When I arrived at the farmstand for the last pickup/open field day, there were lots of butternut squash, chiles, and bell peppers waiting inside. The rest was waiting outside. This motley crew of vegetables may not be the prettiest, and they’re certainly not the cleanest, but they are safely squirreled away in our refrigerators. We have an extra refrigerator in the basement, a little old thing that still runs and keeps things cold, and that’s where the long-keepers like cabbage, carrots, kohlrabi, and beets await their turn in my kitchen. The kale, lettuce, leeks, eggplant, and bell peppers are upstairs in the kitchen refrigerator, so they get eaten first. The butternut squash likes a warmer environment for long keeping, so a box in the basement is perfect.
It’s hard for me to believe it’s the end of the growing season here. Some farmers have begun extending the season by using cold tunnels to grow salad greens and other cold-hardy crops, but for the most part, soon the fields I drive by regularly will be plowed under and put to bed, to rest and regroup until spring rolls around. It seems like a long time from now.
I love this time of year now that we are not in the back-to-school hullabaloo. But October never passes up a chance to throw a monkey wrench into our lives. Last year it was our car needing a lot of work to pass its inspection. A couple years before that, October had the audacity to drop a foot of snow on our heads before Halloween, causing power outages and road closures. This year, along with the planned chaos that is our kitchen remodel, the television has seen fit to lose its mind (and its picture). First World Problems, all. What I love about this time of year is its splendor; the sky seems bluer when punctuated by flaming orange, red, and yellow leaves, and even a gray, dreary day can’t mute those colors. I enjoy the change from shorts, t-shirts, and sandals to cuddly sweaters and hand-knit socks. These are also perfect dog-walking days, and Luna is the best companion, even at her most enthusiastic moments.
I have just enough time and vegetables to make one more summery, glorious ratatouille-style stew, served with chicken and rice, before the kitchen, and summer’s fields, are cleaned out, turned under, and prepared for a new season and a fresh start. It’s definitely time for a change.