Autumn. Leaves are falling like rain on the emerald green lawn. There are enough windfall apples under the tree to keep the forest of critters happy over the winter. I managed to get a huge bowlful of blue and white grapes from our vines – enough to make eight or nine jars of jelly. Only three birds dive-bombed me in a rage because I was taking the best specimens. Enough withered nubbins are left – they’ll have to make do. Dug in over 100 tulip and daffodil bulbs this morning, scuffing up the group in hopes that those predatory broad-tailed rats (aka squirrels) get confused and leave them alone until they can bloom next spring. Mind you, these are the same yard vermin burying orange golf balls in the flower planters and leaving piles of tennis-ball sized walnuts on the deck behind the barbeque.

TOMATILLOSI’ve harvested the last of summer’s bounty. Tomatillos – papery husks hiding sticky green fruit that puckers the tongue when raw. I love those weird looking straggly plants and so do the bees. I had to fight a few of them away from the still-blooming plants. Basil is still flourishing and the rosemary bushes have done well. I discovered half a dozen zebra tomatoes in the midst of the flower garden so I’m making a roasted salsa verde that I’ll pop into the freezer rather than canning. The sharp scent of cider vinegar, salt, sugar and chopped veggies fills the house with warmth. In the midst of a blizzard in January, we’ll pop open a jar and savor the taste of summer.