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Sunday, October 04, 2009

Hot chocolate shall be her reward

The fall garden in the rain

Having gone, first, to Florida to check on my folks, and then to my retirement party, and then to a friend's birthday party, I'm woefully behind at home. The pumpkins and winter squash are in, but there are still, it would seem, tons of potatoes, eggplant, corn, tomatoes, zucchinis, and even bell peppers out there -- as we have not yet had a frost.

And beans.

I'm beginning to think of the beans as a kind of crop failure.

For as long as I can remember, green beans of all kinds and runner beans as well have dried on the vine by this time and could be harvested for shell-beans and seed; but this year everything made a second crop and then a third -- there are still bean blossoms out there -- and the first crop is still green-podded.

I tried shelling a batch anyway, and the beans are immature and viscous. So I'm not at all convinced I'll be able to make a seed crop from this. I'd cook up all the small and medium beans and freeze them, but space is limited -- and we're not fond of canned. Much of this crop may end up as compost.

While making up my mind what to do about the beans, I have been winterizing -- going around the house and putting up 4-mil polyethylene in the windows both inside and out.

Our windows are the very old-fashioned single-glazed sash windows, and there is a lot of rot in the frames. We have always hoped to replace them with something modern and energy efficient, but time and money were at issue. Now I have time, but not money yet, and, frankly, my carpentry skills are -- fading, along with my eyesight and strength. Thirty years ago I was good with windows, and that was then and this is now, so I do the polyethylene once again.

The good part of this is that all the sheeting I used on windows this year is recycled from last year. Holes in the plastic I've covered with packing tape. So far so good ...

The effect is immediate and notable. A small fire warms the whole house, and it stays warm for awhile, as soup bubbles in the pot and the kettle hisses.

Just in time. Beloved has been changing duck water in the rain. She doesn't see the huge rainbow arcing across the sky from river to ridge, she's working so hard.

Hot chocolate shall be her reward.


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