Summers gone

This past morning as I sipped my second cup of coffee while sitting on the front porch, watching the sun peaking the eastern tree line, it was chilly. The temperature had taken a significant drop, and though frost was not yet on the pump­kins, a light jacket was neces­sary.

 As I looked out over the nearby field, I could see a mother deer and her dappled fawn browsing a patch of white clover not too far from our corn patch. And further up the sloping hill, almost hidden by a shroud of low-lying mist, I could see a flock of turkeys as momma and her brood of young fanned out, methodically gobbling the yet sleepy grasshoppers easily found in the newly short-cut pasture.

Beyond and above the thick mist shroud, I could see by the angle of the rising sun that the trees in the corner woodlot were beginning to turn colour, and from that direction, too, I could hear the broken rasping rattle of a perturbed raven that must have got up on the wrong side of his perch. I could see neither it nor what was obviously annoying, but I assume it was probably the disenchantment of not being able to share in a coyote kill. It kept up the raucous lament for several long minutes – contrasting greatly to the quietness of the early morn.

Due to the summer gone season, we didn’t want to risk frost on our tomatoes, so we picked the equivalent of about three bushels, mostly green, and a half bushel of peppers. The peppers are little problem as we just cut them up in half-inch squares and freeze them on cookie trays and then pop them into hand-sized zip-lock bags. They will be handy to add to soups and stir-fry vegetable mixes when later needed.

The tomatoes are quite yet another thing. We spread them out on tables to ripen as fast as possible, for most recipes with ketchup, chili sauce and stewed tomatoes call for ripe fruit. On the other hand, tomatoes will keep several weeks if wrapped in crumpled newspapers, stored where cool, in the dark. It is wise to check them a couple of times each week as their staggered ripening will be a challenge, but toasted tomato sandwiches, from your own home-grown garden, a few weeks prior to Christmas, is well worth the effort.

By the end of this month we will be digging, for root cellar storage, potatoes, beets, carrots and turnips. And I’ll be expecting an apple pie or two, with perhaps pumpkin numbering three and four. I like country kitchens in the fall with the smell of spice and everything nice.

In between times, I’ll be making my usual rounds to the country fairs. Life can be both satisfying and fun when the frost is on the pumpkin. Don’t you think?

Take care, ’cause we care.



Barrie Hopkins