September 18, 2013

Something in the Air

The blue area is a frost warning
Autumn was in the air this morning.  The calendar says there is still another week of summer but it has not felt like summer for several weeks.  Moreover, there is a frost advisory tonight for the Worcester Hills (some 40 miles northwest of here).  If there’s frost about, it’s definitely no longer summer.
In our vegetable garden, the corn has been pulled and the green beans (and the bean beetles – good riddance!) are just a memory.  Zucchini that grew from a flower to a baseball bat in three days now takes a week or longer to become picking size.  Tomatoes and eggplant continue to ripen but no longer get larger.  The winter squash is ready to pick.  Only the leafy greens are happy with this weather.
The maple across the street
has turned color prematurely
Most of the trees on the property still have that voluptuous, late summer look but, here and there, the leaves have started to turn.  There’s a diseased maple across the street that has turned color prematurely.  One of our itea ‘Henry Garnet’ is getting a jump on the season, with a quarter of the plant already speckled with red and orange.  At the rear of our property an ash is also dropping yellow leaves – on schedule.
The hummingbirds have departed.  Just a week ago they were dive-bombing one another at our feeder in some senseless ‘if-I-can’t-have-it-then-neither-can-you’ ritual that must be programmed into their DNA.  Hummingbirds know when the fat lady is warming up in the wings.
Yellow ash leaves - on schedule
The hostas are turning yellow.  They’ll turn to yellow mush with that first frost, and those hostas that wish to go out with a semblance of dignity are doing their thing now.  Presumably with the expectation (valid) that Betty or I will cut them down in the next few days.

Itea 'Henry Garnet'
getting a jump on
autumn color
Just as there is a point in March or April for ‘firsts’, now is the beginning of the time for ‘lasts’.  I have re-directed the fill valves on our rain barrels; when they’re empty they’ll be put away.  I weed-whacked the community garden this morning, knowing it was for the last time this season.  I’ll take up the soaker hoses, clean them, and put them away for another year’s duty.

It’s not a melancholy time – far from it.  Apple picking has started and we’ll be headed out to get a bushel of Macouns next week.  Autumn brings its own excitement in New England.  I’m ready.

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