Sep 28, 2014

Harbingers and Harvests

The harbingers of Autumn have heralded their news of the last of the harvest season, and have begun to fly south, or fatten up for either hibernation, or in preparation to weather the cold months ahead. Yesterday morning the mist rolled across the meadows for the first time, another portent to remind us that the chimneys had better be swept and the furnaces serviced. Although we're enjoying warm weather still, the nights have cooled, and that mist tells us that the earth is beginning to relinquish her warmth, in the embrace of the frosty, early morning air.  



These are the best of days.  The midday heat is comfortable and friendly, perfect for exploring. The summer tourists have left to make way for the wine connoisseurs and the back roads are full of charming little buses carrying ruddy-cheeked grape enthusiasts to the Valley's approximately 140 wineries.  

The evenings are still gorgeous, the last of the light slipping away earlier and earlier, leaving us with the beginnings of sweater weather, and encouraging fires, warm drinks, and blankets. Now is the time of drawing close. Of ghost stories and preparation for that most magical month that is waiting right outside the door. 

I've harvested the mugwort - for the third time.  The robust, happy plant was seeded only two summers ago under the moon at midnight, sung in to the earth with a charm. I hoped for growth. I never expected the level of abundance I've witnessed this year.  Some has been shared, and much dried for incense, dream pillows, and more.


Add a nice pinch of mugwort to some hot water to make an infusion and use as a wash for your crystal ball or scrying bowl or mirror.  

I'm also waiting on the black nightshade berries to see if they will ripen. The plant appeared in my garden so late in the season, I can't be sure that the little green berries will blush dark as night and be safe to harvest.  If not, there's always next year.

Because a good frost has not yet come, the tomatoes, cucumber, and squash keep producing. There is salsa to be made now, as there is no more room for tomatoes on the counter, or windowsill, or in baskets all over the house. A ridiculous blessing, this little piece of land that keeps on giving.

Has your harvest finished now, or is your garden, your flower box, your potted indoor basil plant still offering up delights?  Let's enjoy the harvest just a little longer, shall we?

13 comments:

Betty from My Irish Cottage Home said...

I loved reading this post. Your words were beautiful describing the changing times coming. I did not have a garden this year due to working on our kitchen. Next week we are going to prepare for a garden next year.

Rue said...

Planning the garden is half the fun I think! Happy plotting Betty!

jaz@octoberfarm said...

hmmm.i don't think i knew that nightshade berries turned black? i have it growing all over my gardens and the birds eat the berries when they turn red.

Rue said...

These is a black nightshade, but there are several nightshades around here, including bittersweet nightshade which has red berries.

Magaly Guerrero said...

I'm about to bring my pots in from the terrace. My pepper plant has three little peppers and the passion fruit has one tiny baby.

By the way, I so love this line in your post: "the little green berries will blush dark as night and be safe to harvest."

Poetry...

Rue said...

Lucky girl you are Mags! Pepper plants are one of the things I struggle with.

And of course your passion fruit would be doing well, with all the passion flying around your home!

Debra Nehring said...

Aha. Was in your valley last week. Now that I'm a bit further north at home I have to say the nights are cooler, but I still have peppers and tomatoes on the vine.
I'll have to try a few new herbs next spring.
Loving the fall feel and love your writings.

Linda Gibson said...

Wonderful post, Rue. You describe the arrival of Autumn, one of my favourite months, beautifully. My little blueberry bush that we planted two years ago has only just stopped fruiting from June. And my tayberry ( a cross between a blackberry and raspberry) has given us a good crop, and that was only planted last year. The flavours from both fruits have been amazing. I'm currently preparing a plot for raised beds in my back garden for growing my own veggies, herbs and fruit. I'm so looking forward to eating my own crops, and sharing with my family. I'll save money too.

Rue said...

Tayberry sounds delightful!

And sincerest congratulations on the garden plots - I think it's the very best gift you can give your yard and family. But then, I'm a little biased.

Aidan Wachter said...

Replanted the Magma Mix, so now all the fall/ winter plots are seeded. First fall salad is likely for the Wednesday! Very excited for the long salad season here. A few of the Magma's from the first planting, and they are serious mustardlings! I have another month in which to get the cold frames ready, but time's a changing. Haven't seen a squirrel without a nut in it's mount in many days.

Rue said...

Ah, so envious of Autumn greens. I really need to do that one year!

Here it's the quail - getting fat and still coming through the yard in swarms, picking at everything!

HappyCrone said...

My Monkshood (Aconitum) or Wolfsbane is blooming, and the Irish Yew has red berries...baneful plants, I know, but after all it is nearly Samhain! I love your blog Jen!!! I always look forward to it.

Rue said...

Oooh - the dark and lovely plants!

And I wouldn't be here if I hadn't met a wise Witch almost seven years ago... Love ya Sista!