Tag Archives: Frost

Frosty Morning

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I walked out this morning before the sun had reached the treetops, camera in hand and the little dog at my side.

My only intent was to photograph the asparagus; the ice-covered fronds were waving at me from their garden bed.

Grass crackled under my feet. A layer of frost covered everything.

The grapevines are bare, except for a few wilted leaves. I’ve been picking grapes for weeks, to eat and to share. The local birds have indulged as well. The Coffell family came last week, to pick the last few bunches. In exchange, they left two quarts of fresh apple cider and a jar of their homemade maple syrup.

The wisteria, climbing up the gate post, still has its leaves, though they’re dry and limp and flutter madly as I walk by.

The sedum, Autumn Joy, is undaunted by this crisp morning. I may get time yet, to go out and prune the stalks. If not, they’ll stand strong all winter, with their rosy dried flower heads peeking out above the snow.

A clump of “brown-eyed Susans,” the blossoms all covered in ice crystals, seem surprised by this turn in the weather. The already furry mullein leaves have just added another layer.

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There are apples that we pick in the early fall. Others – the winter apples, which are the best for storage – are inedible until we’ve had a frost.

Frost mellows the flavor of parsnips and kale. It halts the growth of carrots, so they’ll keep in the ground until they’re needed.

Frost signals – better than any calendar can – the end of summer.

It reminds me – a gentle reminder, as it disappears as soon as the sun touches it – that the seasons are changing. There are things to set aside, until next spring. There are things to do now, pruning and mulching and clearing, before the snow comes…before the cold is here to stay.

I came in inspired from my little walk.

I put a pot of beans on the stove, for soup that can simmer all day.

I mixed rolled oats, pumpkin seeds, sunflower nuts and almonds with a bit of cinnamon and a good swig of maple syrup. I spread it out on a sheet pan, and put it in a low oven to toast, for homemade granola. I’ll add currants and dried cherries when it comes out of the oven.

I made bread dough, and put it on the counter where it can share the oven’s heat to rise.

There are other things to do: housekeeping; bookkeeping; writing; laundry. They wait for me, year ’round.

It’s only in the fall and winter, though, that they are joined, in my house, by the smells of soup, fresh bread and cinnamon.

Sometimes a reminder to enjoy this present day is the very best way to begin the morning.

This Morning

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Children and animals don’t understand Daylight Savings Time.

They stick to their own schedules.

My nieces and nephews with babies in the home have been noting how they missed out this year, on that extra hour of sleep.

In my household, it means my little dog starts early this time of year, asking for her dinner. It means she’s ready for sleep earlier, too. She comes to find me – at computer desk or in the studio – and cocks her head. “Still working? It’s bedtime,” her look tells me. When she gives up and walks away, I imagine a shoulder shrug, head shake and a mumbled comment about how I’ll be sorry tomorrow.

In the morning, we get up on time, no matter what the clock says.

Even if it’s my day off.

Even if it’s one of those frosty mornings when the air is cold and the blankets form a cozy cocoon and I don’t want to move.

We get up because the little dog – unaware of the time change – needs to go outside.

I turn on the coffee pot; it will be ready when I come in.

I pull my white, fleecy robe from the hook on the bathroom door, pick up the camera from the desk, grab a few pieces of kibble from the dog food bin, and slide into the shoes that wait by the kitchen door.

Out we go!

This is our routine, year ’round.

Sometimes boots and winter coat replace the shoes and bathrobe. Other days, the big umbrella is necessary. Rarely, but on a couple summer days I go out in just pajamas and bare feet.

Some days the ground is so wet with dew, it dampens my feet right through my shoes. Sometimes, a fresh snow welcomes us.

There are mornings when I’m greeted by a big moon and a sky full of stars.

This morning, frost has turned the asparagus fronds to silver. Leaves crackle under my feet. In the trees, dark branches are revealed where the leaves have fallen. They form a striking backdrop for the color that is left: yellows have turned to amber, and oranges to rust.

Over it all, this autumn sky.

This morning, like every other, I hate to get out of bed. I shudder when my feet hit the cold floor. I grumble as I maneuver my sleepy self into bathrobe and shoes. I complain to myself as I walk around the yard and garden, waiting for the little dog to finish her morning constitutional.

This morning, like every other, I am enriched by the experience in spite of myself.

Hurray!!

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I can’t begin to describe how happy this makes me!

The garden is planted!

I had other things I should have or could have been doing today.

I have to go over my notes in preparation for a township meeting tonight. I was supposed to get to Aunt Katie’s early this afternoon to do her floors (it is now late afternoon). There is much to do in my studio, with galleries opening for the summer. There are plenty of inside chores I’d like to have finished before my work week starts tomorrow. In this year of plentiful mosquitoes, the grass should not be allowed to grow the way it has this Spring.

Still, the garden had to be planted.

We have a short growing season here on Beaver Island. It is especially short here on the Fox Lake Road, where we tend to get the earliest killing frost in the Fall, and the latest one in the Spring. I depend on my garden for fresh vegetables in the Summer, and to enrich my diet through the long months of winter.

I started planting on Sunday.

It rained that night and continued through the next day.

Yesterday, I had errands in town but came home in time to get back at it.

When I quit last evening, it looked like this:

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I snapped a couple pictures of the dogs worrying a garter snake at the fence…

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…and some blossoms fromĀ  around the yard and garden…

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…before calling it a night.

This morning, I set everything else aside, intent on finishing the garden.

And I did!

Well, the left side of the plot (not shown in any of these photos) could still use some attention. The perennial beds there – with strawberries, blueberries, asparagus and raspberries – need to be weeded and edged and mulched. The plot for my tomatoes plants still needs to be hoed up and fertilized. Tomatoes and peppers are still in pots. Flower beds need to be raked and weeded.

In the gardener’s world, nothing is ever completely finished (until, perhaps, it is buried under two feet of snow…but that’s when planning begins!)…but I feel a sense of completion today.

The garden is planted!