This season has lasted forever, it seems. A month after our first mountain outing, and the beginning of the bright leaves overhead, I still found myself staring at the showy trees everywhere I turned. At work…
on my drive home…
…and even in our own front yard.
We had this red maple put in about five years ago, and this was the first time it truly lived up to its name.
I had a little trouble catching the full color of these leaves, because now that the days are shortened, my departures and arrivals during the week happen in a deepening twilight. As I see less and less of the sun, I revert to some kind of hibernatory ancestor, becoming more sluggish as if there were nothing ahead for me but months of sleep.
While I’m continuing to get up before dawn, I did manage to stir myself enough to put the garden to sleep. Those pretty, pretty leaves fell down and dried nicely, so I raked them up, stomped them into bits, and saved them as a nice blanket of mulch.
This was another twilight-taken picture, though I tried to lighten it a bit. You can see Miss Chef’s parsnips hanging on there. They are not supposed to be harvested until after a good freeze, which has just happened in the few days since I took this picture. What you can’t see is the garlic I planted last weekend. I was fortunate enough to find some at the market, so I didn’t have to sacrifice part of this summer’s harvest. Some of the ones I bought from Jenifer at Laughing Owl Farm are of a soft-neck variety, which is my first time with those. I’m interested to see if they grow or taste any differently than the usual hard-neck garlic. Oh, and after leaving Jenifer, I happened across another farm’s table with really nice-sized heads that I just couldn’t resist. I ended up with about 40 cloves in the ground, so there’s a good chance some folks may be getting garlic for Christmas next year.
It hasn’t been all slogging away in the office and the garden, though. Miss Chef and I had a lovely Saturday date day, with pizza and a show…but first we dropped in at the Alexander House, part of the Charlotte Museum of History. We didn’t know either of these places existed, but I’d seen a blog post about a colonial-style beer tasting happening there. It was very small and sparsely attended, and to be honest, the colonial-style beers were not to my liking—there was a decent porter, and a spruce that tasted mostly of molasses. But Miss Chef ran into somebody she knows, and the historic homestead was picturesque.
We also got to taste a syllabub, which is a drink made with wine and cream. It sounds awful, but tasted decadently delicious. Miss Chef and I thought it might be tweaked to make an interesting dessert dish. (Fun fact: we had first heard the word “syllabub” at the taping last year of Miss Chef’s favorite radio show “Says You.” It’s described as “a game of bluff and bluster, words and whimsy,” and features some very clever and very funny people. After our pizza dinner that day, we just happened to be on our way to attend another taping of the same show.)
And this doesn’t really fit into my timeline, since it actually happened in October, but you know how cats like to perch up high? McKenna found her way to the highest perch yet.
From the four-foot high cat tree/podium Miss Chef built her, she can jump up another three feet or so onto the window ledge. She often strolls across the overhang to the left, which extends about 10 feet across the kitchen, but occasionally it’s nice to just keep an eye on the birds.
And now it is Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving, and I must get ready to work. Miss Chef has had the kitchen to herself all morning, but this afternoon it will be my mother’s and my turn to bake pies. Fortunately, the weather has turned dreadful, cold and rainy with strong blustery winds, so there’s no temptation to go do anything else. Except maybe catch up my blog just a little.