Autumn Transition

Everyone should be so blessed that they experience four distinct seasons at least once in their lifetime. Having grown up in a climate where shorts are worn year ‘round, in New England, I never tire of watching the transformation from season to season. We’ve been blessed this year with a perfect fall…sunny and relatively warm, perfect for late harvesting before the garden’s put to bed for a winter’s nap. While things aren’t as lush and green as summer, there’s still so much beauty, and still so much to do!

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Fall comes gradually…first it isn’t that noticeable.

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We notice less frogs. This little guy sat on our window everyday for weeks, grabbing his dinner...

We notice less warm weather creatures. This little guy sat on our window everyday for weeks, grabbing his dinner…

And we notice more spiders. No, that's not a Halloween decoration.

And we notice more spiders. No, that’s not a Halloween decoration.

Then the leaves start to change.

The first leaf of fall...

The first leaf of fall…

 

Yellow leaves against an October blue sky

Yellow leaves against an October blue sky

The baby deer we cooed about in summer...

The baby deer we cooed about in summer…

...are now grown, their coats getting darker and thicker.

…are now grown, their coats getting darker and thicker.

This month is a time of transition. While I still see green, the garden is mingled with the last bit of color before frost sets in, and everything turns to brown.

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The last of the cutting garden

The last of the cutting garden

The windmill catches an October breeze, while seed pods provide energy for birds ready to fly south.

The windmill catches an October breeze, while seed pods provide energy for birds ready to fly south.

We see fewer and fewer tomatoes, until the last ones hold their green. The “cold weather crops” of lettuce, kale, and snow peas have been planted. I’m harvesting the potatoes I planted earlier in the summer. Being married to a Dane, we eat lots of potatoes. Before planting time, I take any store-bought potatoes that we don’t get to eat before starting to sprout, storing them in the cool garage. When it’s planting time, I plant them in the ground, sometimes hidden behind prettier herbs. I know it’s time to harvest the new potatoes when the plants start to look spent. This method does not work with conventional potatoes; one needs to purchase an organic variety. This year I have both red and white potatoes growing in my gardens. Nothing smells so earthy and good as a freshly dug up potato!

Potatoes grown from sprouts

Potatoes grown from sprouts

I also bring some of the outdoors in. Can you guess what plant this is?

IMG_9398-001It’s a poinsettia, left over from Christmas! Usually thrown out after the holidays, this one stayed in our home all year, until the warmer weather arrived. Poinsettias are actually tropical plants, so after trimming it down, I put it outside in May. It was a beautiful, potted plant with full foliage the whole season. Now that temperatures at night can dive into the thirties, I’ve brought it inside again. To get it to bloom those beautiful red blooms in time for Christmas, it will need eight weeks of at least fourteen hours of total darkness, enjoying full sun during the day, sitting on my desk in the window.

In addition to potted herbs like rosemary, there’s a few other plants I bring in the house to winter. Last October, my daughter won a blue ribbon and “Best In Show” at the 4-H County Fair for her Black Dragon Coleus plant. We’ve just brought it back indoors again until it can go back outside next spring.

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It’s also a time to finish canning! A dear friend gave me a basket full of pears picked right from her yard, which I processed into Spiced Pears.

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Do you dry or dehydrate foods with a dehydrator? I recently bought a dehydrator from a friend (a score at only $10.00)! She never used it; I’m hooked! So far I’ve dried apples, oranges, and lemons, as well as drying herbs from the herb garden everyday. Basil, oregano, parsley, mint, and sage- home-dried is so much tastier and fresher than dried herbs from a store. I can’t wait to make my Thanksgiving turkey, seasoned with my own blend of homegrown herbs!

Sage

Sage

Mint

Mint

As most of summer’s blooms fade, a few flowers hold their color a little while longer.IMG_9397

The zinnias are still brightening the beds.

The zinnias are still brightening the beds.

The calendula seeds I planted surprised me by blooming this week.

The calendula seeds I planted surprised me by blooming this week.

A last little bee tries to hold onto summer...

A last little bee tries to hold onto summer…

Mums and pumpkins brighten the outdoors.

My favorite fall mums are orange.

My favorite fall mums are orange.

Halloween decorations come out. My daughter and I recently spent a rainy, blustery Saturday watching spooky movies and sewing. I made a new table runner and some fun Halloween throw pillows. Don’t you love the vintage Halloween Postcard fabric? It’s printed with vintage artwork by Ellen Clapsaddle (1865 – 1934). Her images, once gracing many a postcard, are still found in clip art, reproduction greeting cards, and other items. Having witnessed the ravages of war, caught right in the middle of WWI, when she died she was in a terrible state. I find that sad and ironic, as her art is so whimsical and happy.

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We’ve had a few cold snaps, with just enough chill to light up the wood burning stove a few times. (With hard, long winters, in Connecticut we try for “No heat ’til Turkey meat”)! I’m actually looking forward to a break from outdoor chores, shorter days, and cozy evenings with something delicious warming on the stove. Change can be good!

Pip adds, "Autumn brings good snuggle weather, too!"

Pip adds, “Autumn brings good snuggle weather, too!”

Until Next Time…Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

 

Leave a comment 24 Comments

  1. CR LAGROUE says:

    Nice blog….Love the pictures!!

  2. Joan says:

    Super rendition of Fall. The pictures are really wonderful.

  3. denise says:

    I’ve never thought about dehydrating food but you just made me want to do it! love the flower pictures too and of course Pip!

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Denise! I wanted a dehydrator to make dried fruit for wreaths and things (thinking of apples) but we are using it for all sorts of things. Dry apples and toss with a little cinnamon sugar for a treat! Thanks for commenting. Let me know if you get a dehydrator and how it goes. Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  4. bonnie b says:

    Hi Nicole,
    Enjoyed your post as usual. I just want to tell you that after reading the post when your Dad came for a visit and unplugged your sink, I looked for one of those little inexpensive dodads, found one and was so pleased with my results. Thanks for telling us about it. And thank your Dad!

  5. Loved your post, Nicole. I’ve never dehydrated herbs – I need to do that next year. Don’t know why I haven’t. Oh, they will be lovely through the winter. One thing I really want to do is grow potatoes. I need to research it a bit and learn how! I’ve steered away from it because it always seemed intimidating; isn’t that ridiculous? I’m going to do it next year! My cut flowers are still going strong here in Middle Tennessee… but probably for only a few more weeks. I miss them when they are gone. :-( I think orange mums are my favorite too! – Dori, Ranch farm girl! –

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Dori! Thanks so much! I think next year I will start earlier with the herbs, so I have a great supply for all winter. Planting potatoes is really easy…when it is planting time, take your sprouted spuds and pop them right in the dirt. The plants will grow, and then when they look spent, start digging! It’s like hunting for buried treasure. Today the crazy weather got up to 75! Earlier in the week, we were in the thirties, and had the wood stove burning! I took advantage of the warmth and dug up ten poundsof potatoes! I have red and white, and oh, they smell so good! Hope you are all doing okay with the wicked weather that has been moving through your way. I phoned my mom first thing this morning to check on her (she’s in Georgia). Take care, and enjoy those cut flowers! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  6. CJ Armstrong says:

    Love the photos! Thanks for sharing! Fall is my favorite season!
    Hope your family is doing well!
    CJ

  7. Marge Hofknecht says:

    What a delightful post! I enjoy the changing seasons, too. It’s fun taking note of what’s different today than what it was a week ago. Watching a “v” of birds going south, seeing trees brightening with autumn colour day by day, feeling that brisk chill in the morning air – yep, it’s good to be alive and to be able just to enjoy God’s handiwork.
    Thanks for sharing your beautiful photographs!

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Marge, thank you! I agree…it’s neat to see everything turn. When it is 100 degrees out and so very hot, it’s hard to imagine us waist-deep in snow, but it happens each year. Then when everything is grey and brown for so long, it’s hard to imagine I’ll be outside planting soon. Each season truly is a gift. Thanks for “stopping by”! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  8. Rose says:

    Love the fresh cut flowers and Halloween pillow! Both are Beautiful! Congratulations to Audrey on winning the 4H Ribbon and Best in Show. I enjoyed reading your article on all the fall weather, animals, and flowers. I have never seen an orange spider, yikes!

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Rose! Thank you! As for the spider…he was not only orange but HUGE, too! EEEeeek! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  9. Beverly Battaglia says:

    Nicole, I love the pictures too. I was there when the mother doe and twins came out onto your yard so I still have the picture on my phone. The orange mums are beautiful. You grew these in your garden? And when my grandfather in Arkansas took me on his farm to dig up fresh potatoes I was ten years old. I will never forget the wonderful earthy aroma. You really have a lot of great comments on this blog. Good one, and I did not know poinsettias were a tropical plant.

    Love, Mother

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      The family of deer were so cute, and became “regulars” here all summer. Love the story of the potatoes; guess digging in the earth runs in my blood! Love you, Nicole

  10. Deb Bosworth says:

    Hi Nicole!
    Loved your Fall blog! It so describes our New England ” Autumn Transitions” to a T! Your flowers are beautiful, and how fun for your daughter to win a ribbon for her coleus plant! She looks thrilled! I haven’t tried dehydrating food yet either. My big try this year will be pasta and pizza sauce made from scratch. I’ve got bags and bags of frozen maters in the frig! We aren’t danish, but we love our potatoes too! We’ve been busy with a big house DIY project so I haven’t gotten my Fall on yet. Your post put me in the mood! Thank you and blessings to your little family, pip too! Farmgirl Hugs, Deb aka Beach Farmgirl.

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Morning, Deb! Thanks so much! I haven’t tried making fresh pasta yet…you will have to let me know how it goes! For pizza sauce, I haven’t canned it, but I do make homemade pizza sauce in small batches, using one or two cups for a homemade pizza, then freezing two small canning jars (with plastic lids) in the freezer. The next time, I don’t have to make sauce. I defrost and use on the pizza. Tastes great! I have to hop over to your blog and see what all you are up to! Big Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  11. Holly Kamal says:

    Beautiful pictures.I really miss the change of seasons living in Houston.Mums are one of my favorites.I have them in my garden.

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Holly, I do love the four seasons here…but growing up in Houston now I miss having so many sunny days, too! It can get very grey for long stretches of time. And barbeque! Oh I miss a good chopped beef sandwich smothered in Texas barbeque sauce! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  12. Portia says:

    How interesting, Nicole! Love those gorgeous pic, too. Aren’t dehydrators wonderful?

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Thanks, Portia! I do love my dehydrator…I can’t believe it took me so long to get one! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

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