Changing Weather Changes Life

Well, since we’ve been pretty “writerly” here these last several weeks, I thought

Harvest Bounty

I’d lean back, stretch, and natter about a few of those “nothing too much” things that all together make up Life.

It’s definitely autumn here in New Mexico.  We had a minor frost about two weeks ago and a solid killing frost right on a week ago.  Fortunately, we’d been watching the weather, so we got just about everything ripe enough to harvest in before the cold ruined it.

The incredibly hot summer, coming on the heels of a cooler than usual spring, didn’t make for our best garden ever.  We lost most of our squash earlier than usual and the basil (I grow green, cinnamon, and lemon) struggled all season.  I’ll have enough to make pesto, but I think I’ll be augmenting with arugula which handles moderate cold temperatures well and so is still fat and sassy.

However, after an early season of producing fruit that could have auditioned for a role in some 1950’s horror flick, we ended up getting a good tomato harvest.  We didn’t get enough to freeze a lot, but plenty for good tomato salads.  We then used some of the unripened tomatoes to make a couple batches of my grandmother’s green tomato relish recipe.

Well, make that “almost” her recipe.  Grandma’s recipe called for bell peppers, but since we always grow jalapeños and we always have surplus, a few years ago we started substituting.  The end result is a hot/sweet relish that makes ham sandwiches and tuna salad absolutely dance.

What else?  Well, Jim’s folks came for a visit last weekend.  Of course, Life had to step in.  Just a few hours before going to the airport to pick them up, Jim discovered that the power was out in both bathrooms.  Just what you want right before guests arrive, right?  Well, we got electricians in and they fixed it, departing something like ten minutes before Jim had to go to the airport.

Our weekend plans included a visit to Weems Art Fest, our favorite arts and crafts festival and where we take care of a lot of our holiday shopping.  As someone who tries to make a living from being creative, I like to support those who are also following that dream, even if the medium is different.

I also really respect Mary Ann Weems, who runs the festival because every year she donates a large amount of space to various animal rescue charities – and raises funds for several other charities as well.  I’m certain she could find more than enough artists to fill the area, but instead she gives room to various groups, including Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary.  Now that I think about it, the first time I met a wolf up close and personal, it was at one of these art fests.  The picture of me and Raven that adorns several of the Firekeeper novels was taken at an art fest, too.

So autumn is definitely here and, in typical New Mexico fashion, reminding us that winter is coming on strong.  After a year that has included both record highs and lows in temperatures, chokingly strong smoke from forest fires, and a lot of disruptions of our home routine, I’m ready for a quiet and creative time with normal weather.

Wonder if I’ll get it.  Anybody want to place a bet?


7 Responses to “Changing Weather Changes Life”

  1. Alan Robson Says:

    Ah! Autumn — my favourite time of the year. So pretty. We’re leaving it behind now of course and we are well into spring, with summer just around the corner. I’m dreaming of a hot sunny christmas on the beach. Bing Crosby was wrong!

    I’m not a gardener — there is no produce from my garden in my kitchen. But nevertheless I still appreciate the fruits of the season. It’s asparagus season now and the supermarkets are full of it. My favourite vegetable (I could live on it). Actually I do. Last saturday when I went to do the weekly shop, I asked Robin, “What would you like with your asparagus for dinner tonight?” This saturday we have friends coming for dinner. I’m sure I’ll think of something to cook that I can serve as an accompaniment to the asparagus main course…


  2. CBI Says:

    We thought we’d lost our tomatoes this year, but near the end of August, we turned up the irrigation and — we were inundated. Three plants totally overwhelmed us. Just before the first frost, we cleared the plants of all tomatoes, putting the green ones covered in a dark room, where many have now ripened. Lots of tomato salads these past few weeks (a favorite of mine). My wife has a superb fried green tomato recipe that I’m looking forward to sampling again.

    Asparagus. Also a favorite. When we lived in Michigan, we used to gather wild asparagus in the ditches next to the road: good food at low cost, which helped my mom when there was still month left at the end of the food money. Never had it as a main dish, but it is a high treat at our holiday feasts.

  3. Nicholas Wells Says:

    Based on your luck to date…. eh, 3/1 odds against. 😀 (just kidding)

    Still, this is kind of the transition for a lot of people. Things are turning cold. AC units are being traded for heaters – gas or otherwise. Shops are preparing for the Christmas shopping season, and the Coachella Valley is doubling in population (I’m not kidding. All the snow birds come here).

    Here’s hoping my odds are wrong. And I hope the visit from the family worked out anyway.

  4. Other Jane Says:

    We had such a wet spring that it really slowed everything down. Then that was followed by an early hot summer. We don’t plant much of a garden – usually tomatoes and a few herbs. Most years, I can’t get basil to grow and get tons of tomatoes. This year the stinkbugs ate most of the tomatoes and I had lots of basil. My favorite is a tomatoe sandwich or salad with fresh basil. I can’t seem to get a surplus of both at one time. I hardly even had any parsley this year.

    Something about this years weather really muted the usually brilliant fall colors we have in PA. Mid October is usually just spectacular and leaves are gone by early November. But this year we have mostly muted colors with some still pretty trees this late in the fall.

    It’s nice you had a visit with Jim’s parents.

  5. Paul Says:

    Autumn is supposed to be Ray Bradbury’s favorite time of the year. He’s set a lot of his stories at that time. One of his collections was even titled “The October Country.” So autumn must have its charms.

  6. janelindskold Says:

    I love asparagus… I could see building meals around it.

    We also harvested tomatoes while still green, but I’ve found that if they haven’t at least started turning on the vine (and the faintest blush does count) then they may redden but they won’t have as good a flavor.

    Basically, when we’re done with our harvest, we go without fresh tomatoes until next summer. There’s one exception… Our guinea pig, Copper, will become despondent if she can’t have tomato, so we buy her a couple each week.

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