I’ve got another “F” post coming along, but there’s been just enough of a change in the weather that I’m really wanting to write F is for Fall today.
It’s August. Until earlier this week, it was very much deep summer – the drought had broken (ish), in the city at least, and we were getting rain again, but it was still hot, humid and glorious.
Then the nights turned chilly and I found myself needing extra blankets on the bed, wanting hot chocolate-chai lattes instead of rhubarb spritzers. I picked up my knitting.
I picked up my knitting.
Now that is a sure sign of a seasonal change.
It may, I’m willing to argue, be a symptom of the two-week temp job I’ve taken, working for an air conditioning company (that, natch, keeps their offices on the chilly side). And I’d lay money that the early loss (and turning) of the leaves around here is due to the effects of the drought rather more than the turning of the seasons. But I find that, if I’m starting to knit again, that means that, at the very least, Summer is winding down and – more often – Autumn is truly upon us.
My thoughts – which have been occupied with the harvest since some time around Summer Solstice – are turning to slow-cooked stews, soup stocks, fresh-baked bread, apple pies, and the kind of cooking that fills the house with hours of aromas and, not to put too fine a point on it, heat.
I keep eyeing my cherry tomato plant and wondering if I should just make a batch of green tomato pickles (like the one offered here) with the last of them:
Green cherry-tomato pickles (marginally modified from Food in Jars recipe)
1 C unripe (green) cherry tomatoes
3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
3 tbsp water
1 tsp salt
1 tsp dill seed
1 garlic clove
5 whole black pepper corns
1 bay leaf
1 sprig of basil (about 2″ long – if the stem is a little woody, that’s great)
1 sliver candied ginger (about ½” x ¼”)
Pierce cherry tomatoes with a fork a couple of times
Sterilize a 1C mason jar in a boiling-water/steam bath
Into the jar, place the dill, garlic, pepper, and bay leaf
Fill the jar the rest of the way with pierced green cherry tomatoes
In a (very) small pot, combine the cider vinegar, water, and salt
Bring vinegar solution to a (speedy) boil
Pour vinegar solution over the tomatoes, cap the jar, and process it in a boiling-water/steam bath for 5-10 minutes
Allow to cool on a wire rack – you’ll hear the “plunk” as it seals
Hah. And yet. In spite of all this, of course, we’re expecting 30-degree Celsius temperatures this weekend, and my young lady and I are going Naked Camping in order to enjoy it.
We’ve been having a slightly wacky year – the drought, yes, but also the coresponding stress on the local fruit trees meaning that they’re all pushing to get their fruit ripened before they dehydrate completely. The choke cherries which would normally be dropping around early September have already been gathered and turned into jelly and syrup. The crab apples are so ripe they’re dropping off the trees.
… And yet there’s still a hint of Autumn in the air. Maybe it’s the noticeably shorter days along with the cooler evenings. This happened last year, too – that the cool weather hit before I was expecting it.
I’ve touched on this before, in C is for Calendar, that I want to have a better in-body understanding of when the seasons change, the flow of bioregional events (so to speak) in my area, than I currently do, in order to further deepen my connection with the land.
When does Summer turn to Autumn where you are? When does it happen and what are the signs of the shift? What do you find yourself doing, craving, and attending-to that let you know your body is shifting seasons?
Meliad the Birch Maiden.