Posted by: A Part of the Solution | October 21, 2010

Still No Frost

We had a dry, dry summer. We had barely five inches of rain from mid-May through the first week of September. I’m considering mowing the lawn for the second time since July–and probably the last time this year.

We’re having a long, slowly building autumn. The trees were just beginning to turn for the second weekend of Bedford County’s Fall Foliage Festival. Maybe the dryness held the season back. Now, ten days on, we have color in the trees and carpets of russet, brown, gamboge, burgundy and flame underfoot. Our maple trees stand like torches flanking the house. Their foliage is thinner overhead and thicker underfoot. The hammock wears a blanket of those crazy quilt leaves no matter how fiercely the wind blows.

Around here, the wind isn’t seasonal. The wind blows from one end of the year to the other, with days off for crisp (or lowering) skies, and humid (or dry) air all around. The air had been still when I went to bed just after nine last night. I got up at five to let the cat out and to go sit in the barn with the kittens. I’d hoped to see the Orionid meteor showers, but there was a haze across the night sky such that the stars of the constellation were visible without the celestial fireworks being available. By six thirty, the wind had begun to pick up, and it’s been blowing ever since.

The longer I’m here, the more I’m convinced we’d do better with a wind or solar/wind combination off-grid power source rather than straight solar (even though we have great south-facing roof exposure on both the house and the barn). I still like the wind, and may always do so. It keeps the air fresh and the laundry drying quickly. It adds a tangible quality to the outdoor portions of every day. And the atmospheric value added to indoor enjoyment is incalculable. A wind like that keeps one drinking well water in summertime and hot chocolate in the winter, with hot cider and nettle tea for the flanking seasons.

I’m making pumpkin pie this weekend, from a grey species of pumpkin, the Jarrahdale. If it’s very good for pies, we’ll likely grow them ourselves next year. I’m still trying to get Bobby’s lard rendered, but our instructions have been scant and our experience in almost nil. One way or another, I’m determined to have a good farm-made pie before I go to bed on Sunday. It’ll be fun.

I’m working on Chorizo and Andouille recipes ove the next few days. The first Chorizo I tried was fresh, and kind of wet–and not as spicy as I’d hoped it would be. I’m going back to the drawing board there, and with the Andouille as well. The Boudin Blanc is easier for me, since I’ve had a good recipe for that for years–out of Saveur.

Lately, the overnight temperature is as likely to fall into the forties as any other number. We’ve had a few where it was close to freezing when Buck woke me in the pre-dawn to let him out to do a little hunting in the gloaming. But the climate still hasn’t pushed over the marker: our basil have still not shriveled. And we’ve been expecting a light frost any minute now since the third week of September.

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Responses

  1. Being in the same hardiness zone, we’ve had similar weather summer into fall (sans the wind). Dry dry summer (only bonus being no lawn mowing…I mowed a few days ago for the first time since early August), and more rain lately, with a late color season. I don’t mind the gradual fall. It’s better than the fast onset/quick off trees brief fall.

    We’ve had a couple nights that dipped into the high 30’s. The way I know is that the sweet potatoes are so sensitive to cold, it doesn’t need to get down to 32 to make the leaves turn black. We had about 1/2 blackaging (technical term) a few nights back.

    Love the updates. And keep taking pictures!


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