Out and About in October

  

    My tent stands in a garden

Of Aster and golden-rod,

   Tilled by the rain and sunshine,

And sown by the hand of God,-

   An old New England pasture

Abandoned to peace and time,

   And by the magic of beauty

Reclaimed to the sublime. . .

   The odorous wild grape clambers

Over the tumbling wall,

   And through the autumnal quiet

The chestnuts open and fall.

   Sharing time's freshness and fragrance,

Part of the earth's great soul,

   Here man's spirit may ripen

To wisdom serene and whole.

from An Autumn Garden by Bliss Carmen

I love the sights and smells of autumn. The wild grape's luscious scent, the vivid reds, oranges and yellows of leaves, the billowing tufts of milkweed pods exploding their seeds with each passing breeze. The garden is slowing down, and chores are ever-present as I seek to keep up with those tasks necessary to putting everything to rights before the winter. I've weeded the cracks in the brick walk five times this year - i think it is finally done for the year. The grapes, persimmons, paw paws and the rest of the tomatoes need to be harvested and put up. I've got a batch of lemon verbena liqueur steeping, and on the stove is a simmering vat of herbal ketchup.The freezer is bursting with frozen packages of beans, broccoli, summer squash. The shelves in my basement are stocked with sauerkraut, oodles of pickles, relishes, chutneys, juices and lots of sauces. All these will be enjoyed throughout the winter, in soups, stews and other concoctions. The barn and garage are filled with wood pellets to see both me and the greenhouse through the season (hopefully!). The weather has been very mild - only two little frosts that did no damage. I know that a killing frost is just around the corner, so I am frantically trying to make the most of each day. Lots of photo opportunities, especially the turning leaves.

The first weekend in October found me at the Mid-Atlantic Gathering of the Herb Society of America. The theme was the Green Man - how could I not attend? What a wonderful trip - lots of good food, information and fellowship. I saw lots of old friends and made some new ones. I also spend time on the road through Virginia, and am eyeing properties there now. A little milder climate, and in the hills of the western part of Virginia it reminds me of Massachusetts, without the large real estate taxes. I hope to return, perhaps in the winter, and check out some places. It's time to re-think my life and begin a new adventure.

One of my hens decided to hatch some eggs, and I now have 12 baby chicks, going into the winter. I segregated them in one of the empty greenhouses, since the babies would probably not fare well with all the adults. So I am waiting until they are a little bigger to introduce them to the rest of the flock. And I know who the daddy is - my Polish rooster with the attitude, since they all have a little crest. He is the only nasty fowl I have. It seems that the others pick on him, and he has no tail feathers. I guess he picks on me because the others pick on him. I have learned not to enter the pen without a stick, as he will charge me when my back is turned. He hit me once, right after my knee surgery, and I ended up with a big bruise on the operated leg! Never underestimate the power of a creature with an agenda - no matter the size.

Enjoy the last fine days of fall,

Karen