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Talk about Frost

Backyard Apples
Backyard Apples

LAKE MACBRIDE— We are from a week to ten days from the first hard frost. Suddenly it’s time to clear the garden, make a brush pile, and cover the ground with what mulch there is. We’ll make a gleaning pass over the plots, and bring in everything that is ripe or can ripen to use this fall and winter. Cookery gradually turns from fresh and local to working out of the pantry and stores. There is a happy and sad part of the change in seasons.

The happy part is found in being born a city person. Working indoors part of the year comes naturally. As a child of the 1950s, reading, media consumption, writing, email, and social media fit in with a general outlook of being on an island in a complex sea of society. More than 60 years later, after a career in a competitive business, my core values are unshakable. They are a platform from which I can view society and plunge in when the time is right to engage in fights worth our blood and treasure.

The sad part is over the years, in our compound on the lake, I have become an outdoors person, and spring through fall is the best part of the year. That was particularly true this year when farm and yard work kept me outside much of the time. The outdoors part of the year is not finished, yet winter’s approach is unmistakable. Its time to roll up the garden hose in the garage and make sure the automobiles are winterized.

The season’s home canning is almost finished with 18 pints of “fallen apple butter.” After the recent storm, I picked up the fallen fruit (three types of apples and some pears missed during the harvest) and made them into a commemorative apple and pear butter. The only thing remaining to can will be some hot sauce with fall peppers (on the stove now), applesauce and perhaps some more canned tomatoes or a garden ends relish after the gleaning. Come November, it will be another plunge into the vortex of the holiday season, then starting anew in 2014.

The seasonal farm work is also winding down. I am finished at one farm, wrapping up at another on Thursday, and the work at the orchard ends after two more weekends. The time is right to consider what’s next in the cycle of life on earth.