Sunday Almanac: It’s Fall Foliage Time in Vermont

Kinda. Here in town, some leaves seem reluctant to let go of the summer, as am I. But the ‘peepers’ have been here in droves like they are every year, not dissuaded by The Plague, nor pestilence, famine, nor floods, it would seem. This year they’ve descended upon us not so much in tour buses, as they often do, but in cars from as far afield as Alaska, as seen in one license plate I observed last week.

Who can blame them? It’s gorgeous here.

And the higher you climb into our Green Mountains, the more colorful the show. You can see it from down here, too, across the valleys, a mountain landscape dotted with almost iridescent color.

And we can see it in our own back yard, together with the Reluctant Foliage.

I love how this knot hole in our next-door neighbors’ tree looks like a face, as viewed from a distance
…but up close, the face simply vanishes into the tree.

Last Wednesday Evening Came a Storm

The Chef was at work still, and Scout and I hunkered down inside the house whilst listening to the booming claps of thunder all around us, and watching the treetops whip around outside in the high wind (later we learned the gusts were around 65 mph or thereabouts, and that is nothing to sneeze at). Some medium-sized limbs came down in the yard, one on the side porch overhang. And then the next day, bigger stuff followed, egged on by gravity I suspect.

it’s important to mark storm detritus as yours

One of the most endearing things about Chef David is his habit of standing in the big picture window in our living room, staring out into the tree limbs, studying them in silence for long spells. The trees, most of them, are on the adjoining two properties, but the limbs overhang our yard and thus also our new fence. Chef stands there and studies, and hems and haws, and occasionally says something about that branch up there, and how when it falls it will most likely miss the fence and land just on the other side of it, and how the one right next to it is probably destined to hit the neighbors’ roof eventually, and boy would he love to go pull it out before it comes down, that kind of thing.

So when the gigantic limb came down, the Renaissance man had a plan as he always does after assessing a situation, and executed it swiftly and skillfully. It involved a pair ladders wedged up strategically under parts of the big limb, followed by tugging and tugging the bottom of the limb this way and that, coaxing the bothersome section at the top that had just caught in the crook of two other limbs, until the whole business finally came down with a gigantic CRACKLE-BOOM! exactly where he intended it to go. Toolshed and Chef emerged unscathed, and then in a matter of a couple of hours, order was restored by way of chainsaw and rake; there will be still more firewood for us now, after this last bit seasons a little.

order restored

The Wildflower Garden Has Quietly Bloomed

Last year’s vegetable garden didn’t go, mainly owing to critter predation and, what? Poor soil? Who knows. This year Chef threw handfuls of mixed wildflower seeds into the soil after turning it over, and so now at last there is some lovely color. Wildflowers are so unapologetically ephemeral, but I love them still.

can you spot the interloper?
after his earlier walkabout, Van Goat has been content to stand among the wildflowers for the balance of summer

I’ve finally relented and lowered my expectations for tomato growing in Vermont. We figured out that container gardening on the back deck is still the best way to go, and Chef has been successful starting the plants inside in the mudroom in early spring, from seed. But even with new soil, and fertilizer, and caressing the foliage, and doing everything short of reading the plants bedtime stories, the juicy red fruit simply has no time to flourish up in these parts, what with our truncated growing season, nothing like the much longer season down South. To be sure, we’ve had a few wonderful tomatoes this summer.

The little green ones, though, well, they’ll sit in our sunny kitchen window and we’ll see.

‘proliferation of parsley’ seems as fitting a collective noun as any, and good thing, because I needed tons of it for the stew I made today

Cooking Is Fun

And so is eating. We’ve been eating well in the intervening week and a half or so since my last post.

Chef David made this lovely shrimp and pasta and pesto dish last week
I made potato-leek soup for my lunches last week, and we stumbled across some exceptionally sweet and crunchy Gala apples

Because it’s fall, and because I really enjoyed the potato-leek soup last week, I decided to make a hearty red pepper and lentil stew today for the upcoming week’s lunches.

I love how the diced red peppers sparkle like little jewels in full sunlight
spicy, filling, flavorful, healthy stew

Last week we we bought a large salmon filet, which Chef David divided into portions to freeze. We had some grilled last night for supper, along with potatoes and asparagus. Chef always crisps the salmon skin for Scoutie, a real treat, especially when there are bits of salmon still clinging to it.

Elsewhere Around Town and at the Homestead

My knee injury from last April (torn meniscus, ruptured Baker’s cyst) has pretty much healed, and so Scout and I have resumed a running regimen now that’s reasonably close to normal—maybe not quite full tilt, but reasonably close. The cooler weather is much easier on this ‘heavily muscled’ Goldapeake Retriever, and I love seeing the spring in his step return.

Great Blue Heron on the Walloomsac in downtown Bennington

Last Saturday morning when Scout and I were running down a parklike pathway that meanders through town parallel with the Walloomsac River, something caught my eye, and I turned in time to see a Great Blue Heron flying low over the river. A few moments later, it alighted on a rock, I’m guessing to wait and watch for its next meal to swim by; Scout never once saw it. When I lived in my great-grandmother Gracie’s house in Tennessee, the Great Blue Heron was everywhere.

I’ve also continued doing yoga most Sunday mornings, remotely, as these times insist. (My instructor is a goddess for offering these sessions via video, the wave of the future for dog-knows-how-long, it would seem.) The term ‘yoga’ is now part of Scout’s cognitive vocabulary, and he seems to, er, dig the equipment. The struggle is real, friends.

We’re enjoying being outside as long as Mother Nature allows, as we did last evening, which felt perhaps a tad too chilly for me. But The Chef thought it was about perfect. The gazebo will stay up a few more weeks, and we’ll sit around the fire pit and roast marshmallows as the opportunity presents.

And then winter will force us inside, where other kinds of creature comforts await.

Be well, gentle reader, and hug your loved ones tight.

One thought on “Sunday Almanac: It’s Fall Foliage Time in Vermont

  1. I love this peek at summer/autumn in Vermont. My basil has been harvested and the last of the kale is due to be pulled this coming week. I suspect I will be making “zuppa toscana” this weekend. There have been lots of innovations for remote activities due to the pandemic and some may just be better than the way things were done before. Enjoy your good weather before the snow comes!

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