Baby tomatoes

Baby tomatoes

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Autumn in the country

Leaves are like spring flowers. Shades of red, yellow, orange dot the landscape, rustle and whip around in the breeze. Dust from the corn harvest fills the air. The sound of combines off in the field create the soundtrack. Deer poke their heads out from the cover of the woods. Autumn has arrived in the country.

"Knee high by the Fourth of July"is now dry and brown and
ready to harvest. Summer is officially over.
The fall season is so different at the Little Lake House than it was living in the city. No crowds pack the stores trying to get a jump on holiday shopping. The holidays still seem so far away right now. There is work to be done for country people. It's harvest time, and the fields are busy with activity. Late into the night farmers drive combines and grain trailers back and forth. The wild blows stray corn husks all over the highways. Farmers markets are closing for the year, apple orchards and pumpkin patches are overflowing with visitors from the city. Here at the lake people are busy readying their homes for the winter. Stacks of firewood line the sides of sheds and garages of the full time residents. The weekenders are packing up their fun in the sun toys, loading up boats and four wheelers and closing up houses til spring. Most days the air is heavy with the warming smell of burning leaves and fire pits.

photo by Todd Leech
It's time for us to clear out the gardens, dump out potted plants and clear the deck- anything that shouldn't freeze needs to be put away. It's bittersweet. This is my favorite time of year, and I definitely am looking forward to the first snow of the winter, but I will miss the garden and fresh herbs and stepping out the door to grab a couple of fresh tomatoes for dinner. Vegetables are now packed away in glass jars, lining the shelves of the kitchen cabinets. Jars of dehydrated herbs and peppers are crowded onto the bookcase shelves. Almost 40 pounds of peppers make a lot! Only a handful of cold-hardy plants remain out there-some kale, a couple of herbs. Lots of amazing winter meals will come out of those jars- chili, roasts, apple pies, toast with homemade jam and apple butter.

Long, leisurely drives in the country often reveal real gems
like this old farmstead, long abandoned and left to decay.
Another year has gone by and I didn't collect any walnuts for picking over the winter. I always say I am going to but.......the squirrels outnumber me. Leaves don't need to be raked here, so The Chef and I let nature do what it does with leaves. Mostly I enjoy watching them blow in the breeze and the way they smell during a cool fall rain. I love that they get stuck in the corners of the deck- I love their pop of color against the worn wood of our rustic weathered wood deck. It's also time for pumpkins and winter squash and all those amazing "fall foods" we love so much. Wonderful smells that fill the house, roast turkeys and beef stew and apple and pumpkin desserts. All those things remind me of holidays when I was younger, when my children were younger, time spent with relatives.

Autumn is definitely my favorite time of year, a time of giving thanks, reflection over the year that's coming to a close, and getting prepared for the year to come. It won't be long and the first flakes of snow will begin to fall.......

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