It’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!
The 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.
It’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.
We’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.
This 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.
It 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.
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?
Garden – Pete Wuebker
Hawk – Apture
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