Late fall in the garden is the time when life starts slowing down and the energy begins to move inward. Trees and plants draw their energy deep into trunks and roots as they prepare for winter's cold. This season has been a mild one so far in the garden, with just enough freeze to end the life of our tomato, basil and pepper plants. We have green tomatoes ripening on the windowsills and there's a fresh batch of pesto to enjoy from the last of our garden basil.
The garden keeps on giving as we harvest late season chard, kale, carrots and onions. The lettuce seeds we planted in October have grown into lovely little plants ready for their first taste!! We covered them with a plastic hoop house this year to protect them from foraging deer. It's the first time we've ever seen deer in the garden and we welcomed them, however they would have eaten the tender young lettuce to nubbins so we decided to cover them. The deer still enjoyed the tomato leaves, kale, chard and peas,as we had more than enough to share at seasons end. Maybe they'll come back to visit us next year!
Most of the hummingbirds have moved on except for a few Annas hummies who usually stay through the winter months unless, of course, it gets too cold or snowy for them. In that case they head south and return in early spring. I cover the feeders with little "bubblewrap sleeves" this time of year, which insulates the sugar water from most freezes. On really cold nights I bring the feeders inside, then put them back out in the morning. The bees visit on warmer sunny days through most of the winter though the butterflies that enjoyed the feeders through the warm season have now died or moved on. We'll have a new generation of "flying flowers" to enjoy next spring!
The highlight of the season was the first snowfall we received over the Thanksgiving weekend. The roses were still in bloom at the time and I slurped some fresh snow out of the center of a rose like a snowcone. It was sweet and delicious!
It's been an amazing year in the garden; one full of challenges and rewards and we're grateful for both. We make fresh fruit smoothies everyday from the fruit we picked and froze all summer long. And we have a freezer full of veggies to add to our garden dinners. We also enjoyed a summer full of flowers which, despite the heat, bloomed through the season. And we marveled at all the birds, animals and insects that visited the garden regularly and filled it with their life and love.
It was a very full year in the garden for Steve and I. We feel incredibly blessed...
As we come to the final chapter of this year it's a good time to reflect on all we've experienced and to feel the love and beauty we've shared with others. It might be the darkest night but it's also the night when our light can shine the brightest! It starts with each one of us as we shine the light of love on ourselves first and then let the lovelight shine for others. Light your candle and pass it on. Pass it on to your family, your friends,, your companion animals, your home, your garden, your community, your country and your world. Fill Gaia with your lovelight and in this darkest night, she will shine brightly!
New life is being born this dark Solstice night. Out of the deep quiet comes the magic of a new day! Fill this new day with light, with love, with you. You are beautiful..and loved! A blessed Solstice to all of you.
With much love, Marianne
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