The end-of-summer spiders have arrived, and are spinning their webs everywhere. I wasn't aware of this phenomenon until a few years ago, when I read an article in the San Francisco Chronicle that described it; ever since then, I watch for their return and that becomes the first indication that summer is on the wane. There are lots of other signs that autumn is approaching around here - the leaves on some trees are beginning to turn, many of the plants in our yard are slowing down and/or stopping entirely (I've been clearing out piles of lily-leaves and dumping them on the ever-growing compost pile in the back yard), the pear tree is laden with fruit and the grapes are ripening as well.
We started our vegetable garden in early summer, and I wondered if we'd get much of a harvest from the things we planted. I saw the first cucumber on that vine yesterday, the tomato plants are covered with fruit (not yet ripe) and it looks like we'll have more carrots than we can use. I'm not sure about the eggplant and zucchini, though. And we've been picking yellow grape tomatoes from one of the plants we put in a big pot on the back deck - those are just wonderful.
I'm beginning to understand why harvest time was such a huge thing back in the days when folks lived and worked on their own farms, and depended on those farms for their food even though my experience is on a very small scale. I've prepared and frozen a dozen containers of pesto, made with organic basil from our weekly box of veggies (our subscription is with Winter Green Farm, a wonderful CSA that delivers to the Portland area) and with basil from our own little herb garden. I froze a huge bag of garlic (also from our veggie box), and won't have to buy garlic in the supermarket for months and months. I'm researching all kinds of information on freezing veggies and herbs so we don't waste any of these delicious veggies and fruits, and so we can enjoy them in a few months, when locally grown summer produce isn't available. We already have a dozen or so freezer bags filled with blueberries and strawberries, and I anticipate adding a lot more produce to our stash before summer ends.
Of course my experience is nothing like the lives of real farm folks. I'm quite aware of that, and don't mean to imply that it is. But I began thinking about this whole issue while I was cleaning the basil yesterday, so I thought I'd ramble about it here today.
Oh, and the pesto was killer! I'm so glad we'll have some to enjoy in the dead of winter.