I hope I never lose my sense of wonder. If that makes me naive, then so be it.

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

winding down the garden

Fall has arrived, after our 2.46 days of what I'd consider summer weather. Summer was a bit of a non-starter this year.

This morning the sun rose high and lovely in a clear sky as I walked through the heavy dew to let the chickens out. After scattering some scratch that they completely ignored in the wake of two overripe tomatoes that I rolled across their run, I wandered over to take stock of the garden.

Two boxes of beans have been picked and cleared out, though much of the dirt that was in them needs to be replaced after being flung out by several delighted hens who seemed overjoyed to have access to the area. The tomato vines are still healthy but I saw the telltale signs of the teeniest bit of frost on them, delicate tracework on the hairs of the stems. It was really quite pretty in the sunlight. My second planting of beans has come along well so while I freeze the last harvest of my first plantings today, this second planting will give us some fresh, sweet, tender first-crop beans for our table.

The real frost didn't strike last night, but it's just a matter of time before I walk out to be greeted by a garden whose leaves go from robust to sadly sagging overnight. Granted, it does make for an easy garden cleanup, but I'll be getting as much of the harvest in as I can over the next few days.

One batch of Roma tomatoes have been frozen, something new I'm trying this year. Apparently I just had to wash them, cut off the stem scars, then freeze them on a cookie sheet before transferring them to freezer bags. Preserved without blanching and canning and all those time-consuming things. I'm hoping for many a lovely mid-winter sauce. My trip through the garden this morning showed that I have another batch to do today.

I got one eggplant (this thanks to the chickens getting into my new transplants in the spring and leaving very few plants to tell the tale). Perhaps I will make a very small ratatouille.

And of course the must-harvest overnight low temperatures have hit this week, when I'm trying to get some school done amidst the chaos that strikes our house every year mid-September: The Week Before the Richmond Fair. The girls have projects underway to enter for prizes (ribbons! cash! $4 to first place!) and they seem to be slowly engulfing our home. At least, they'll be gone by Thursday morning. Then Friday is our annual day off at the fair, spending the whole day there at the exhibits and the midway.

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