Fall reflections

November 30, 2014

blog_judy_coolsMoonlighting. A blog by Judy Cools

Fall brings a bittersweetness.  I wander around the yard, uprooting the potted flowers which have brought so much joy during the summer.  Grateful for their steady cheer, I feel somehow that I should be able to do better than just throw them away.  It seems a poor “thank you.”

The bright yellow pansies will forgive me.  They wouldn’t be happy or do well indoors.  Since they are cold-tolerant, they are the only survivor among my backyard flower pots.  The rest of the collection has been killed by the frost.

The geraniums sheltered on the front porch are growing too well for me to let them go.  I dig them up and make an indoor planter for them.  I used to have a lovely geranium which served as a houseplant for ten years or more.  It blossomed almost constantly, so I expect these refugees from the porch will do as well.

The vegetable garden is a little easier, but still a time of reflection.  We are all accustomed to tomato plants and cucumbers lasting only for the season.  Pulling them up is part of the ritual, as we recall the all too brief growing season of tilling and planting, weeding and staking, watering and watching.

When the harvest begins, the first tidbits are a huge reward, with snow peas eaten straight from the vine among smiles and high-fives from the family.  It’s a season where onion tops and herbs can be harvested and chopped while the meal is already simmering.  Lettuce and the occasional tomato will go directly from garden to table.  It’s perhaps my most fulfilling time of the year.

The garden is modest, and there is rarely enough to freeze or can for winter.  Since part of our garden is in pots, select plants come indoors and continue to produce both food and smiles throughout the winter.  Root vegetables harvested from the garden patch will also last a while, taking us deeper into winter and the time when the cycle starts over.

When the calendar pages flip and it’s time to say goodbye to my garden refuge, it’s also a time to look forward to the next year.  We start our garden indoors in the spring, to give the plants an edge in our short growing season and shady location.  As always, we’ll use this year’s successes and struggles to plan next year’s victories.  The planning will keep us warm and confident that, yes, the long Michigan winter will eventually come to an end.  We will survive, and the cycle of renewal and growth will begin again.


Kudos, complaints, or conversation? Moonlighting19@yahoo.com

© 2014, J. L. Cools

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