September and the kids are back at school, but summer continues. I harvest the first planting of potatoes because the tops have died back and if I don’t do it now, who will find them? Memories resurface of that ancient walk behind potato digger we followed as children, holding empty sacks. Once filled, we’d abandon sacks in the rows for grownups to heave into trucks. I remember, spade through another Red Norland and, like every other fall, wish again for a potato digger.
September and still summer. Honey dews, musk melons and watermelons hide under vines. Between them and the weeds, there isn’t walking space in the garden. Pumpkin vines have grown to hell and back but hardly put on fruit. If not now, then when? Perhaps summer will continue a few more months.
If Texas truly crept north then frost free nights may have emigrated too. It’s possible. How many consecutive hot days have we had? I stopped counting. Everything outside the watered garden is bleaching straw. Even lilacs wilt. I thank the underground aquifer that feeds our well: without it, we’d have no garden this year.
Princess picks calendula bouquets. We’ve dried several of them for herb concoctions we’ll use in soaps, lotions and teas this winter. There’s still mint, more oregano, tomatoes and other vegetables to dry. A long list to do before summer ends. I’m a pumpkin vine, running, but hardly accomplishing much.
The plum tree I gave up on yielded fruit this year. Not a bumper crop, but fruit for the first time in years and the cherry trees I thought were dead grow thick all over the north garden. I’ve been watering them too and pulling weeds for the chickens. Thistle is settling into the strawberry patch and must be tilled before winter. Put that on the list under Farmer’s weed whacking requests. I remain a pumpkin.
By the time first frost arrives I’m usually ready to say goodbye to the garden but this year I’m quite backward and haven’t processed many vegetables considering here we are in September. Perpetual heat has lulled me into a summer coma. I stand and watch chickens peck or dust twisting along the road like I’m trapped in a slow motion picture.
Perhaps I’m going to seed and one sure sign of that is a slumber that lets go and steadily dries, unconcerned, into its own essence.