Sunday, October 10, 2010

thou watchest the last oozings, hours by hours

i’ll admit’s starting to look and feel like fall here. while i maintain that it isn’t actual autumn until a frost happens (in the same subjective way saturday doesn’t turn to sunday until i’ve gone to sleep), the weather does seem to be more in line with the calendar date than it was a week ago. it’s ok because we’ve passed october 7, the first average frost date, and still no frost--every frost-free night from here on is bonus. budget surplus. and the forecast is predicting at least one more freezeless week.

this time of year almost all the food at my favorite produce stand is locally-grown. it’s full of dozens of varieties of squash and gourds and surrounded by a sea of pumpkins. this week i nearly squeaked in excitement (i really do squeak when i’m excited) when i found my favorite apples, honeycrisp, and beautiful, super-sweet o’henry peaches.

i’ve been picking lots of blackberries, freezing or drying most of them. my arms look gruesome scratched like i’ve been fighting feral cats and i doubt they’ll get a chance to heal for a while. there’s an enormous berry patch i haven’t hit yet that i might need to check out/donate blood to sometime this week.

my first raspberry ripened on friday! and i noticed even more canes flowering and fruiting. i don’t understand why it’s happening but i like it. i haven’t eaten raspberries right off the vine since i was a teenager on summer trips to maryland where they grow wild all over the place. they must grow wild here too but i haven’t come across any yet.

friday evening i went over to jason’s for a fall cookout. we thrifted this old cast iron mini-grill on thursday and couldn’t wait to try it out:

that afternoon andy and i took a walk along the river and collected sticks for kindling and blackberries for dessert, then picked herbs from the garden. jason bought fresh veggies from the co-op and prepared two really yummy sauces.

we threw herbs on the fire.

just after sunset i read a couple fall poems, “october’s bright blue weather” by helen hunt jackson and keats’ wonderful “ode to autumn”:

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eaves run;
To bend with apples the moss'd cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease;
For Summer has o'erbrimm'd their clammy cells.

Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reap'd furrow sound asleep,
Drowsed with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
Spares the next swath and all its twinèd flowers:
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
Steady thy laden head across a brook;
Or by a cyder-press, with patient look,
Thou watchest the last oozings, hours by hours.

Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,—
While barrèd clouds bloom the soft-dying day
And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
Among the river-sallows, borne aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
The redbreast whistles from a garden-croft;
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.

i broke out my crochet mukluks for the first time this season. it felt seriously chilly that night.

we feasted on peppers, squash, eggplant and portobello mushroom with a side of seasoned basmati rice. for dessert we ate blackberries and a delicious pear that we found growing near where he lives, only one left on the tree, possibly the best pear i’ve ever eaten.

my fall garden is growing slowly but surely. i’m trying four new varieties of radish and three new varieties of lettuce, along with kohlrabi, collards, kale, chard, parsley, winged peas, miscellaneous herbs and a few new types of greens. meanwhile, the summer garden is still chugging along.

monday i picked zucchini, rattlesnake peas and the last of the bush beans, which i cut down afterwards. they were still blooming and growing but just barely.

i baked a loaf of zucchini quick bread.

it looks wrong with the golden zucchini rather than green, and i stupidly forgot to add raisins, but it does taste moist and delicious.

tuesday i picked 4lbs of tomatoes, including my first three big rainbows.

this is the prettiest tomato variety i’ve grown, and by far the best-tasting large tomato. they were supposed to get much larger but the plant was kind of a runt. in fact all my big rainbow seedlings were runts, most of them died before i could plant them. bad seeds maybe.

wednesday i picked 5.75lbs of tomatoes...

and made a large batch of sauce. i froze it instead of canning because i was too sleepy.

another 5.5lbs on friday...

and 10.5lbs this afternoon, for a total of over 25lbs this week. this is what i was dreaming of all summer.

one of the tomato plants i thought was a dixie golden giant is actually aunt ruby’s german green. i was wondering why they wouldn’t ripen fully. a good chunk of today’s haul consisted of these tasty, ripe green tomatoes.

today i picked my first (and probably last) two eggplants, a green bell pepper and some pole peas.

doesn’t the bottom of this pepper look like the face of stinkie the ghost from casper?

it seems like a lot of garden bloggers haven’t been posting much lately, which probably either means their gardens are done for the season or they’re so overwhelmed with veggies they don’t have time to talk about it. hopefully the latter. what’s everyone else been harvesting lately?


Holly said...

Oh man, this was a great post. I'm in a better mood than I was before I read's all the bright colors of healthy food!

camillap said...

Thank you Emily. I'm actually looking forward to autumn now. And I am so jealous of your tomato harvest. x

Andrea said...

I'm just sitting here, smiling, and wishing I had a garden.

Shari said...

I yanked the last of my garden out yesterday. I had a large quantity of green tomatoes (I'm looking into green tomato jam) and disappointing onions (WAY to small). Oh well, it was the first year for my small garden at my new house. It will get better.
I also potted my thyme and rosemary and brought it in.
It is getting cold here in Michigan. The season is over, the leaves are falling, it is kinda sad.
I love this post though -- especially the grill! Oh, and the amazing vegan food you cooked up on it. Yum!

Emily said...

holly--wonderful! i'm glad my crops could brighten your day, hehe.

camilla--i'm ready for autumn now too. i'd share some tomatoes with you if i could but they'd be pretty sad after a trip across the pond...

andrea--i wish you had a garden too! at least you got to have one for a little while this summer.

shari--green tomato jam sounds cool. you might want to look up "the green tomato cookbook" by paula simmons, it has loads of ideas for what to do with unripe maters.

Katherine said...

I have been lugging the smaller pots onto the covered back porch at night and putting sheets over the big pots of tomatoes - they look so strong and healthy and have some nice-sized Robesons left. The small yellow pear you left grew like mad and has been my most prolific little friend.

Have you tried making any tinctures or essential oils? I have some small glass stopper bottles, the kind you get essential oil in, if you can use them.

Also, I think I'm ready to come out again. I had a bad spell; I miss you so much.

Emily said...

katherine--i miss you too. i just sent you an email.