Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Lazy Days of September

It's mid-September now, which is a really lovely time for gardeners who don't want to work too much. It's not too hot, not frosty at night, and we're getting intermittent rain, which keeps weed growth down, gives the fall-planted greens a chance to thrive, and reduces the need for watering. This change in the weather allows the gradual ripening of summer season vegetables, which means I can actually keep on top of eating the tomatoes coming out of the garden before they start to get over-ripe. And the fall vegetables have wonderfully long shelf lives - I don't have to worry about cooking down my sweet little pie pumpkin from Musterfield Farm because it's not going to get moldy in a few days.

Okay, so maybe my kitchen table is covered with squash and pears and the windowsill is lined with ripening tomatoes and drying hot peppers and the cute little pumpkin (I don't have a camera until Tuesday, but let me assure you that it is indeed covered with said produce), but I've got a good amount of time before I have to get on with canning the pears and figuring out what to do with the tomatoes. It is SO nice to have a breather from constant harvesting and preserving.

Mid-September is also an ideal time for taking a bit of a respite from gardening and the food processing that comes with gardening. The weather is great for many outdoor pursuits and I've recently managed to go for walks around the lake, bike riding, hiking, looking at the early fall colors, and enjoyed a cup of hot chocolate while sitting outdoors at a picnic table with only a fleece jacket. The outdoor hot chocolate part is a truly special event that can only be enjoyed on certain crisp fall days and then those really sunny ski days in late winter.

Of course, there are fall garden chores that I should be doing, you know, weeding out the grass that has become seriously established around the daisies, turning the compost, mulching the perennial beds, cutting back flower stalks... but really none of that demands my immediate attention. A lot has been written about the lazy days of summer but maybe we should start promoting the lazy days of September. This should certainly include the promotion of outdoor hot chocolate consumption. Sure, there's wood to split and stack, pears and apples to preserve, grass to cut, trees to prune... but most of those things can be put off until October... or November... or even next spring?

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