Ah! The pleasures of autumn! What a difference a week can make. Since this past Saturday, it feels distinctly like fall. Crisp. That word defines the essence of the season. The air is crisp and cool. Crisp apples. Crunchy, crisp leaves underfoot. Even the light has a crisp clarity. I love it all.
Now that the greenhouse is winter-ready, the plants are slowly being moved in. Trimming, picking off dead limbs, washing plant and pot is time consuming. But there is a certain comfort in the ritual as it helps the mind adjust to the inevitability of impending winter. Preparing the plants for that season also prepares me. Inside the house, I’m getting out the shawls and throws, setting up the fireplace with kindling, logs and matches, placing fresh candles, pulling out cool weather recipes, putting away summer linens and stocking up on ingredients for mulled drinks and thick, smooth cocoas. Summer’s bounty is being stored as pesto in the freezer, large canning jars of thick, roasted tomato sauce and pickled cucumbers in the pantry, loaves of zucchini bread also filling the freezer, dried herbs refreshing the spice rack and surplus fruits twinkling in jam pots.
As I trim the plants, I indulge in memories of the recent summer. These are what keep me going when the winter gets unbearably long and severe. And when I’m full of such appreciation, the chores at hand don’t seem so tedious. Sometimes, life is all about tricking the mind. A shift in attitude can make all the difference between whining and celebrating.
I’m also adding plants in the garden – this is a great time to get mature plants into the ground. They’ll settle in nicely and be ready to start growing when spring comes around. I’m expecting my rather large order of bulbs in mid-October and so, I’d like to get all the other chores done before the bulb-planting marathon.
When the weather feels so perfect with just the right combination of sun and temperature, it is hard to get work done. It seems a shame to keep plugging away instead of hanging out with family and friends on the terrace. So, I’m determined to keep a balance. All garden work must cease by Sunday noon so we can sit back under the pergola with the sunlight filtering through the yellowing leaves of the wisteria, get the outdoor oven fired up and while away the rest of the day with gourmet pizza, drink and conversation. What a civilized way to get ready for the work week ahead don’t you think?
Here are a few images of things I’ve enjoyed this past summer:
(c) 2016 Shobha Vanchiswar