The temperatures have been cold these past few nights, but my marigolds and dianthus are still alive and kicking! I love the juxtaposition of pumpkins and summer annuals, similar coloring even though normally they inhabit different seasons. The leaves are falling at such a brisk pace, the strong winds over the past few days have laid out carpets of red, brown and yellow everywhere, on roads and front yards. The surrounding mountains are looking a bit naked, but the ground is very colorful. Autumn is definitely making a bold statement right now.
Fall has shown its face in my garden, boo hoo. Don’t get me wrong, the colors are beautiful, I’m happy to have them. I suppose I’m railing at what comes with fall, cooler temperatures and shorter days. We went food shopping earlier, the apples have taken center stage in the produce aisle, I haven’t yet had my fill of nectarines, I want more time with my favorite fruit. I shouldn’t wallow in regrets over a fading season.
There are ways to turn a frown upside down, I could cheer myself up with visions of homemade apple tarts, warm pain aux raisins out of the oven and pots of hearty soup. You can’t stop the passage of time, so why not try to find the best out of what time deems suitable to give you.
Stanley was being so cute, he is definitely a ham for the camera, I took his picture because he wasn’t letting me do otherwise. Each picture taken at ground level had to be retaken a few times, because Stanley inserted his paw or his head into the frame, it was very funny.
Mother Nature never disappoints, when I came outside to document the naked trees, the fading colors and the abundance of fallen leaves everywhere, I didn’t expect to see my spring perennial with two white flowers or my purple azalea hiccup two final blossoms.
Instead of inspiring me to write or take pictures, the colorful carpet of leaves across the entire backyard used to fill me with dread, the thought of all that raking and bagging, ugh. On the bright side those days are long gone, ever since I read that raking and bagging leaves is unnecessary, leaving them to decompose naturally throughout the long winter does wonders for your lawn and keeps our landfills empty of plastic bags and rotting leaves by the tons.
I was looking forward to my clematis blooming and I wasn’t disappointed, though I wish the blooms were facing my backyard and not towards the neighbors. I’m sure they don’t mind the pretty flowers on they way to their backyard. Autumn is well on its way here in Blandford. Today we closed the pool, so that is one less item to worry about and the grass was cut, probably for the last time this year.
If you look closely at the picture of my hydrangea, you’ll see little Stanley with his head in one of my hostas. He really likes my plants, he is a tiny thing so I don’t worry, but come next spring, he will almost be a different dog, more like a canine toddler. I’ll definitely be worrying for my poor plants then, that’s for sure lol.
Actually back to my clematis, I put the protection up around it, far too late to save the first clematis, but next year I may get blooms in early spring as well as late summer. How exciting!
We haven’t even gotten to Halloween and I’m already planning for spring.. What am I to do with myself? This weekend I am going to make a butternut squash soup, that should put me in the mood to embrace autumn and all of its gifts.
I love a fire, but I wish it wasn’t necessary already, I could use a few more weeks of warm weather. Today it was 55 degrees and rainy, chilly and wet, not a comfortable combination. Thank goodness for my mother’s soup!
The spectacular New England foliage drama is starting and the next few weeks will be delightful, driving to and fro from Blandford to New York and to Boston, I am going to be witness to the golds, reds, yellows and light greens, a splash of glorious colors boldly painted everywhere.
It is getting chillier and I wanted to take some nice pictures of the plants that are still looking very pretty during the last nice days. The weather forecast for next weekend is a little disheartening, they are predicting potential snow showers, jumpstarting the winter season.
I saw my first Christmas commercial, noooooo! It is way too early, the Christmas music, it was a Target commercial, was hurting my ears and the tinsel, glitter and bells were hurting my eyes.
I much prefer a slower and less relentless marketing campaign. It is way too early.
Irrespective of the warm weather, my plants are curling up in preparation of a long winter’s sleep. It makes me sad, I have always hated letting go of summer and I think that I may be a sufferer of seasonal doldrums. The decline in sunlight hours does a number on me. The saving grace for me exists in the kitchen, hearty soups, lasagna, chicken pot pie, all of these wonderfully comforting dishes help banish the winter blues in a big way. I shouldn’t forget all the baking that the future holidays bring to mind such as my dear friend Mary’s annual Christmas cookie swap. I have a lot to look forward to these next few months.
However in the meantime, I will continue enjoying the last vestiges of my garden and all of the gorgeous colors that the cooler weather is bringing to my backyard. I am so very lucky to be able to wake up and see all of the autumnal majesty of the Berkshire mountains right here, up close and personal.
Butternut squash soup is one of our favorites and I found the best recipe in an excellent recipe book dedicated to vegetable lovers called the Gardener’s Community Cookbook. The recipe is very simple and I think that I have written about it before; as you can see, it calls for roasted butternut squash, roasted garlic cloves,,diced onions, thyme, sage, both fresh and dried, with chicken stock of course to make it soupy. That is what makes it so easy, the oven does most of the heavy lifting, once the butternut squash is roasted after an hour at 375 degrees, you scoop it out and add it to the sautéed onions that are translucent and you squeeze the roasted garlic out of their skins and after, I let this simmer for a few minutes, stirring all the while, this is when I add the chicken stock and the dried thyme and sage. After that I leave my soup alone to simmer and after a half hour I add the fresh herbs.
One of the best things about making soup at home is how wonderful the house smells while you wait for the soup to fully develop its flavors. I seriously recommend the Gardener’s Community Cookbook to anyone who likes vegetables and is sometimes at a loss as to how to make them in new ways. I love vegetables, but I need help when it comes to making them sometimes, because I have a habit of falling into ruts and while that doesn’t bother me at all, it does get boring for the rest of my family.
Our son just got back from his band’s tour and the first thing that he asked for is a bowl of whatever smells so delicious. So I am finishing this post so that I can ladle up a nice hot bowl of roasted butternut squash soup for my son.
Last year, I wrote about my lilac bush in the far back that surprised me with new sprigs of lilac late in the autumn season. I thought that it was a fluke, a one time thing. Funny enough, I had to go down to Westfield this morning and as I was driving back, I thought about the lilac bush and I wondered if that weird anomaly would happen again. Guess what, it did! When I got home, I walked Jack for a mile, ate my favorite lunch; smoked salmon with whipped cream cheese on cracked black pepper water crackers and then I vacuumed the pool. After I had finished vacuuming the pool and as I was putting the hose away, I looked up and there they were, sprigs of lilac glistening in the sun in the midst of the fading and browning leaves.
After I snapped a few pictures, I turned to go back inside and I noticed that the pink roses were still looking happy, especially happy since the Japanese Beetles have not bothered them since it has gotten cooler; the same with my red roses, they are looking all self confident, without a care in the world since those pesky Japanese Beetles fled town with the cooler nights.
This week for being the first week of autumn is setting out to be magnificent, five solid days of 70 degree days and 50 degree nights, can’t complain about that for anything.
Today my hubby, the baby boy and I went for a nice drive in the countryside towards Great Barrington, the foliage was magnificent to look at, when we got to Great Barrington, I walked past a beautiful garden and I knew that I had to take a picture to remember it for myself so that I can keep that inspiration for next spring when it comes to planting time. What I had seen is precisely what I had imagined for my garden to look like as a “finished” project, not that a garden is ever finished. My job is to find out what plants those are and make it a point to get them for next year starting in May. I may not be able to plant them until June but at least I’ll be able to keep them in the garage until I am ready to plant them.
Pretty isn’t it, that is exactly what I want for the front of my house during the autumn season, one of these years I might get there with proper planning, care, maintenance and patience.