Falling into Autumn

The hillsides around here are still mostly green albeit mottled with brown; so far, the brilliant reds and yellows have not made their appearance. The days have been beautiful: clear blue skies, lots of sunshine and very light winds. The nights have been a different matter This morning the thermometer read 24F (-4C) so no doubt it won’t be long before we really know another winter is on the way. One advantage of the last two harsh winters has been the lack of flies and other insects – excluding ants.

Last week we had a run of very cold nights, culminating in a frost last Saturday which caught me and my peppers by surprise. I felt very sorry for them. They had been putting out new flowers in a determined effort not to finish producing fruit; the peppers already on the plants were firm, green going on purple and looking very jaunty. By Sunday morning the smaller ones were soft and spongy amongst drooping leaves. I salvaged what I could: the very soggy ones were simmered, cooled and bagged for the freezer. The larger ones were sliced and put in the dehydrator. Come the winter stews and soups, we shall be well provisioned with peppers and tomatoes!

Once again, the dehydrator has earned its keep, not with pears this year but some  donated apples and the herbs. The parsley and last of the basil were rescued before the frost; yesterday I trimmed the sage; tomorrow I plan to harvest the thyme. These last two surprised me this year: in spite of the heavy winter they both struggled through and have been healthy producing all summer long. The rosemary has been potted and taken into protective custody in the shed – so long as I remember to water it occasionally, I’m hoping it will survive the winter.

The rest of the day, and much of the week, has been taken up with attempting to track down the owner of a photograph I was hoping to use on the book cover. It was an interesting task, taking me into labyrinths of the Internet that I never knew about and some very strange sites. I think I’ll stick with the image from Shutterstock.com.  which is a site I really have to commend: I placed a whiny cry for help yesterday, someone answered within the day with helpful information and then immediately responded a second time when I thanked them. So many Internet sites do not offer a good contact let alone actually take the time to respond. Well done, shutterstock.com

Today we drove about thirty miles to a nearby town; the first time we had made such a momentous journey for many months! The object of the trek was to fit me up with a new pair of glasses after cataract surgery. I sat on the last pair. This time I made sure to select sturdy frames which can be repaired rather than the fashionable ones I had hoped for. It was a pleasant drive although the sixteen wheelers do seem to be moving much faster than I remembered – probably wanting to get home and their load delivered before the weather changes again. By the time we venture forth to collect the new glasses, the hillsides will have glowed and faded no doubt; then the clocks will go back  – hurrah, an extra hour in bed!! Now that’s something to look forward to.

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