The day before the first trip I spent an hour or so scouring the garden for any ripe/almost ripe/green tomatoes in good condition for one last tomato haul. I never expected it to frost- I simply told myself, after this last haul, I would declare myself "officially done" with tomatoes, no matter what. Unfortunately for me, the one night I was away, the frost came and decimated all the tender crops- the worst of which being my whole cutting garden full of beautiful cosmos and zinnias and all my basil. I can't help but lament wasting time on TOMATOES that night when there were zinnias and basil at stake. WHY was I picking tomatoes when I could have been picking basil and flowers?!? I will miss the constant blooms in every room of the house- one of the dreariest parts of winter.
Despite the flower/basil disappointments, I am thankful that the garden is beginning to wind down for the year. There is still plenty in the garden to grab. I have not yet harvested the potatoes, there are plenty of beets to take care of, lots of kale, swiss chard and collards. Even some broccoli still chugging along. And a beautiful selection of eggplants to admire...which I know not what to do with. What does one do with eggplant (besides eggplant parmesan)? That was an experimental crop this year and one I did only because I have always admired the loveliness of their appearance. I suppose I should have thought ahead on that one...
There is the clearing of garden beds and layers of mulch to add (ah- one detriment to a no-till garden is that you must work at the END of the season on the beds as well as in the beginning of the season.) But I am thankful to feel a winding down and a certain slowing to what needs to be done. And I am looking forward to doing those things that have needed to be set aside throughout the summer.
I've been wearing socks again. And drinking steamy vanilla chai tea with a spot (or two) of real, heavy cream every morning. We've been eating dinner in the dark and waking up to the dark and feeling as if we may freeze when we hop into our cold, cotton sheets every night. (Mental note: switch to flannel sheets before bed tonight!) I have been itching to write letters again and believe it won't be long before I have the moments needed to scratch that itch.
Matt brought in our first load of wood into the basement but we haven't yet lit it up. I don't know how long we will last- it is a bit of a goal each year for Matt to put it off- but we have no other form of heat source other than the woodstove, so it gets cold. Really, I would just absolutely adore a fireplace in the living room. Or small pellet stove. Or fireplace gas insert for that matter. So that on these chilly in between days, when we have not yet started to warm up the basement with our woodstove heat but there is just the right amount of cold in the air to get chilled- we could have a little place to go to shake off the chill and get cozy. We'd sit there, curled up on the floor and soak up the warmth...oh, I can almost feel it. It's a pipe dream, I know, but I dream it anyway.