Your Standard Fall Day Around Here

Geese are heading south. That’s what they do this time of year. We heard lots of them today. A flock honks its way overhead as I type this. We some a few large flocks of them as we did our things outdoors on this fine fall day.

Headed South, Passing Over Our House

Our neighbor came over this afternoon to mow the wet stretch of our field. We have had cattails galore, not to mention a crazy amount of purple loosestrife, plowing itself down the middle of the field since we moved in, and likely before that. We hired him to get a handle on it. The loosestrife will come back, but it we keep at it we might eventually keep it in check. Ideally the field dries out enough with the tall boys out of there that we can simply mow it and hay it.

Busting Out the Tracks for the Soggy Parts

After the Destruction

We took a walk out t see the effects of the crashing and slashing. We found a vole, hopping about, confused about what the heck just happened. Then we saw a mouse. We had a good look at both of these typically hiding critters as they tried to find a place to hide from the huge beasts on their turf. We also managed to see a small garter snake and a large frog. The latter was a bullfrog, and it was honkin’. Wildlife coming out of the woodwork, so to speak.

Um, Where Did my Habitat Go?

Yesterday we spent the afternoon at Shelburne Farms’s Harvest Festival. That always proves to be a fun event. We had corn on the cob–fire-roasted–and watched a play and took a hay ride and got some face painting and checked out the animals and ran into friends. We had a fine time and will go back again next year. On the way home we turned the corner to find the sun pouring down through a hole in the clouds.  It was, as you might imagine, stunning. So far, fall is off to an ideal start. No complaints here.

Busy at Shelburne Farms--Cars and Sheep and People

Bam! Fall Light in its Glory

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Making Pesto

We have, out in our garden, what I described to my lovely spouse as an insane amount of basil.  It has been, I admit, far too long since I have made pesto. I haven’t gotten around to it once school started and work kicked in and things just got busy. But now it is starting to go to flower, and we need a pesto fix, and we have an insane amount of basil in our garden. So this afternoon I picked and picked and made four double batches.

The first batch I popped into a glass vessel and saved for immediate consumption, meaning dinner tonight.

Batch number two I put into a freezer container–two cups–and stashed in the freezer for this winter.

I combined batches three and four into one 4-cup container and added it to the getting-full-with-summer-produce freezer as well.

So we will be good with pesto for a while, especially since, even though I picked 16 cups of basil leaves and made a half gallon of pesto, we still have an insane amount of basil in our garden. I will be able to make maybe two more gallons. That is just nuts. I know we can use basil for other things, but, um, why?

Here is my recipe:

Combine 4 cups basil leaves (washed and spun dry), 1/2 cup nuts (walnuts or cashews or pine nuts if you can find some) and two to four large garlic cloves in small pieces in a food processor; mix until well blended.

Add 1 1/2 cups shredded parmesan cheese and 1 teaspoon salt and process to blend.

With the food processor running, add 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (the good stuff–none of that light crap) until completely blended and smooth.

Makes two cups. This freezes well in a tight container.

Bon appetit and all that.

Spiders in the Morning

In the morning these days, the sun catches the light across the field. The nights are cool, and that means dew on the leaves. The milkweed and grasses and goldenrod are covered in beads of water.  And if you look when the sun is shining at just the right angle, you see the spider webs. The light only lasts a short time and then they disappear, but if you catch it right you can see them everywhere.

There are hundreds of them, stretched between stalks, glowing in the morning light, their creators waiting for things to dry so they can have breakfast caught the night before, or so they can repair the damage and try again. There are too many to count.

Gazillions of Webs

I have been looking at them up close and took a few photos. Some are whole and some are broken. Each is amazing, a geometric wonder, woven by tiny creatures we usually don’t even see.

This One Liked the Black-Eyed Susans

More Perfection

This One Took Some Hard Knocks

And I found an orb weaver. This one has been settled in the flowers for weeks. They like to hang in one place for a while. Check out the zig zag below her. And check out how cool this spider looks. Kind of a combination of “don’t mess with me” and “don’t like I look beautiful?” all in one.

Queen of Her Realm

More to Pick

Late Summer Bounty

I picked a few more things from our garden today.  The harvest is winding down but we do have more to pick.  I wanted some leaks for dinner (to start off the pumpkin soup) and I had to pick the zucchini before it got enormous. The cucumbers needed to be cut off the vine (they have been getting bitter quickly) and that pepper is going with the roasted potatoes. The melon was iffy.  I am hoping it is ripe as I want to serve it with dinner. If not we have a back up watermelon and a few slices from the last melon from our garden (tastes like candy).

Yet to go: three or four more melons, a few peppers, maybe a zucchini or two, a couple of cucumbers, cherry tomatoes out the wazoo, lots of leeks.  We have several green tomatoes still as well. That isn’t bad for September. And did I mention the basil? More pesto for the freezer (and for immediate consumption) is in the works. Like I said, not bad for September.

Fall Arrives

Yesterday we had one more shot of summer. It was hot, in the 80’s. Not so much today. Right now, with darkness settled over the house, rain falls.  It drips off the eave and taps the deck. It collects in the hollows of the field. It pools in the driveway and brushes the walls and trees. It is cool. Fall is here.

A couple of weeks ago I was fortunate to hike for three days on the long trail. It felt like fall up high. Leaves were starting to turn in spots. I had some heat but the nights were chilly. As the sun set on my first night, the last of the light caught a few maple leaves framed in the canopy. They were bright from the setting sun, and brighter still in their lack of chlorophyl.

Fall Framed in August

This rain is not unlike the rain I heard on my last night. As I climbed up and over Mount Mansfield (my first time up there in almost 20 years in Vermont), fog blew in. I did not get much of a view. I waited up there for an hour or so, and caught a few glimpses of the scene below, but mostly I saw white.

The "View" Northwest

That afternoon it rained a little here and there and then rained more heavily at night. I had thought that I might climb back up in the morning if it had cleared, but no go. So I headed down.

It rains again now, more heavily than when I started writing this. The nights are cooler. The days are shorter. Leaves change. Fall nudges summer out.