Fall has fell – here’s how you can keep some Summer in your freezer

Here we are, Summer making a lingering retreat – still hot enough to swim for about an hour in the middle of the afternoon, but just nippy enough for a long sleeve shirt after sunset. This would be a nice time of year if the air didn’t smell like a day old campfire.

I’ve been picking the last apples from our orchard – small, but there are a lot of them, and they’re sweet and crisp.

These are sweet little apples, just enough for a quick snack.

These are sweet little apples, just enough for a quick snack.

So many, I made a batch of juice this morning, and I still have more on the tree. I also have some Fuji’s and Granny’s from earlier in the bottom bin of my refrigerator. They will sure be nice in November.

Sheesh, I know why they call it “Fall,” I know you do too. There are so many oak leaves on the ground, I can’t hardly see the path in front of me. The drought brought fall on early, my trees have been shedding since early August, and the compost piles have been building up along our fence line.

I rake them off the driveway and load them onto an old tarp, then drag them to one or another mulch area. I mulch them around young trees, and along the old honeysuckle vine on our fence. The piles are huge now, but by Spring they will have rotted down to nothing. I make sure not to pile them against trees or fences, to avoid damage.

When we bought this place, there were knee-high weeds everywhere around the yard, and a pile of rotting leaves had eaten the siding about four feet up one side of the house. The sycamore trees that had dropped all those leaves were in decline because they been taken over with English Ivy.  

My husband went after the ivy with a chain saw, cutting out dead wood from the trees, and now you’d never know they had  been so sick.  I had to shovel the dirt out, feet of it, and all the siding on that side had to be replaced.  Then I went after the weeds along all the fences and  around the perimeter of the house – it really does take hand pulling and stubborn cleaning, for a few years.  I’ve got rid of most of the trouble areas by pulling them by hand and then covering the ground with at least six inches of leaf mulch. It has really paid off. We put gravel down under the sycamore trees, and we keep them clean during Leaf Management Season. 

Our black walnuts are dropping old rotten limbs, and we see the beginnings of mistletoe infestation. We will have to fork over a couple of thousand dollars the next year or so for tree work at our home and our rentals. If you don’t keep up on it, you could lose a tree – and then pay big bucks to have it safely removed. All around us, our neighbors are losing trees to the drought. They don’t realize, you need to water big trees during drought periods. I’ve kept mine alive simply by putting a sprinkler around the base for an hour or two, a couple of times a month. I find  it’s not really that much water, and I can see the difference. 

But nothing keeps Fall  and Winter away, no matter how we try. I found a little good-bye message from Summer in our haggard old garden this morning.

Surprise! I found these sweet cherry tomatoes and more coming on the vine in a part of the garden we turned off weeks ago.

Surprise! I found these sweet cherry tomatoes and more coming on the vine in a part of the garden we turned off weeks ago.

I can't remember what these melons are called, but my husband found this last one hidden in a pile of dead vines.

I can’t remember what these melons are called, but my husband found this last one hidden in a pile of dead vines.

Ta ta for now Summer, I will miss you every day!

 

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