Signs of fall

Spring was late this year, which most of us noticed more than ever because the pandemic forced us to do all of our socializing outside. We had more than a few get-togethers with friends where everyone was bundled in heavy jackets and scarves or wrapped in blankets. While it was wonderful to be able to be with friends and family, we were certainly happy to see the warmer weather arrive so we could unwrap ourselves and still be social.

I’d like to think that means we can look forward to a long, sunny and warm autumn season, but the signs of fall are all around us as we enter the last real weekend of summer.

Preparing for winter

Whether walking in town or in nature, and my partner and I do lots of both, the onset of fall is all around us.

My morning constitutional starts later to match the later dawn, and my bedtime walk is now in the full dark rather than the dusk of just a couple of weeks ago.

People’s vegetable gardens have that end-of-season look to them: weeds are not being as diligently pulled, lettuces gone to seed remain in the garden, the garlic beds are empty. Flower pots that have contained pansies and impatiens all summer are now filled with richly coloured chrysanthemums.

At Lemoine Point, a conservation area a short drive from our house, the chipmunks are filling their cheeks with seeds and nuts; happily accepting donations from visitors to the park. The wild turkeys are fattening up, even though they are safe from finding themselves on anyone’s harvest meal menu, and the ducks are gathering.

The light is changing and the dew is becoming heavy, making for beautiful scenes of dew- covered grasses and wildflowers, studded with ethereal spider webs sparkling in the sun.

The milkweed is ready to launch its seeds into the wind. The monarchs are massing to begin their long flight south. This morning, we came upon three perfect puffballs in the middle of the forest, just begging for someone to take them home to cook. We resisted the temptation – we were in a conservation area after all.

Closer to home, we have bought a patio heater and moved a pile of warm blankets closer to our backyard so we will be able to stay warm while we entertain outside for as long as we possibly can.

We are waiting for our firewood supply to arrive, and our garlic is drying in the workshop.

Some nights, it is even cool enough to toss a blanket on the bed and close the windows.

One last hurrah of summer

It may not have been a spring and summer like any other for most of us, and fall and The Indoor Times, as a friend of mine has taken to calling winter in the pandemic, are surely close at hand.  However, today it is summer, and we could have a few more weeks of it yet, so I refuse to get too gloomy.

Here is one final summer cocktail recipe, created by my partner when, all set to make his go-to before-dinner drink — a gin and tonic – he realized there was no tonic in the house. Being a creative guy – and not interested in making a trek to the grocery store just to buy tonic water – he came up with this, which we both think is just delicious. For two cocktails:

Combine 4 ounces good quality gin, 8 ounces ginger lemonade concentrate, 3 ounces freshly squeezed lime juice and ice in cocktail shaker and shake vigorously for 30 seconds. Pour over fresh ice in tall glasses and top with sparkling water.

Enjoy the sun!

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