My Favorite Time of the Year

It seems like it’s been a long, hot summer. At last, a cold front is moving in, after days with temperatures in the 80s reached nearly a week into October. Forecasters expect nighttime temps this weekend to dip into the thirties. I’m more than ready.

Gardening season extends longer here than in Nebraska. My pantry is once again full of home-canned goodies. This year’s tomato plants looked sparse, even scraggly, at least in the leaf department, but we harvested plenty for using fresh and preserving. My pantry is bulging with quarts of whole tomatoes and pints of diced tomatoes and salsa.

I’ve been a gardener for over half a century. When I was in my early twenties, a friend in Idaho showed me how to preserve my home-grown produce and, ever since then, I’ve canned, dried, and frozen fruits, veggies, and much more. One of my upcoming essays profiles that mentor, the things she taught me, and how it impacted my life.

October is time to batten down the hatches, to get ready for winter. We’ll finish putting the garden to bed, cut and stack some firewood, and mulch the flower beds. I’m already griping about the shortening days since there’s so much to do outdoors.

But the best of fall is yet to come . . . the leaves are just starting to turn here. I look forward to doing some serious leaf-peeping in the very near future. The picture is one I took in 2018, during my first Appalachian autumn.

Wishing you all a very happy fall!

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