One of the first things I did when we got home, of course, was to check on my garden. It's very much autumn around here, so things are starting to die back. I need to dig up my potatoes, probably as soon as this weekend, since the stalks are starting to wither and fall over. Some of my peas are dying off, although a few are still going strong. Before we left I pulled up and pickled a bunch of my carrots, so what's left are the smaller ones and they have more room to grow. I'll leave them out until they absolutely need to be pulled. And the tomatoes are really ripening now. I have a couple of my Cassady's Folly just about ready to be picked, and I couldn't stop the cherry tomatoes from ripening if I tried.
My haul Sunday night, after we got home, was about three cups of peas (in their shells), one large zucchini, and a couple branches of cherry tomatoes. I have a couple more zucchinis growing out there, getting bigger, and my pumpkins are doing quite well. The biggest one is even starting to turn a lighter green. I'll leave them out as long as I can, though. They're New England pie pumpkins, so they should be hearty enough to withstand our autumn chill.
It's sad to see my garden dying off. I can't say that I worked *too* hard out there this summer (as evidenced by the weeds) but I did put a decent amount of hard work into it. This is also our last chance to get as much as possible put away for winter. Eek! Shane started munching on the peas I collected the other day and when I freaked out he said, "Wow, chill. The peas are better fresh anyway." Ok, I can agree to that. So I gave him about half of them to eat fresh and kept the other half to freeze. Any that I opened up which still had rather small peas were eaten fresh by me. And now I have about a pint of homegrown, shelled peas in my freezer.
On the food front, our trip down south wasn't a total loss. I never did get to go berry picking (if there are blueberries in those hills, my MIL doesn't know where) but I did get some rhubarb from a family friend when it would otherwise have gone to waste. Now I can start canning, since I should have a bunch of rhubarb.
There's another family friend there whose father plants an acre of peas every year, far more than they can eat, so my MIL gets to go pick buckets full. She talked to her friend to see if the peas were ready, but they weren't. Darn! That would have seriously added to our cache of frozen peas. Oh well. Maybe next year?
The biggest change from when we left to when we returned has simply been in the weather. Other places it might be strange to have such a rapid change of weather, but I expected this. It's now definitely autumn here, with the days staying chilly rather than getting hot and merely having cool nights. I've still got a couple of windows cracked at home, for the air flow, but I'm also thinking about pulling out our big down comforter.
The trees are becoming yellow, more than just a splash of color here and there. The birds are flying south quickly. This morning when I let the dog out I heard a gaggle of cranes overhead, in classic V-formation, heading out of town. And so we head into winter once again.