Nature in November

"I like spring, but it is too young. I like summer, but it is too proud. So I like best of all autumn, because its tone is mellower, its colors are richer, and it is tinged with a little sorrow, Its golden richness speaks not of the innocence of spring, nor the power of summer, but the mellowness and kindly wisdom of approaching age. It knows the limitations of life and its content."

Lin Yutang

Rosemary

I must admit that I have always liked the season of fall. Perhaps it is because of growing up in New England, where the colors are glorious, the air is fresh and crisp, and smell of wood smoke told of the cooling temperatures and shorter days. We are truly now in the midst of Indian Summer, having had an unusual snow fall at the end of October which resulted in many tree problems and ensuing power outages. We had actually not even gotten a frost until that snow, which is very rare. The ground is still warm, and now that the snow has gone (it really only lasted a couple of days) I am hard at work doing all of the fall clean-up that should be done by any gardener worth his or her salt.

Challenges abound for those with tree and shrub damage. The weight of extremely heavy snow on those plants that still had leaves on them caused plenty of broken limbs. One must now be sure to make clean cuts on those branches, cutting close to the tree collar, so that it heals cleanly and insects do not find their way into the living tree. Unless the entire top of a tree has snapped off, the tree most likely will survive. The mild weather makes it an ideal time to take care of these issues, as well as giving the tree some extra time to store energy before the deep freezes settle in. If you do not know how to prune properly, call an experienced arborist, or get a good book on tree pruning so you can see the correct way to make cuts.

I have seen an inordinate number of chipmunks this year. This is unusual for me, as there are several hungry barn cats that do not let us be overrun by these and other critters. I'm not sure what this foretells, either. There did not seem to be a lot of acorns this year, so I am wondering what type of winter we will experience. The chickens have been going through their molt, and so egg production is about nil. I may put a light in the coop for them, but I sometimes think that letting nature take her course is a better idea. Not having enough eggs for even just me is tough, though.

Many annuals I have planted this year have set seed and sprouted - like mustard, marigolds, tassel flower, and even broccoli. The mild autumn with no frost has really screwed up the plants timing - there is no way these poor little seedlings will make it - except maybe the broccoli. I may try covering it with hay to see if I can get a really early spring harvest. I had a banner year for butternut squash - it totally took over the garden beds and even the paths. The garlic and shallots have been planted, and I just harvested the Jerusalem artichokes and re-planted the small ones. The mints are still going strong, and I've made mint syrup with them. The rosemaries have been moved to the cool greenhouse, where they will lie in state until next spring. Some of them have already bloomed, and I've used the flowers in another batch of Queen of Hungary Water, which I use as a toner at bedtime. The hot peppers I grew this year were fairly prolific, and I've got a jar of peppers marinating in sherry, a jar of hot pepper sauce fermenting, and I am waiting for enough hot peppers to dry to make crushed hot peppers. The glories of the garden to enjoy in the dead of winter.

Hope you enjoy your Thanksgiving, and the bounty of the garden,

Karen