Sunday, October 14, 2012

Autumn - The Changing of the Guard

Now that we’re in the crossover season, I’ve been spending a lot of time cleaning up the garden - putting it to bed for the winter.  It seems to take you by surprise, this time of year, because just when you think things are winding down, there’s still so much left in the vegetable garden to pick and process.  If fact it can be the busiest time of the gardening season.  It took the tomatoes so long to ripen - we didn’t really have a good crop until September - and now we’ve got to quickly salvage what’s still on the vines (and there’s plenty) before the first frost.  Last week instead of canning them, I decided to blanch, peel, chop and then put them in quart freezer bags for the freezer.  This way I can do what I want with them later when I have so much more time (during those dreary nothing to do Winter months).

I took a drive out into the country and realized that October has become a boon for pumpkin and squash farmers.  Kind of like what u-cut Christmas trees are to Christmas tree farmers. Out at Heiser Farms on Grand Island,  it’s almost an amusement park with hayrides, a corn maze, a hay maze, little railroad station, fantastic pumpkin slide, pick your own pumpkins, and my favorite – pumpkin smashing.  Yes pumpkins smashing - the most mindless activity that is so astonishingly laughable (joyously funny!).  

This is the way it works – the pumpkins are shot out of cannons only to swoosh through the air (like cannon balls) and splat hundreds of yards away in the field.  And then you laugh and they do it again!  Heiser’s is open every weekend through October so you better get out there, pick you pumpkin, and watch the pumpkins splat.

Lastly, I can’t write about Autumn (Fall) without mentioning the stunning (dare I say kick-a--?) beauty of the trees and fall flowers.  You know the drill - patches of crimson, butterscotch,  creamy yellow, and burgundy leaves bursting forth in the last show of glory before the inevitable.  It’s the same routine every year, yet it never fails to thrill and inspire.

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