Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Autumn Finally!

Fall is here, and not a moment too soon. Hard to believe that back in February and March, I couldn't wait for summer. Now I've had enough. I'm tired of mosquitoes, weeds, and air conditioning bills. I'm tired of daily shaving. I'm sick of salad, I'm sick of tomatoes, I'm sick of popsicles dripping on the floor. Time for chili, turkey dressing and gravy, and hot cocoa with shot of Amaretto.

People around here decorate their yards for autumn. This year I joined the crowd, since I had so much raw material. Here's my front yard (yeah, I know, I need to mow the sidewalk). This cost me zip. Even the seeds to grow this stuff were saved from last year. Several folks in this neighborhood put their harvest out near the road, hoping to sell some extra pumpkins. The going price in my neighborhood is a dollar for a large pumpkin, 50¢ for a small one. One day I came home to find my best pumpkin gone. Instead, I found a rock with a dollar underneath!

From all reports, the harvest was good everywhere this year. Otherwise, we wouldn't be selling pumpkins for 50¢. Carol Anne blogged about her neighbor's zucchini, plentiful and larger than her dog. Why do people grow zucchini anyway? I still have way too many cherry tomatoes out there, and four kinds of peppers. I can't even GIVE the stuff away anymore! You can only use so many peppers, but I learned that mixing pepper seeds with birdseed will keep the squirrels away, and the birds don't mind at all. Cutting open a ton of peppers is a hassle, but it will be worth it in January. At least I keep telling myself that.

I won't miss mowing the lawn. The only flat place on my place was given to tomatoes. Here's a video of what you can do with your mower in the off season. Autumn has its own chores. I need to clean the house to find places for all those houseplants that have been growing out of control on the porch all summer. I also need to take up the gardens, stow the plastic mulch, and sow winter wheat for a cover crop. All the old plants will go in the compost. I am a serious composter. Here's my composting theme song. I don't rake leaves. Thats what kids are for. Gotta find something for them to do while I take up the garden. If they get too deep, I just run over them with the lawnmower (um... the leaves, not the kids). The mower has a bagger, because I AM a SERIOUS composter.

The top ten signs you've hired the wrong kid to rake your leaves:
10. He charges you by the leaf.
9. Keeps asking where he should plug in the rake.
8. Picks up leaves one at a time, dips them in nacho cheese and eats them.
7. Says, "This'll just take a minute," and starts soaking your lawn with gasoline.
6. Your neighbor calls and asks, "Who's that naked guy chasing my dog with your rake?"
5. Half an hour after he starts, you notice he's sitting on your back porch.
4. You recognize his work gloves from the O.J. Simpson trial.
3. Comes to your door and says, "I've had a long talk with the leaves, and they've decided to stay."
2. Constantly reminding you that he used to be famous for those 'Home Alone" movies.
1. His motto: "Rake a leaf, do a shot."

The serious will to live in the plant kingdom amazes me. My gardening scheme involves "survival of the fittest", which seems to work fine. Last fall, my kids harvested tons of flower seeds, but failed to get most of them inside. Some morning glory seeds fell through the cracks (literally) on the back stairs concrete. No soil, and no water, since the canopy overhangs here.

I love October. The weather is the best of the year, the temperatures are pleasant, the house gets aired out, and the mountains look awesome.

Send someone a greeting to celebrate autumn! Or you can just moon them. Or find a lame autumn joke. And while you're squashing your squash or pumping your pumpkin, remember the Vegetable Rights Association may be watching.

Thought for today: Divide the circumference of a pumpkin by its diameter and get pumpkin pi.

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