Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Contemplating Fall

It started out well enough -- the high temperatures were in the low 80's, the smell of the crush from the neighborhood winery was in the air, over the fields lay a hazy shadow of mist that burned off by noon. But since Saturday something has changed. The weather took a turn for the worse. We've been suffering 100 degree afternoons for the past few days, and today is no different. I woke this morning at 6am to 73 degree air. Indian Summer. A vengeful Indian Summer it seems.

I've been very busy getting everything together for both the course and the season, plus harvesting the dregs of the garden. The tomatoes are spent. They gave up offering fruit a few weeks ago, such is the nature of this variety of heirloom, I guess. So up they will come today. The butternut is producing small deformed squash every so often, so up it will come too. The patty pans were pulled a few days ago which left room for the basil to flourish. I'm happy now that I did not prune the basil for a hydrosol a few weeks back the way I had planned. It seems to be preparing to become something much bigger and fragrant than it was, so I will allow it to do so until the time comes to prune -- for hydrosol. The pumpkin is a blessing. It created three perfect little pumpkins, edibles, one for each grandbaby. They will become the highlight of our Thanksgiving dinner this year. The common sage is growing like mad after a stalled start. The lavender survives, but all the peppers are pulled. Once all the dead growth is culled we will start on the winter garden.

On the perfume front: waiting, waiting, waiting impatiently for supplies to arrive to begin building the evaluation kits -- again. I have a few made but not enough to supply the current course students, and with another course on the way in January -- it makes for quite a bit of busy work. I finally received my most prized (currently prized) possession ~ a lovely kilo of 5 year old patchouli oil procured through White Lotus Aromatics. It is blessedly sweet and lovely. I plan to tap off 16 ounces for further aging and use the other 16 ounces in formulation. This reminds me -- last winter or spring I made a hydrosol of dried leaves of patchouli and the scent was odd, to say the least. Smelled a bit like potato skins and mustiness and only a little like patchouli. More than likely the result of poor distillation rather than a bad batch of patchouli leaves.

I've batches and batches of soap to make and cure and wrap and sell for the "season". It seems I have no heart for it right now. So much is going on, so much more needs doing. Such is life, eh?


  1. That post-summer heat wave gardening is something else, isn't it? On the positive side, the corn I planted really late stands a chance. On another positive side, I'll get good development of the seed heads on my sorghum, and the tomatoes are continuing to kick.

    But man, the squashes were a bust this year. I only got good cucurbita action from the volunteers. A jarrahdale that was probably 'planted' by a chicken who feasted on seeds, last year, and then a couple Hallowe'en pumpkins which were planted the same way.

    I only kept watering the squash vines, cutting away the withered ones, to keep the orchard bees happy. For all their happy pollinating though, it is odd to not have many squashes develop at all.

    Something you'll like, that I plan to send you seeds for, is Chinese long beans. I have a red variety, and as the name implies, they're long. Like thick thick noodles, and boy are they prolific if you plant say six of them. I got one crop out of mine until the aphids returned in between generations of ladybugs. I really liked these in stirfries, and even added to pasta sauce.

    Do you groove with okra? I got great results with that, too. It lurves the heat.

  2. My garden loves the heat, fortunately. Me? Not so much :)

    Oddly, the opposite happened in my garden. I used nearly all heirloom tomatoes in the garden and though they produced baby head sized tomatoes, they were few and far between. The romas, on the other hand, went gangbusters. My squash also went gangbusters -- we had patty pans and butternuts to pluck every single day for weeks on end. Who can eat that much squash? And the crap part about it was I had shared a flat of the squash seedlings with neighbors and family so they could grow their own, which meant there was nobody to give the overcrop of squash to! Made a lot of squash based sauces . . .

    I love beans.

    I haven't planted okra yet. Maybe next season. Okra reminds me of living in Texas, visiting the step-granmother who always kept a garden, and watching her deftly snip off a rattlesnakes' head with a pair of garden scissors, not missing a beat as she harvested the okra. For me, okra means snakes. Weird associations, I know.

  3. I am sure there is a lot of thigns to do... I am busy with my new job and my perfumes will wait and wait...

    Where do you get your supplies?

  4. WLA mostly. Very reliable source. Lovely oils. Top drawer.



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