Although it came remarkably late, we experienced our first hard, killing frost the other night. Our annual flowers have mostly turned black, yet some remnants of summer remain. Broccoli blooms crown the still-green plants with meals of fresh broccoli still on the plants. Beautiful, hardy, red lettuce can still be picked and peas still bloom, but there is little chance they will mature.
Many thousands of native, perennial plants are now snuggled into cold-frames next to greenhouses. These will soon be insulated and covered to protect them from winter. Hopefully they will re-sprout next spring and bloom.
It is early fall, still warm but nights are hinting at what is to come. Summer crowds of people have surrendered the lake docks to migrating birds. There is gold in the apple trees and the ever-changing foliage. Grapes have turned and sweetened. Our pet Firethorn has been brought inside again, shivering from the cooling nights. The outdoor vacation for this plant has inspired it to bloom and set fruit. Hopefully we can harvest some seed from this unique ornamental plant from California. Meanwhile our sunrises and sunsets explode with their own color, brought on by the dusty harvest-time.
Gene R. Stark
A teacher, farmer, trapper, and greenhouse grower. He writes about the outdoors and the people and culture of rural America..