Have you noticed that when the kids go back to school a couple of weeks later - almost like magic, there is this crisp clean feeling in the air? The feeling is something you can't quite put your finger on, but it definitely feels a little like Autumn. I wonder if it is some chemical the trees release as they ready themselves to change the color in their leaves. Maybe it's just the drop in temperature. I don't know - but what I do know is that I start craving apple crisp, and fresh, warm homemade bread with honey, and I get excited to pull out my sweaters and boots.
The garden is starting to wind down. A couple of weeks ago it was bursting with ripeness, but now it looks a little faded and wilted. It's kind of sad, in a way, but also exciting because it means that in a few months I get to plant a whole new crop.
We have had OODLES of tomatoes and cucumbers. In fact, I hate to say it, but I got sick of the cucumbers. They started tasting bitter when the weather got hot and I became wary of the taste! We also have cantaloupe ( I NEVER spell that right so thank heavens-to-Betsy for spell check!). The melons are huge and bursting with juice! They're better than last year's crop. The watermelon died, though. We have a few, but the vines up and withered when we got that really hot spell. We've tried one of them but it wasn't very good. I've decided that watermelon from the fruit stand is better and cheaper.
We've also had carrots - still have another crop that's getting ready to harvest - and we have the scrawniest, most sad onions ever, and I'm not sure they're worth the time or space either. Maybe I just need to plant a different variety, because last year's onions were scrawny, too. We planted too late and got very few peas (plus the quail got into the seeds after we planted).
All in all, I think the best bounty that we've received from our garden can't be eaten, but it can be savored - and that is FAMILY TIME. We've spent hours working together, watching, weeding, and harvesting. Peter and I have done most of the work, yes, but even strengthening our relationship has had its own benefits for our kids. Don't get me wrong - it hasn't all been sunshine and daisies - we've had some of our biggest family fights in the garden, too. But, in the final tally, I think it's been an amazing harvest that we didn't expect!
I am so looking forward to the Autumn - raking leaves, long walks, Halloween, putting the garden to rest for the winter. And definitely sweaters and boots!