It’s that time of year again, when I begin to put the bulk of the garden to rest and reflect on what worked/what didn’t/what I would do again, etc. It’s also the time where I start to reflect on my own life (gardening is such a metaphor for life as to almost be a cliche)…what worked for it this year, etc. Autumn is a trigger for memory and reflection, with feast days such as Dia de los Muertos and All Souls which, if you let it, can be a source of joy as well. Prepping for Winter is a comforting ritual, putting away the hoses and umbrellas reminds me to be grateful I have a warm space in which to enjoy the coming snows. There will be Life under that snow, awaiting Spring and Lordha’mercy ain’t I waxing profound here! LOL! It’s just a few leaves crunching underfoot, for Floyd’s sake. Pull yourself together, Musette! Let me go get a cinnamon roll and a cup of coffee and try to lighten this post up before we all want to open a vein with our teeth!
Gardeners, if they want to stay sane, quickly accept that Nature doesn’t give a damn about them, any more than Death does. You can nurture the hell out of that peach tree, watch it blossom, watch it fruit…and then watch it wither and die for no apparent reason. The only thing left to do is wail for a minute, then rip it out, dig up the dirt and plant a bunch of something hardy there – and try another peach tree in another place. That’s why Floyd made Stark Bros. New peach trees coming in the Spring.
Bees? Leave the top ajar on your hive (not me. Somebody Else) and that queen will get out and take the whole hive with her. Lesson learned. Anybody Else touches my hives, I will beat them senseless.
Btw – you wanna feel stupid? Watch your entire hive leave. What are you gonna do, holler ‘get back here!!!!’??. I did. And I felt stupid. And then, later in the season, those little freaks CAME BACK! They ran my hummingbirds off their feeders, got tangled in my hair, got in the house (via my hair)and kept the mail lady off the front porch for two days, while I tried to relocate them back to the hive. It wasn’t a swarm so that didn’t work out at all – they just got more tangled in my hair! Stupid bees (grumblemuttergripe) .
What stinks: My house. On purpose. I am rotting tomatoes for the seeds (Zebras and these little pretty red ones that are pumpkin-shaped) and Scorpion peppers. And a lemon zucchini (no, a lemon CUCUMBER) because I am perverse – I don’t eat cucumbers as a rule. But the smell of rotting fruit is pervasive – and not that schweetish “oh, that peach is bay-ad” smell – tomatoes STINK!
What doesn’t stink: puppy breath! What on earth is it about a 12-week old puppy’s breath? One whiff and everybody is in that blasted dog’s face, trying to suck up all that youth, like Frank Barone, sniffing his twin grandson’s heads! 3 rational adults, all reduced to babbling, puppy-kissing/schnuffling morons.
What Stinks But in a Good Way: Brussels sprouts, as you snap them off the stalk. Tiny little balls of bitter perfection, made even more perfect by a kiss of night frost. The smell of broccoli roots. Wood smoke. Where I live you can burn wood and leaves. So folks do. Such an Autumn smell. Makes me want to bake
CINNAMON ROLLS! I confess, I never think about cinnamon rolls until October. The leaves start to turn, it’s dark at 6p…I’m in the kitchen yeasting up some dough like there’s no tomorrow. Perhaps that’s cinnamon’s purpose in life, to stave off the Cold Night Terrors! Come the chilly, foggy morning, the dough will be ready and the kitchen will be redolent with the smell of yeasted, cinnamon-y bread…and …
Apples. My friend Mary’s apple trees are laden – I give her peppers, she gives me apples. This week my kitchen will be resplendent with the smell of slow-cooking apple butter, apple-nut muffins and pan-roasted chicken with apples in a Calvados cream sauce. Roast pork with turnips and apples in a sage/brown butter sauce. Chop up an apple and put it in a bean stew or spicy chili to amp the flavor.
…and …Lavender. I’m not a fan of lavender-based perfumes but love the smell of lavender in other things (including Herbs de Provence, which I make myself from my own herbs because I just don’t have enough to do, dammit!) – I like to wait until the Last Possible Minute before harvesting my lavender because that way the frost hardens the stems and forces the oils further into the leaves and flowers.
And if you believe that I have a field in Provence I’d like to sell you. In reality, I wait until the Last Possible Minute because I’m a Lazy Beast and overwhelmed with Other Garden Things, like kissing puppies! But harvested it finally is (I’m so embarrassed – it’s so weeeeedy!) and it’ll do battle against the rotting tomatoes, as it’s hung up to dry. Later I’ll stuff it into little embroidered pillows…and if you believe THAT.….
what are YOU doing to prep for Autumn? If you live in some tropical clime, where the shade is palm and the mangoes ripe, SHUT UP! I’m green enough already!