Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Change of seasons

Last weekend ushered in the change of seasons as the earth shifted her balance from summer to fall. We spent the final day of summer engaged in activities that seemed appropriate – putting up more garden harvest, hauling and stacking more firewood, and putting away equipment we no longer need this season. 

We have never expected to grow all our food here. At this elevation it would be a nearly impossible task. But we do have some successes. The garlic and onion harvests are complete and dried and will supply all our needs for the coming year. 

As they ripen I’m roasting and freezing the summer squash, tomato and sweet peppers. We’ll have a good supply in the freezer but certainly not enough to get to next year’s crop. 

I tried winter squashes again this year without much luck. The plants took up half of our small greenhouse with the foliage but only produced about ten pounds of squash. Those are cured and stored. I don’t think I’ll try winter squash again – the nighttime temperatures here are just too cold to set fruit.

Both of our herbal gardens were very productive so we will have a great supply of both dried culinary herbs and extracts of medicinal herbs.

On Saturday, the first day of fall, we decided a short, scenic drive was in order. After considering a couple of destinations we settled on the little town of LaVeta mostly because we knew the back roads leading there would be a riot of fall colors and because we hadn’t been to LaVeta in years. We weren’t disappointed. The colors were stunning on Pass Creek Pass and LaVeta Pass (both over 9000’) and LaVeta has a great little deli with incredible sandwiches. It was a great way to welcome the autumnal equinox where for just a moment, the earth is in balance.


Monday, September 10, 2012

Fall is Near

The calendar may say its early September but nature says fall is near. I can feel it the moment I step out the door in the morning as the thermometer hovers in the low 40s. Later this week the weatherman is forecasting 37 degrees. 

But is more than just the temperature. Everything is preparing for the change of the seasons. Our hummingbird feeder still hangs but only a few female broad-tailed hummers remain. Around us the cottonwoods and aspens are already changing, probably 2 – 3 weeks early. Aspens at high elevations are in full color. The deer families are joining with others in preparation for the fall mating season. 

Our early morning walk always includes some yoga poses before heading home. Until lately, it was a time of peace and quiet. Now it is filled with the haunting sounds of the bull elk calling a challenge to others in the woods. 

We watch the creatures of the forest - chipmunks, squirrels, rabbits and more – scurrying about with the collection of food stores for winter. It reminds me that we too need to finish our collection of wood and food. 

Fall is usually a wonderful time as the summer monsoon season gives way to dry warm days and cool nights. But this summer was another dry one and drought conditions persist. We hope and pray that this fall and winter will bring great quantities of snow. The weather forecast is promising. 

In the meantime, we’ll follow our forest neighbor’s example and prepare. Fall is near.