Monday, October 26, 2009

Sunshine On My Shoulders

The leaves usually fall from our Mulberry tree all at once.  This year it has not been quite so dramatic.  Only half of them fell this morning when the sun came up.  I've seen all of them fall in five minutes!  It always happens first thing.  I suppose the frost in the night, when met with the warmth of the rising sun causes them to disconnect themselves from the branches that have held them all summer.  When it all happens simultaneously, it is a wonder to behold!  Mulberry leaves don't change color before they fall; so there was a thick blanket of green beneath that tree and a lovely blanket of yellow beneath the Linden when I looked out this morning.

The weather is supposed to change drastically tomorrow; so I decided to get out there and pick up what I can before the big chill.  I like to mow rather than rake.  It mulches and makes the pile more compact.  Compact enough to fit into my compost bins.  Composting, is much like cooking for me.  Adding this ingredient and that, letting it cook, summer and winter, until it stews down to a rich, aromatic loam - every bit as satisfying as a well simmered pot of chili or chowder.  Compost has to be blended just so and though I don't use a recipe, experience has taught me to go easy on the grass clippings - too hot and smelly, be liberal with garden waste and saw dust, and to give it plenty of time to cook just right.

The raised bed gardens needed attention too.  There were the last of the beets to harvest.  The onions did so well this year.  The frozen tomato plants needed pulled as did dried up bean vines and other spent odds and ends.

Six year old Megan came over to help.  She found the biggest beet and was so proud to show Grandma.  The bunnies love it when Megan comes because she's sure to toss some Swiss Chard and carrots their way.  She balances her way around the edges of the garden boxes, sweeping the spilled dirt away as she goes.  For her, it's all so good.  Harvesting and cleaning up; just as fun as planting and imagining.  Because of her, it is for me too!

I don't get finished, there is still a pile of canvas drop cloths, a pastel sheet and an old table cloth on a bench under the awning.  They'd been used to spare the tomatoes from frost for a couple of weeks.  There are a few tools to put away, but that'll keep.  I sit on the bench beneath the arbor with the sunshine soaking through the shoulders of my sweat shirt and just simmer in the last good day of fall.  I've rubbed some Rosemary in my palms and they smell so good.  The air is fresh and crisp, and I am warm and drowsy.  Composting.  Megan is trying to catch falling Mulberry leaves and Grandma has come out to sit beside me.  A few Chrysanthemums, snap dragons and an odd mallow are still blooming and a lazy wasp wanders up my sleeve.

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