It is officially Fall. Despite my attempts to be in summer mode, I’ve begun the retreat – preparing the nest for cold, short days and long nights ahead. As though in response to a primeval instinct, it happens naturally.
It began with a huge harvest of arugula. Adding the leaves in salads alone wouldn’t be the best use so I decided to make pesto. Lacking in pine nuts, I used cashews and it turned out that they tempered the bitterness of the arugula just perfectly. Goes well with pasta, sandwiches, soups and anything that needs a little oomph. I made enough to freeze a couple of jars for the winter.
This week, I’m harvesting all the basil. So there will be plenty of basil pesto to freeze as well.
Unable to resist the peaches from a farm stand, I bought a whole bushel. Several disappeared on the drive home. A couple of pies got made and consumed with impressive alacrity. At present, a few jars of freshly made preserves sit twinkling like jewels. Flavored with Pinot Noir and cinnamon, they are a notch above the usual jam I make. Sounds rather posh and grown-up right? I’m already looking forward to Sunday breakfasts of toast slathered with butter and this preserve with strong hot coffee while I gaze at the winter landscape outside.
In a couple of weeks, I’m anticipating making and canning sauce with the last of the tomatoes. This comes in handy for so many meals. Knowing the fruit and herbs come from the garden always gets me planning for the next growing season.
I stopped at my favorite local nursery last Saturday because I’d got word that the shipment of fall pumpkins and gourds had just arrived. What a display greeted the customers! I had such fun making my selections.
I also picked up a whole bunch of hyacinth bulbs for cooling – they will be ready for forcing just ahead of the new year. In another couple of weeks, I intend to get some more to keep the show of indoor hyacinths going through the bleak days of February. That month always needs serious brightening and I want to be ready.
A box of paperwhites sat looking pretty right by the cashier so, I picked up some of those as well. They will soon be in bloom to herald the retreat to the indoors. The chill in the morning says those days are not too far off.
Over the weekend, I brought in a huge amount of hydrangea flowers from the garden. Just turning a rosy blush, they sit resplendent in an urn where I can enjoy them as they dry.
And then, last Sunday, in the shadow of the sculpture ‘Wavehenge’ that marks the solstices and equinoxes, I participated in an event to celebrate the Autumnal Equinox at Riverside Park in New York City. I was one of three poets invited to read poems associated with the season. A definitive acknowledgement of summer’s end.
Yes, fall has arrived and I am embracing it. But, just like the bees and butterflies still working in the garden, I’m not totally done with summer. I’m just content knowing my nest awaits in readiness.
Note: I hope you’ve bought your tickets to the Untermyer Symposium’ Restoring Gardens’. I’d love to see you there.
The ‘Walk In Our Shoes’ art show is on till September 30. Do stop by and see!
(c) 2019 Shobha Vanchiswar