September Salutations

It looks as though I have totally missed a month of blogging. August just slipped through the cracks, and I can't retrieve it. So I'll just have to move forward with September, which is a better month, anyways. August brought us an earthquake (though I never felt it) and a hurricane wannabe, who left plenty of destruction in her wake just the same. An ancient apple tree on my property gave up, and about one-third of a persimmon was felled by high winds. I have never - in the 27 years I've lived here - been without power for more than around 24 hours. Hurricane Bob and Gloria, snow and ice storms, all were lightweights in the electrical realm compared to Irene. I was without power for 4 days, and some in the surrounding areas went 6 or more days. When you have a well, you realize how inconvenient not having power is. School openings were delayed, and so it went.

Before the weather event, on Aug. 12-14, there was the running of the judged herb show at Tower Hill Botanic Garden in Boylston. This year, I volunteered to chair the event. I also entered in several categories, and had a booth for my business. It was a great time, with lots of visitors. I also did a demonstration on "Infusing Your Life with Herbs", which was well attended - no doubt due to the fact that we had samples of many of the herbal liqueurs I've made. Below is a picture of my Fairy Garden - it won best of Show!
Fairy Garden
August this year held a new attraction for me. I joined the Garden Writer's Association, and ended up going to their annual conference in August. It was held in Indianapolis, and of course, I drove. That corridor is starting to be familiar to me - with all the conferences I have attended the last couple of years. I enjoy the changes in landscape as I head west, changing from hilly and curvy to straighter and flatter. Acres and acres of corn and soybeans, hay fields and grazing cattle, and plenty of farms and farm buildings. No stone walls there - truly a gardeners paradise!

The conference was inspiring, and a great opportunity to meet many garden writers, photographers, editors, plant people and more. All were very welcoming, and the lectures were outstanding in their breadth and depth.  There was practical advice on writing, lots of tours with excellent food, and lots of technological sessions that were especially helpful. I got a better chance to interface with some of my herb friends, too, since several of them are members of not only GWA, but HSA and IHA. The vendors, I was assured, would be very generous, and this was truly so. There were many plant give-aways - I particularly like the Pink Champagne blueberries - as well as tools and other goodies. The best part came when the trade show was over, and many of the vendors simply gave away their stock, rather than having to haul it back. Full size shrubs, trees, roses - all given out to those smart enough (or close enough) to have driven. It took three trips to my room to haul all the goods - but well worth it. Next year the conference is in Tuscon, Arizona, and I'm already figuring out the drive to make the best use of my time.

September finds me coming up for air a little. On the 9th, the New England Unit of The Herb Society of America is traveling to the Greenfield/So. Deerfield area to a program of local foods. We are having demonstrations by three small companies - Saw Mill Horseradish, Real Pickles, and Katalyst Kombucha - at The Franklin Community Development Center. Then we move to Stockbridge Herbs, where we have an herbal luncheon. Then it's off to Nasami Farms and Nourse Farms, where we will tour, shop and learn about their plants. We are joining with the CT Unit of HSA, and we also have representation from the Delaware Unit. It should be a great event, and a much shorter drive!

The days are getting noticeably shorter. The air is a much better temperature, and not as humid. I understand the frantic antics of squirrels and other critters at this season, with my own rush to complete chores that I never got around to this summer. Plants need to be re-housed in the greenhouse, some need to be planted in the ground, or potted back up. Weeding REALLY has to be finished. Tomatoes have really come into their own, and I need to make sauce and juice and jam. September will be for slaving, but I wouldn't have it any other way.

Enjoy September!
Karen