It’s that time of year when summer is winding down that I love and hate. While I really hate seeing the end of warm weather and the start of cold, fall really is a great time of the year.
There’s lots of clues that the good times are coming to an end with the layer of acorns at the back door.
I’m one of those people that take my shoes and socks off in May. I don’t put them back on unless there’s a wedding or funeral requiring formal foot wear (i.e., something other then flip flops or sandals). I know when the party’s over once the acorns start accumulating. The squirrels, deer, wood ducks and turkeys do a great job cleaning up the nuts. The shells, not so much and they’re hard on bare feet.
The part of Fall I really enjoy is the garden produce. My wife has already canned tomatoes. I canned some salsa and spaghetti sauce. The refrigerator is full of home made pickles. The freezer is full of frozen corn, peppers and soon we’ll freeze some squash.
Friends of ours have a huge garden and raise several acres of sweet corn, an equal amount of squash, pumpkins, cantaloupe and all sorts of other vegetables. We’re lucky enough to be on the ‘call’ list to come down and help ourselves when things are ready. Fran also has a huge vineyard and had planned on making wine one day but…. He just loves growing all of the stuff and I think it’s the joy of sharing it with others that keeps him doing it. His grand kids also set up a stand by the road in the fall and sell squash and pumpkins.
A few weeks ago we found some wild grapes and made grape jelly. The real treat came yesterday when we finished up a round of golf by picking crab apples on the course. I’m real familiar with the best apples on the course as the trees are all located in the ‘rough’. And I spend a fair amount of time there. Evidently this was a banner year for crab apples as the trees are all loaded.
All of this canning and freezing drives my wife nuts as I’m usually the one pushing to put this stuff up for winter and she tends to be the one that does most of the work. I’ve had my eye on some wild plums just down the road but I’m thinking I’d best leave well enough alone. Truth be known, I’ve never heard her complain when we’re eating this stuff in January.
I love this time of year but I dread what’s coming. Fall is the season I remember growing up with fond memories. We didn’t have a surplus of cash and my mother canned everything under the sun. Mom canned chicken, beef, all kinds of vegetables, peaches, pears, you name it. I still love the smell of pickling spices and it’s always a good feeling when this time of year rolls around.
October will be the time to sample my first effort at making spaghetti sauce. November will bring out some frozen squash to round out our Thanksgiving dinner. One cold December day, a jar of home made salsa will bring back memories of warmer weather. Crab Apple jelly on my toast in January will be a welcome reminder of golf and sunshine. In February some frozen peppers will spice up my scrambled eggs before I crank up the snow blower. That late March blizzard will bring out the last jars of canned tomatoes for a pot of chili or vegetable beef soup. Come April, I’ll be laying out plans for next summers garden.
And the cycle starts over. Love it, dread it, can’t wait to start another cycle!