A few days ago I took down my vegetable garden. Planted with such enthusiasm and hope in late May, my October crop was bleak — two rock hard green tomatoes, four ripe butternut squashes (including one bearing teeth marks from a hungry rodent; that squash got tossed in the woods), still more cucumbers (but I’ve run out of jars for pickling), and a couple of skinny peppers. The garden is all dirt now.
The green tomatoes sit on the window ledge above my sink, the sunniest spot in the kitchen. Maybe I’ll get one last heirloom to blush. The cukes and peppers plump our dinner salads, and the butternut squashes continue to ripen and so I’m leafing through cookbooks, hoping to discover a tangier soup recipe than the blah one I found on-line. Friend Sandy B. emailed me a tried-and-true concoction that features red curry paste, coconut milk and cilantro. Hoping it’s a winner.
Later in the week, I took down the outdoor shower. That basically involves unclipping and washing the curtain and liner, then storing them on the “Summer Stuff” shelf in the basement. I just hope the tax man doesn’t read this blog because our outdoor shower apparently borders on illegal. Something about a free standing structure with plumbing, yadda yadda. Anyway, nothing delights me more on a sweaty summer day than stripping down and taking a shower where only a groundhog or chipmunk might get a gander.
We still need to put away the furniture on the back deck and screen porch, but that requires setting an appointment with The Hired Man and having him tote the wicker couches and chairs downstairs. I do notice that the white lampshades on the porch lamps are mildewy, and spend a few minutes debating whether to deep-six them now or wait until next summer. I decide to wait.
Colder weather is definitely forecast. I’m bothered by the light-weight blue and white seersucker bedspread in the guest room. It’s not exactly inviting for a winter’s nap. Gotta drive up to Beans or Cuddledown. The parsley and thyme in the standing herb garden are two-feet high. Gotta clip and boil them to make herb broth for soup.
When the asters bloom, I know it’s time to put away my summer clothes. Up to the second floor guest room closet go hot pink shirts, lime green flowered shorts, white slacks and Bermudas. Down come black, brown, grey and navy sweaters, pants, vests and jackets.
I sort of remember that, by the end of last winter, my black puffy down coat was a little tight. When I try it on, it’s immediately apparent the coat hasn’t gotten looser over the summer. Damn.
Still, I’m looking forward to fondue by the fire (gotta get Mr. W. to stack more wood on the rack). I’m hoping the Red Sox enjoy October magic. And once I find the right recipe, that butternut squash soup is going to hit the spot.
“It was a cord of maple, cut and split
and piled — and measured, four by four by eight.
And not another like it could I see.”
“The Wood Pile” by Robert Frost
“The end of the summer is not the end of the world. Here’s
to October…” A.A. Milne