Figs and Chestnuts: Fall Transitions


Clarissa Sligh

Summer has ended, the garden is not a pretty picture but birds love the sunflower seeds and bees love the holy basil (tulsi) plants, which we dry out for tea. By now though, most of the birds that I listen to during spring and summer mornings have headed south. I will miss their calls and conversations.

One of my favorite things is eating sweet little cherry tomatoes while pulling up nearby weeds. So sorry it’s the end of the season for them too. From now until next summer I will be settling for “the memory of tomatoes” while buying them from the grocer. However, we froze about 30 quarts of tomatoes from our crop of Amish Paste and Homestead tomatoes to use for sauces and soups. Plus we’ll use Ellen’s recipe to make marinara sauce from those now ripening in the kitchen window.

A new experience-Yellow Dog Vomit Fungus, marching around the yard. Really yucky.

This summer was especially good for marigolds, black-eyed susans, zinnias, roses carrots, and tomatoes. They were beautiful. The doves ate all the spinach seed sprouts.

During the spring, we realized that we lost our fig tree, Eleanor, to the harshness of the winter. She’s coming back beautifully after being cut down to the ground. I really miss her figs – not being able to go to the yard and pick some for breakfast or share them with friends. “Fresh” figs from the store don’t taste the same. Since I’ve eaten the sweet purple brown figs from Eleanor, I know the “real deal” and have not been able to bring myself to settle for less. Now walnuts, acorns, and chestnuts are falling on the roof and all over the ground in numbers that we haven’t seen since being here. “The locals” tell me it means to expect another harsh winter. Will prepare protection for Eleanor this time.

This past weekend, I put in seedlings for red leaf lettuce, arugula, kale and collard greens along with maroon mums and purple pansies. A first for me was getting them in the ground on the same day I brought them home from the nursery – in the past, weeks have gone by.

Time to take the hummingbird feeder down.