Posts tagged harvest

Delicious Autumn – Part 1

“Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.”
George Eliot

It turns out that George and I think a lot alike (probably because “George” was actually “Mary Anne” and therefore female). The fall chill has finally set in after a beautiful Indian summer and I say “bring it on!” It was sunny yet blustery this morning as I dropped our son off at school and turned to walk back home, and each person I met offered some comment about the weather: “cold today!” or “winter’s coming…” Folks, we have a cast iron woodstove sitting in our living room, so I don’t have a problem with fall, or winter, for that matter. Still, embracing the cold weather is one sure way to get strange looks from fellow Canadians.

The obvious and first autumn wonder is, of course, the leaves. When does one ever see a flower garden on a larger scale than in the fall? By the way, while I understand that the leaves change their colour for a biological reason (they produce an “antifreeze” to protect the tree throughout the coming winter), I fail to see how anyone with any level of sophistication can deny that there had to be a creative Genius behind it all. (I’m sure were Monét alive he would take great offense to the suggestion that his work was the result of an accidental explosion inside his paint supply cupboard. Kaboom! There! A Masterpiece!) But I digress. Hiking through colourful forests and pausing on hilltops to admire the vast and perfectly-executed landscape design is one of life’s simple yet awe-inspiring delights.

Fall also means harvesting the last of the vegetable garden’s produce and putting the garden to bed. Our compost garden (link here) (the one we didn’t plant but that just came up on its own out of the compost heap) yielded 4 small melons, 14 full-sized acorn squash, 3 pumpkins, several pounds of tomatoes and 2 lamb’s ears (perennials!). So as it turns out, you really don’t need to know a thing about vegetable gardening to bring in a harvest. As long as you can toss kitchen scraps onto a pile and work that pile properly (composting does require some know-how) you stand to harvest as much as the next door neighbour does who starts with transplants!

Perhaps the best part about fall, though are the leaf piles. Not only are we the fortunate stewards of 3 mature Maple trees on our property, we are also located down-wind from every other Maple tree on our street. (In our first year living here we put approximately 60 bags of leaves to the curb. Now we keep many of those leaves and use them for mulch and the compost pile. Though Maple leaves provide little in the way of nutrients, they improve soil structure which is equally important.) Our kids welcome fall with squeals of delight because of the enormous leaf piles we build. Raking leaves and then jumping in the pile beats the Wii for several reasons: kids learn to do useful work with their little purple plastic rakes, they entertain the neighbours who like to sit on their front porch to watch “that crazy family across the street,” their immune system is strengthened as it is forced to deal with a barrage of air-born foreign particles, they get lots of exercise for a long time, it’s totally free entertainment, and it’s super-fun. At our house they even help bag the leaves when they’re done! It’s a win-win situation for the whole family.

How can anyone not love this season?!?

 “I cannot endure to waste anything as precious as autumn sunshine by staying in the house. So I spend almost all the daylight hours in the open air.”
Nathaniel Hawthorne

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