The grain seeds we planted in our field garden as a green manure crop to be plowed under (soon now, very soon) have grown lush, high and healthy.  Not having this space to plant in this year has meant less garden work through the season and also less to harvest.

 Red cabbage perfection.

We're going to be having to secure potatoes and carrots from somewhere off ye ol' homestead for the first time in I-don't-know-long.  Among other things, no room this year for Brussels sprouts either, but even though we both like them, we'll just do without for this one year.

These aster's long stems
have given me bountiful bouquets
this summer.

Purposefully cutting back on the garden this year has given me personally more time to pursue my individual interests, and I know I've benefited from that time.  Still, I feel that I've somehow fallen short in my responsibility of providing as much food from this growing season as I normally do.  But it's not the end of the world that I did so, if I acknowledge there have been gains.

 Oh, all the nutrition those dark, leafy 
Swiss chard leaves give us.

Next year the field garden and two other small areas in which we've been building up the soil will be in production.

Plus, the crew of six I'm lining up for next season to help around here (I wish) will alleviate my work load so I'll still have time to pursue my creative outlets.  


SmartAlex said...

For the first time in many years I am actually looking forward to cooler weather. My husband, after working outside every day in the heat, says he's looking forward to snow plowing. I won't say I'm TIRED of gardening this year. But I think my appetite has been fully satiated. It is presently 66 degrees out. This evening I'm making a big batch of meatballs for the freezer. Fall cooking has begun.

Nancy In Boise said...

Wow, looks amazing! Do your runner beans grow in hotter climates? I might try those! Great job!!!

Debby said...

Autumn is my favorite season so I am jumping for joy, that we're almost into Sept. We're still HOT here in northern California. 110 today.

You have a lovely garden.

Rain said...

Our nights are getting cool too, but thankfully the days are still hot enough to sit out in the sun in my bathing suit and read! Oh your pumpkin! I have one itsy bitsy little sugar pumpkin (green) and one carving pumpkin that kind of looks like a squash. No flowers bloomed this year that I started from seed except the "pollinator mix" which I'm thankful for! I'm not ready for fall yet!

Anonymous said...

Greetings! Love, love, love your blog! Did you start those asters from seed? What is their name and where did you get the seed? I’m commenting as anonymous because I’m too old to know how to do it differently!, Barbara

Fiona said...

What absolutely wonderful veggies. Your cabbage is perfect. I love seeing garden results that are tasty reminders of summer!

Sam I Am...... said...

What a beautiful garden! Your produce from it is gorgeous too!

Mama Pea said...

SmartAlex - There's something special about it being cool enough to indulge one's self in "fall cooking!" I know I look forward to it each year.

I'm ambivalent about the garden coming to an end this year, too. It's been different for me and a struggle given our very cool spring and early summer. And not growing all the usual stuff!

Nancy - I'm not an expert on Scarlet Runner Beans (!) but all beans like hot weather, I think. Don't they? I'd give them a try in your area for sure.

Debby - You're still having temps in the 100s?? Oh, I could not take that. You're made of sturdier stuff than I am. Autumn is my very favorite season, too. I just wish it lasted longer. :o]

Rain - There's got to be one in every crowd . . . someone who thrives in hot weather!! No wonder you like to garden so much. ;o)

Anonymous Barbara - Hello! No, sorry to say I didn't start the asters from seed. Wish I had as I'd love to be sure to plant them again. I bought flats from a local nursery and had never seen them offered before there, but I'm thinking I'll try to find a "tall" aster in one of my seed catalogs so I can start them next year and be assured of having them. If I remember correctly, the tag with them just said "Aster Mix." Thanks for the kind words and for commenting.

Fiona - Some of my other cabbages certainly don't look so perfect but I have about three of them this year that look so perfectly round and smooth that I have to touch them every time I go by them!

Sam I Am - Thank you, ma'am!

Dianna said...

I am loving the coolness in the air here too. Your garden is bountiful and beautiful.

wisps of words said...

Gorgeous pictures of your Bounty!

Coooool mornings/nights here tooo! All of a sudden. But! Next week, when the kids go back to school, it usually heats up again. :-) It seems to be this pattern.

Your list of cooler weather food, is a wonderful antidote to the end-of-summer-blues. Who can't look forward to those, oven baked items! And crock pots items too. Which go with cool/cold weather.


Mama Pea said...

Diana - Thank you! I know there are folks who flourish in hot weather but I've always felt energized when the coolness of autumn arrives.

We've been blessed with good garden crops this year considering the rocky start to the season. (Just came in from picking more blueberries from our bushes!) And we're mighty thankful for all we've harvested and tucked away for winter.

wisps of words - Isn't that the way it goes? As soon as school starts, we get a hot spell. I even remember that happening when I was in school (a gazillion years ago).

Another autumnal food to look forward to . . . home baked bread. Finally the weather will permit turning on the oven for that!!

Lynne said...

What wonderful looking vegetables. You've out done yourself! I'm glad you had a little extra time to yourself this summer. Don't ever feel you haven't produce enough from you garden. It's going to great for you this winter, when you can go to the freezer or the garage to get what you need. Your such a trooper!! The feel of fall was in the air last Sunday ,sort of chilly. xo

Mama Pea said...

Anonymous Barbara - I just found the identification marker that was in with the asters I bought. It says: Aster "Powderpuff Bouquet Mix." I'm going to look in my seed catalogs now to see if they are a popular variety that I can order seeds for.

Lynne - Thanks, Lynne. Ha, at this moment I feel I've produced TOO MUCH in my garden this year as everywhere I look there are vegetables that need to be harvested and processed. I'm kinda pooped tonight but I really should make either Stuffed Green Peppers or more kimchi with the fresh veggies. (This, too, shall pass!)