Sunday, November 1, 2015

   November arrives, along with some rain. Though at first glance it appears damp and dreary out my window, the vibrant red and yellow leaves of oak and beech catch the eyes, and from there, they focus on the bleached amber of the new mown field. Brilliant color still remains along the woodline, appearing brighter on account of the dark black and umber skeletons of wet trees.
    Most of the gardens have been cut back and weeded, seeds have been saved for spring planting, the harvest has been stored. Seed and trees have been ordered for spring planting. Firewood and kindling are in and under cover. Extra bedding awaits to bank up the barn critters against the inevitable below-freezing temperatures that lurk just around the corner. I've stocked up on suet, birdseed, peanuts and grain. Yet there is still much to be done before the finality of snowfall puts to rest this season's work.
    There is still cutting back to do, and mulching, and leaves need composting and spreading on the gardens. There are still apples needing to be picked, and cider to be made. I noticed the other morning that the chickens have scratched up two grapevines I had put in a month or so ago, so that needs tending to. I still need to make about a dozen-and-a -half wire cages to wrap around the trunks of some young apple trees. (Last winter, the mice and rabbits wreaked havoc on a half-dozen fruit trees and several lilac bushes) The garden paths need to be mulched, as well. .
    The call of migrating geese, the scolding chatter of squirrels, crows and bluejays venturing closer to the house (and the birdfeeders), the deer and wild turkeys lingering longer in the fields, the lacy frost on the lawn and rooftops, all are signs of the slowing -down of things, a signal of drawing homeward, for coming back inside after months of being out about the gardens. The shortning of daylight hours will see to that! For me, it is a bittersweet time, yet I anticipate the lull of winter and the beauty of impending snowfall. There are piles of books waiting to be read, and projects I've neglected indoors now needing my attention. I have a bunch of furniture refinishing I am longing to start, and my pine floors need re-oiling too. And I can finally make that raspberry jalapeno jam I've been meaning to get to. (it is far too hot and humid to make jam when the raspberries are ripening; I've learned to pick and immediately freeze them, and wait for a cold winter day to can)
   And so, we are reminded yet again of nature's way and time with the march of seasons moving ever forward. May this season bring you blessings, and may you find time to accomplish what you can, yet be able to savor and appreciate what is at hand as well~

If it is true that one of the greatest pleasures of gardening lies in looking forward, then the planning of next year's beds and borders must be one of the most agreeable occupations in the gardener's calendar.  This should make October and November particularly pleasant months, for then we may begin to clear our borders, to cut down those sodden and untidy stalks, to dig up and increase our plants, and to move them to other positions where they will show up to greater effect.  People who are not gardeners always say that the bare beds of winter are uninteresting; gardeners know better, and take even a certain pleasure in the neatness of the newly dug, bare, brown earth.
Vita Sackville-West 

A few days ago I walked along the edge of the lake and was treated to the crunch and rustle of leaves  with each step I made. The acoustics of this season are different and all sounds, no matter how hushed, are as crisp as autumn air.
 Eric Sloane

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