Sometimes, in our share of the Ohio River Valley, summer slams into winter without much autumn to buffer the shock. September and October days that seem more June-like keep us in shorts and flip-flops. Our sweaters pine away in the back of the wardrobe. Wearing t-shirts instead of flannel shirts to the pumpkin patch has become the new normal.
And then, BAM! Frost and chilly rains. Aa good hard freeze takes most of the garden down to the soil line. (And coaxes us to walk around wrapped in wool and fleece.)
Our blood hasn’t thickened up yet, as my grandmother would say. A 55 degree Fahrenheit day in October seems so much colder than a 55 degree day in March. 55 degrees in October make us want to light the fire and drink cocoa. But 55 degrees in March make us want to hie to the garden and start digging!
So we never know what October 31st will bring. Will the kids need their long johns under their Halloween costumes? Or will they be sweltering under the weight of their wizard’s cloak and princess skirts?
This year was chilly, but dry, just what we like in an All Hallow’s Eve. Build a cozy fire in the fire pit. Sip a little hot cider. Consume enough Halloween candy to put a hippo into a sugar coma. Now that makes for a pretty darn good night.
I took a stroll to the garden this morning. In the herb bed, only the flat-leaf parsley seems to be holding on. I probably should’ve harvested the last of it. Maybe if I find a parsley-forward recipe for supper, we can enjoy the last sprigs properly.
Elsewhere in the garden, I’ve left a a few Padron peppers on the plant in order to harvest the seeds for next year. They are a perfect shade of red. But these are tricky peppers. When they’re young, they’re delicious when quick-sauteed in a little olive oil then sprinkled with sea salt. But among the gently spicy ones, a nuclear-fired one will lurk, waiting to surprise you by melting your face. An appetizer that’s not only delicious but a (sometimes) hilarious game.
As the peppers mature, we’ve found that some mellow with age and some do not. Sort of like people.
And so November begins cold and rainy for us. Some folks dislike Gray November, but i like the chilly days and cold nights, perfect for a hot cup of tea and my favorite woolly sweater. Look for Joy wherever you can find it and life is just a little easier.
How is your November dawning? Are all your Autumn tasks complete, gardening and otherwise?
And Happy Dia de los Muertos!