When my sister and I were younger, my parents would sit in the hallway between our two bedrooms and read to us before we went to sleep. We could not even think of touching our heads to a pillow before starting this ritual, and the four of us tore through the first few Harry Potter books like green sparks shooting out of a wand.
Before Harry Potter, there was Laura Ingalls Wilder. And thank God for that lady. She taught us so much about growing up in nature, the importance of sharing molasses snow candy with your baby sister, the necessity of choosing easy pet names for your mother and father such as Ma and Pa. She especially informed us about how to prepare (or get through unprepared) for a very long, very hopeless, very cold South Dakota winter.
Last week, I tried to clean up the yard a little. The end-of-summer was a hard one. My landlord’s husband and his construction men spent weeks redoing the upstairs unit in late August into September, and one afternoon I came home to them ripping out my climbing morning glories and tearing up my squash vines. Some passive aggressive door slamming did not make me feel better, so I still harbor bad feelings. Also, devil squirrels chewed up the remaining two butternut squash gourds, so it’s been an emotional goodbye to fall soups and stews using my own squash. It’s very easy to buy, so not a terrible loss. But c’mon guys.
But so it goes. Gardening in the middle of a city and getting to cook and eat the food we grow gives me a lot of joy. But there are also downsides to trying to maintain life in a place as (dare I say this) self-absorbed as D.C. The people, the squirrels and the weather just don’t understand or appreciate the same things as me.
I did collect a bountiful harvest of fresh herbs while I was pulling the dried up tomato plants and stacking pots under the stairs. Preparing for the winter by hanging them to dry placed me in the mindset of Ma, Pa, Laura, Mary and dear little baby Carrie in their cozy log cabin. Much like us, they didn’t know the danger of the weather to come (global warming might take us all this year).
Happy fall, everyone! Hope you’re enjoying the pumpkin spice, bright leaves, cool scarf weather and hot apple cider as much as I am.