As autumn descends on upon the wee house on the high desert, the weekend has brought a certain amount of melancholy and some disappointment. The best thing about these emotions is that they are firmly rooted in my own efforts and shortcomings.
The garden this year has been a source of joy and labor, of hope and in a year of odd weather, of missteps. The beans? A great year; very grateful we have been for that bounty. The squash and melons have grown better and in more variety than we've been able to coax for years. Carrots and beets have been good to have straight from the earth. There's been both plenty of success and a few long-earned lessons from this year's growth.
On the other hand, partially because of the the uncommonly wet, cool season, well half of the tomatoes have stunted or failed to flourish, and as is usual for us, those that are coming along are on a headlong course with disaster or bounty, depending on when the first hard frost arrives. Peas? Almost none. That's chalked up to the learning curve and poor decisions, as well. The corn, though growing well, has had timing problems as well; it didn't make it into the ground quite on time to coincide with the hottest time of the summer and pollination cycles. For all of the florid growth, there is only about three quarters of the usual yield, and of that yield, the ears are three quarters size and about three quarters to half the kernels. The seeds were placed too close together as well, so that undoubtedly contributed to the poor pollination and per-stalk yield. The new variety we tried this year, an heirloom, has a very short window of tenderness. We seem to have missed about three quarters of the window waiting to get some more growth. Ah well, the whole situation's not exactly unexpected, but 'tis a punch in the gut. We'll continue to enjoy what we pull off, nevertheless.
In wandering about the house strategizing preparations for winter, there is much to do in order to be ready, as usual. I've put off chimney sweeping, at least one more load of wood and a big load of coal, new tops for the wood and coal bins, window cleaning, at least one new storm door, and a much-needed surrender to convention, a furnace to replace the aging ventless heater so as to preserve our mini-chimney (and as much of my sanity as can be spared) for as long as possible and to get rid of what Drie sees as a source of some winter health problems. Lots to get done, and I'm pretty good at finding other things that I need to do, like run away for the afternoon...
But time moves forward. With that change and exertion comes some good; new snow for next spring's gestation, a new angle of repose for sunlight that enters my eyes, and the opportunity to see how much I can get done before it's too late, by any account. There is some hope that I can pull away from at least a few of my shortcomings over the next few months, anyway.