Two years ago, a freak late October snowstorm buried New Jersey in heavy snow. Trees snapped under the weight of the freshly fallen snow. The entire northeast came to a screeching halt and we were without power for a week. Everyone lived by candlelight, wood stove, or generator (if you could find one).
Last year, Superstorm Sandy hit on exactly the same day as the previous year's blizzard. Entire forests were leveled. We watched trees snap like matchsticks and fly off "Wizard of Oz" style into the dark woods. THe days following the storm were eerily quiet. As if it was all a dream. But the place was a bonafide disaster area. Again, we kicked into survival mode (for more than a week this time) while the state struggled to get basic services up and running. Halloween was cancelled.
Autumn 2013 has been much more relaxing. Our first frost came October 21st. We took the opportunity to pick any tender fruits still clinging to the vine (peppers, pumpkins, lemon grass). The following 3 nights below freezing halted the last growth spurts of the summer crops.
And like a switch, the urge to prepare for winter creeps into our conscience. The list is long.....
1. Chop wood for the stove
2. Gather fallen leaves and jump in pile
3. Marvel at fall colors
4. Dig bulbs for the cellar and save seeds for the spring
5. Plant garlic, shallots, and fall greens
6. Till rows, incorporate soil amendments and plant winter rye
7. Drain the well and irrigation
8. Carve jack o' lanterns and roast seeds for snacking
9. Dress up and take the kids for neighbor visits and "trick or treat"
10. Breathe in the crisp fall air, reflect on the summer's accomplishments and realize what a nice time of year it is!