Basil in October

Today is October 10th. An extraordinary day for a gardener in the pacific northwest. There is basil to pick, the last of the late white corn, cherry tomatoes are still ripening like strings of exotic jewels draping a weary vine. Roses are getting a second wind, our spring clematis is blooming on the front porch. We are at sea level and haven’t had a freeze yet although about 5 miles in from the water I’ve seen frost on the ground in the mornings. Jonagold apples have more sun burn than i’ve seen here ever.

The shadows from an ever southern sun make one drowsy and nappish on these weekend afternoons. We’ve done our job here, and change is coming. Glorious change, an unknown future no matter what the almanac might predict. Most of the garden has been worked over. there is still a row of potatoes, one of beets, and the basil. We will hang on to it until the freeze that turns it to sludge. I’m leaving the sunflowers to turn to seeds for the birds and squirrels. I’ve seen blackbirds sit on the tops of fallen over sunflower heads, crane their necks down under and peck the seeds out.

We’re pretty satisfied with the garden this year. Despite our late start with some vegetables, we’ve managed a good harvest. And now, we’re both tuckered out, as they say. I don’t think I could weed a row if life depended on it. But it feels good to wander out there amongst the birds, the freshly turned earth. Look for one more possible ear of corn, a slight breeze talking.

I think we had 5 neighbors weed, water, and harvest this year, more than ever before. We planted about the same amount of everything and there was always a handful of green beans, a zucchini, peas, carrots, kale, and lettuce when we were ready to eat. You can dream all you want about the big community garden/harvest/romantic idea, but I think most of us like the solitary work, the quiet heat of the afternoon, after spending the day or week at our current hectic pace.

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This one is about 18 inches across.

IMG_0200The squirrel dinner party was interrupted…..

IMG_0202This apple would have been worth all the trouble….

IMG_0205shadows where a few weeks ago the sun blazed away.

IMG_0208our porch in October….yes, this is a friendly place and the humans who live here are quite nice.

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