First Frost

It is official at my house. The warm days are gone for 2013. We had our first frost on Thursday night.

Every day up until this point, I like to fantasize that we can still get some decent heat. It would be great to get more than brief moments. A burst of sun on a patio, but the angle is wrong. The light is there, but the effect is not the same, we have tilted away.

The signs are all around me, no matter how I wish to blink my eyes and be back in the long lazy days of 2 months ago.

  • The central heating has been turned on. My husband broke down in the first week of October. My daughter thinks she needs even more heat down in her room.
  • The rug colors have changed from the bright greens of Summer to the reds of Winter. (That changes up the whole look of the house every 6 months).
  • My garden is almost tucked in for the winter. A bit more trimming to do.
  • The patio furniture is ready for a big tarp, the cushions are in storage.
  • The deck will get a long runner of carpet to allow a trail of safe passage through the frost.
  • My kids have fallen back into the routine of school. The field trips have started. First one on Thursday to go skating. (Indoor rinks here on the Coast).
  • Evening family movies start-up again. With the long days of summer, we spent all our time outside, doing stuff.
  • Knitting big chunky wooly things doesn’t seem crazy anymore. I knit all summer too, looks a bit strange at the beach.
  • Nature puts on a fantastic show before heading into the long slumber.
  • The “V” formations of birds heading South are tracking overhead.
  • The last days of the Farmer’s markets, offering so many kinds of squash!
  • We start to feel more introspective. We read, we learn.

Steve Sabol wrote this poem called, “The Autumn Wind”. A humorous look at the weather which can either beat down your mood or cause a stiffening of resolve to soldier on.

The Autumn Wind is a pirate,
Blustering in from sea,
With a rollocking song, he sweeps along,
Swaggering boisterously.

His face is weather beaten.
He wears a hooded sash,
With a silver hat about his head,
And a bristling black mustache.

He growls as he storms the country,
A villain big and bold.
And the trees all shake and quiver and quake,
As he robs them of their gold.

The Autumn Wind is a raider,
Pillaging just for fun.
He’ll knock you ’round and upside down,
And laugh when he’s conquered and won.

Fall clean-up

My husband went ahead and cleaned up for me this year. What a great guy! I worked all weekend at my day job and during a wonderful break in the rain, he put the whole garden to bed.

I am super grateful for the help. But every gardener, even those whom share the same house and bed, have a different idea about how the property is best developed and maintained. My husband tends towards a minimalistic view. I like the rambling, move yourself around the plant, tending towards overgrown kind of garden.

Since the days are so short, when I arrived home each evening, there was no way to know how “cleaned-up” the garden really was. I was warned by my man, “everything is tidy now,” he said.

In a quick reprieve in the rain today, I ducked into the front yard to snap a couple of photo’s. I won’t show you here, for I am too sad, but my fig tree is probably dead. I asked what reference he consulted when he decided to cut it back so hard? He said none. It has taken the better part of 10 years to get that tree to produce about 12 lovely figs each year. There is a plethora of tiny fruits that never get big and soft. I’m not sure what I am doing wrong. I would have never thought to cut it back like this. So we’ll see next summer if the tree survives and if it bears fruit. We’ll see. Sigh.

But I do like how tidy everything else is. You just have to take it as it comes. That is the life of a gardener. Patience.

Other blog posts about the fall garden:

Changeover

Every six months, my daughter and I go through a strange ritual with our clothes. The exact timing is approximate. In Spring the days need to feel generally warm enough and in the Fall we base the changeover with the coming of the fog and rain.

2012 has been a real pain. The days didn’t feel particularly warm to me throughout June, even early July was windy and cool. (It is not just my advancing age, everyone thought the same). So my summer wardrobe was not even worn until I arrived in Alberta for summer holidays. Now as we stare down into the steadily approaching dark days of winter, the sun continues to shine. I am looking out the window this morning, the sky is blue and the forecast is for low 20’s celsius. While I don’t want to wear shorts, (although I did pop a pair on for a few hours yesterday afternoon, it was that warm), I can’t commit to long sleeves either.

So our bins marked, “seasonal clothes”, stand at the ready. The obvious no-no’s are clean and piled on top, white shorts and capri’s. Both my daughter and I have opened and dipped into the winter stash, lighter weight long sleeve tees, maybe a 3/4 length tee, and a light sweater. The overall effect is quite messy looking and you have to walk around the bins and shove them aside to vacuum, etc. My husband does not like this time of year and can’t understand why we just can’t change everything out in a few hours work. He suspects we are a bit lazy.

While that may be true in regards to a bunch of other things, it is not the case here. Clothes and the outfits we build to wear each day are a reflection of ourselves. The mood we are in, the look we are going after, our overall projection of our personality. At the most basic the look of the day is boringly appropriate, those combinations we have put together so many times before. But we have those days of inspiration, where we are trying on a new idea, a twist on an old classic, or a whole new outfit and we feel really special. Those feelings carry through the whole day. So you can’t just throw on any old thing and run out the door.

Adding to our complication this season is our Mexico vacation. We are going for 3 weeks and I have mentioned to my daughter that the summer pack up should be organized into 2 parts, what goes to Mexico on the top and the rest on the bottom. She thinks I am going a bit too far. She is not ready to pack for that trip now.

However it will be done today, it is time. My husband shoved my bins right in front of my side of the closet doors this morning. A clear sign of his growing level of appreciation to this whole affair. The bins with our summer treasures will head off to the storage locker until we rescue some of them for a short respite in Mexico. The long winter slumber for the rest until we spring them sometime in early May?

P.S. – If you are interested in how this is done, check out these 2 blogs: