CHAIRS-IN-FIRST-SNOWIt’s easy to forget in warmer years that snow and cold can easily come early in Minnesota.  We awakened yesterday to more than a dusting, accompanied with a disturbing chill.  We’re already into the wood pile, feeding the stove.  We’ve only had one chilly evening’s outdoor fire yet!  This is crazy!

SNOWY-ROSE-WITH-BUDSThe rose Pete gave me years ago as a birthday present has been reincarnated in several locations.  I’ve transplanted it several times, nearly killing it once, pruned damaged canes back past what seemed like points of no return on more than one occasion, and generally fussed about it in my mind every year.  It has endured mildew and grasshoppers, as well as being jostled back and forth during garden and household moves, but in this last location it has thrived.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen a rose bloom into October.  A few days ago, I suggested that Pete should take some photos of the multiple buds on each of its prolific stems.  I was going to call the blog post “October Roses.”  We bring you these images instead.  🙂

ROSE-PETALS-WITH-SNOWIt’s going to be a chore protecting this rose in my typical way this year because of its height and girth.  In years past I have girdled it with plastic webbing, creating a 4 foot tall cylinder about 24 inches in diameter.  I then fill that with leaves to shield from icy winds.  Others with hybrid teas or more fragile varieties are fond of the “Minnesota tip” method, or covering their plants with foam cones – not so attractive, but since when is any kind of life-support concerned with being esthetically pleasing?

When we leave this place, I will be unable to take my treasured Eastern redbud which sits right next to my rose.  But I will abduct my rose away from any newcomer to this house, and abscond with it to wherever we end up next.

PUMPKIN-IN-FIRST-SNOWWe’ve enjoyed so many meals and dishes from Pete’s garden this year.  I read in this morning’s paper how there is a national shortage of canned pumpkin.  The major player in that market plans to begin shipments to grocery stores this week.

I’m married to a man who wouldn’t use canned pumpkin if his life depended upon it.  Instead, he will drive several miles to pay 99 cents less for pie pumpkins.  🙂  Pete can bake the meanest pies, and when he does, we often have pie for breakfast (deserves italics, don’t you think?) the next day.  It’s been a banner year for all kinds of pumpkins in our garden.  I’m happy we have no shortage.

Green-Tomato-in-First-SnowThis is the end of tomatoes, though.  Gardeners in the East have complained of wet conditions and lousy yields (see Margaret’s post: Wet Year Tomato Troubles: The Plot Sickens).  We’ve been luckier in Minnesota.

Last week we were invited to harvest from a magnificent garden whose vacationing owners had called back home with instructions to “take whatever you can because if you don’t, the frost will.”  That homeowner grew her tomatoes not by staking or hanging the plants, but just letting them creep along the ground in the same way gourd and pumpkin vines normally do.

ROMAS-IN-SNOWIt seemed strange pulling aside a tangle of vines, but underneath them were about half a bushel of juicy treasure which Pete promptly turned into marinara sauce.  It’s common protocol to return any harvest favors with a gift – in this case, the present came in pint jars.  These Romas probably won’t end up that way.  It’s hard not to mourn what might have been.

MUMS-IN-FIRST-SNOW“Hardy” chrysanthemums are a staple to Upper Midwest flower gardens and fall holiday displays.  We’ll see how hardy mine are in the days to come.  Right now these seem strong and valiant.

Yesterday brought another visitor to our garden, but alas, not an opportunity for a photograph – this one is from Apture.  I was called from my desk to our back window mid-morning, where a sharp-shinned hawk like this one was uncharacteristically standing on the ground.  This guy was availing himself of our chipmunk population, and had a hapless rodent in his talons.  Hooray!  Only about 30 more to go!  We’ve also had a half dozen baby red squirrels on the ground below our feeders.  I’m afraid that since they have no fear of Daisy, they’ll be lunch meat.  Oh well.  How can something as cute as a tiny baby red squirrel grow up to be so obnoxious, anyway?


Thinking back over the years I’ve lived in Minnesota, I can remember warm and sunny Octobers (such as depicted in this post from a year ago) where it was possible to trick-or-treat in shirt sleeves or the flimsiest costumes.  Other years, not so much.  When my daughter was almost two, we had over 36 inches of snow on Halloween night! The frozen jack-o-lanterns emerged the following spring.  I’m actually a fan of global warming – early snow just isn’t civilized.

For the past ten years, the advent of cold weather has also signaled the onset of the busiest part of my business cycle.  Since that business was sold earlier this year, I’m looking forward to some of the more traditional holiday pursuits I’ve enjoyed in the past like baking and entertaining.  This change is good.  🙂

What’s happening in your neck of the woods now that the seasons are changing again?

Photo credits:

Garden – Pete Wuebker

Hawk – Apture

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  1. says

    After a rainy couple of days that left the ground totally saturated, it was supposed to be sunny and get up to 68 degrees here yesterday and today.

    Yesterday, it was cloudy and the temperature struggled to get up to 52!

    Today, they revised the forecast to sunny and 60.

    It’s cloudy and 51 degrees at 3:16 PM, today.

    I think the weather models were a little off for this weekend.

    I will be VERY surprised if this is a normal mild winter.
    .-= Mike Goad´s last blog ..Color on a rainy day in Madison =-.

  2. Betsy Wuebker says

    Hi Mike – I think you’re right. We barely had a summer here, and I’ve watched squirrels and chipmunks get really busy for the last six weeks or so, stashing away. Now our forecast has been updated to possibly 5″ of snow for tomorrow. This is the earliest in 25 years of living in Minnesota that I can remember such a significant amount so early. We’re going to need more firewood.

  3. says

    Hi Betsy. The squirrels have been busy, busy here. I see them everywhere when I go walking now. The last rainy day we had it was quite comical. They looked like little drowned rats scurrying about. I hope that doesn’t mean we’re in for a hearty winter here, because I don’t recall this much squirrel action other years… and last year we were dumped on by a couple of snowstorms. I quite enjoy the first snow… makes me feel all warm and cuddly; but then the next day I want it to melt.
    .-= Davina´s last blog ..9. Thyme Out On A Mountain =-.

  4. says

    Aacck! Snow. We are fortunate to have not had a frost yet. It’s coming though and so will our seed catalogs in the mail. Yay! I’m curious what the red rose is. It’s a some type of floribunda or shrub rose.

  5. says

    The naughty baby deer ate all of our last tomatoes and we raced out Saturday night to pick the pie pumpkins with a freeze coming. I never use canned pumpkin – but we eat a great deal of squash. No rain for weeks, and the roses are gaining their winter hips, but we took down the tall stems that might get wind whipped. Nov 1 prune roses and cut down low….March 1 hard prune and think about moving the mulch….
    I am with Davina, wondering what kind of winter we will have…last year was so much snow…
    Lovely pictures….neat post thank you for sharing
    .-= Patricia´s last blog ..Some Words are Just Hard to Hear =-.

  6. says

    What’s happening here? Rain and more rain! Gloriously chilly days. (Hey, it’ was in the 90s some last week.)

    I could honestly have pumpkin pie 3 meals a day, thing is I can’ t have it unless it’s got at least 1/2 cup of pure whipped cream on it, so at about 600 cals. a plate of that, I’ve only got about another 300 cals to make up my entire daily nutrition. Add a steak, wine and some salad and that always makes for very tight jeans. Maybe could have it just twice a day?

    I think you are smart to take your rose bush with you. You have a fixed date for moving?
    .-= Jannie Funster´s last blog ..Goin’ For The Page Rank Juice =-.

  7. Betsy Wuebker says

    Hi Davina – Squirrel activity must be a good way to measure, no? I haven’t seen any fuzzy caterpillars! My snow preference is also one day only: Christmas. That’s all I require. My cup, however, overfloweth most years in Minnesota.

    Hi Candylei – Welcome to PassingThru! Yes, it’s a floribunda, I think. It is especially hardy and I’ll be darned if I can remember what the name of it is. But it is awesome. Thanks and we hope you’ll stick around.

    Hi Patricia – It sounds like your rose system is working great! I’ve become a more intrepid pruner now than I used to be. Last week I came downstairs to see a couple of does and a nicely appointed buck traipsing single file through our back yard. There’s quite the herd in the wetlands across the way. It would be fun to see a photo of your fawn. Thanks.

    Hi Jannie – The fun thing about all the Wuebker gourmands is that they go for the Reddi-Whip half the time. Hilarious! It’s like fake food! But I love it. Pete squirts it right from the can into his mouth. You can eat more pie if you switch into “eating pants” with elastic. No, we don’t have a fixed date to move, but I’d sure like one. Thanks.

  8. says

    Betsy we are averaging 9 deer a day this summer, but this fawn and his mother slept through the day and the contractor all of August in our yard…now the little one is here daily on it’s own – we think mom is ill or dead and baby was a late, late delivery. I have a picture of the two under the deer fencing – somewhere…I am no photographer, but do not know how to send it?
    .-= Patricia´s last blog ..Some Words are Just Hard to Hear =-.

  9. says

    Hi Betsy,

    We, too, had a early snow – 4 inches last week. Although it melted fairly quickly, the colder temperatures are hanging around. Being in the high desert we get colder temps at night, but the forecast claims we’ll see the sixties in the next few days. I hope so! I an NOT ready for the cold days yet.

    Pumpkin pie for breakfast? Yup! That’s the best!
    .-= Barbara Swafford´s last blog ..Does The Party Ever End =-.

  10. says

    I love snow and we hardly get any in Philly – and rarely before January. That being said I don’t think I would want snow before Halloween. I grew up in NH and don’t remember snow on Halloween but I remember it being so cold that we were wearing snowsuits under our costumes.

    I love the photos of the produce with snow on them – lovely.

    I went to the Farmer’s Market last weekend to get Alex a pumpkin and came home with a backpack full of stuff but no pumpkin 🙂
    .-= Kim Woodbridge´s last blog ..A Huge Head of Broccoli: Let’s Make Broccoli Cheddar Soup =-.

  11. Dot says

    I love squirrels and chipmunks. Glad I didn’t witness anybody getting eaten. Too upsetting. Here, the temperature just dropped 30 degrees in one day. As others report, suddenly it’s cold. I used to love the cold, but not any more.

    Long Island cold meant it would get cold and stay cold until you got used to it. Here in the DC area, the temperature goes up and down, up and down, freeze and thaw, so your body never gets used to it. The allergens that are killed by a good freeze never get killed here. The dry, cold, diamond-sparkly snow I used to love hardly ever appears here. Instead, it falls white and instantly turns to slush because freeze-thaw, freeze-thaw. Yuck. Then it’s ice the next day and everyone’s slipping.

  12. Dot says

    PS – I forgot to say that I never saw snow on roses before. That’s quite a sight, beautiful in its own way.

  13. Betsy Wuebker says

    Hi Patricia – Now I remember seeing that photo from your post! The deer are fun to watch, aren’t they? Thank you.

    Hi Barbara – I’m with you, couldn’t the cold weather wait a month or more? I’ve noticed lots of different recipes using pumpkin this year. I always think I want to try them, but ultimately the pie wins, doesn’t it? Thank you.

    Hi Kim – I know what you mean. Snow on or before Halloween is just wrong. We’ll be working this weekend pulling out all the plants that have had their day – it is supposed to hit 60 degrees. I’m hoping sun comes with that. Thanks.

    Hi Dot – If you want a dry cold, come on up to Minnesota in January. We say, “But it’s a dry cold,” like people say “But, it’s a dry heat” in Arizona. LOL. Cold is cold, but damp cold can just settle in your bones, can’t it? Glad you enjoyed the photos. Thank you.

    • Betsy Wuebker says

      Hi Vered – Aww shucks, thank you. We have a lot to be grateful for, that’s for sure. One of the fun things we didn’t anticipate about blogging was all the wonderful people we would have a chance to get to know, like you for instance! Thanks again.