It is August and you can feel the change in the air. It is easy to catch the back to school fever even if you don’t watch TV. I do not get the adds on the “big box tv” but my Facebook line has informed me that parents are out shopping for school clothes, notebooks, pencils, markers and all the other stuff. The school buses are going up and down the block checking out their new routes due to summer construction. My daughter is gearing up to organize her classroom and text messages are asking for help. Can you help me sew new shades for the over head lights, are you setting up the fish tank – I will be in the classroom on Thursday? These bold signs of fall are all around but I am looking at something else all together.
The smaller signs in nature that tell me fall is approaching are showing up – like the sunset is now at 8:34 pm. It means I need to turn on the house light as I go out for an evening event or walk. If you have been watching the shadows the morning light has shifted creating sharp lines and deep shadows across the gardens. The oaks are dropping acorn seeds, the crab apples are making a mess on the neighbors sidewalk. The air has changed (at least here in Minnesota) to more cool evenings with dew soaked grass in the morning. The bushes around the yard are heavy with berries for the winter birds.
These signs of fall feel a bit early to me this year. We have not had our blazing hot August sun that dries and kills off the grass. We have not had the nights where you know there is no sleeping without an air conditioner. I am in fact sleeping with windows wide open and blankets ready to use in the deep of night when the air turns very cool.
I am not complaining mind you – just observing. I love the cool nights, the glorious damp morning walks and the birds feeding. I am happy to not use the air conditioner and to watch the buses sort out how best to arrive at schools on time.
All that said I am still a bit worried. The seasons are creating new patterns. The time tables are shifting. My garden is reflecting the change in the growth cycle.
My peppers are small and not flowering, my tomatoes are now at full growth and green but not sure they will ripen in this cool weather.
I have been able to grow cool weather crops all summer – lettuce, spinach, and radishes but the heat loving plants are just looking at me like I am crazy. The bean plants looks great but no beans. (well I found two baby beans yesterday) The cucumber plant has two very small fruits on it. Here is hoping at least one of them will grow into something we can eat. The daylight is shortening and this is giving a signal to plants to shut down production of fruits instead of the message to keep growing.
So as fall approaches – we have had a summer full of lettuce and radishes but there is no salsa, beans, or beets in the freezer for winter. There are lots of beautiful green plants growing but production is not good. If this were long ago and this garden was our winter food supply I would be really worried. It would be a winter of very little food.
I wonder if this is just my corner of the world that is off or are the large production gardens also seeing the climate change. I always look forward to fall – cool temps, colored leaves and a freezer full of food. Hmmm – here is hoping that the fall is long and the frost holds off until late October so maybe some of the veggies will mature and my freezer will fill.