Living in a garden makes you pay more attention to the beautiful cycle of the seasons.
I dread moving from summer to fall, mostly because I know that winter, with its snow, wind, and cold, gray skies, is not far behind. Nevertheless, there’s a lot to like about fall.
For one, fall is beautiful. Quite a few plants — in my garden, this includes asters, zinnias, cleome, morning glory, roses, black-eyed Susan vine, and more — are still blooming. Leaves on shrubs and trees are turning crimson, orange, persimmon, maroon, and yellow — gorgeous!
Second, if I am honest, I will admit that I’m a little tired of the garden. Most of the flowers have faded, leaving behind browning leaves and seedheads. I leave the seedheads for the birds, but I don’t necessarily like the way they look. Also, it’s been a banner year for weeds, and I will be glad not to see them for awhile.
Third, it’s the season of pumpkin-carving, apples, cider, and doughnuts. Is there anything much more fun than visiting a farm with your family to purchase your Halloween pumpkin, take a hayride or find your way through a corn maze?
Fourth, the weather is cooler and night comes sooner. I feel like eating a colorful bowl of Chuck’s Chili, wearing sweaters and sitting around a fire. Chuck’s Chili is our family classic, made mostly from canned veggies. It is super easy to do:
- 1 pound ground beef, grass fed if possible
- 1 medium onion
- 2 to 3 peppers of different colors (red, yellow, and green are nice)
- 4 cans of different beans (we use black, kidney, pinto, and chili beans)
- Tomatoes from the garden, chopped and cooked down, peels and all (see recipe on A Way to Garden by Margaret Roach), or a large can of chopped tomatoes if you don’t have the garden variety
- Salt, pepper, chili powder and other spices of your choosing
Chop the onion and the peppers. Throw them into a skillet with the ground beef and cook until the beef is browned and the vegetables are lightly cooked. Transfer to a crock pot. Add the four cans of beans, undrained, plus at least two cans of water. Add the tomatoes, and then add to your taste salt, pepper, chili powder, and any other spices you like. Cook for several hours. Then enjoy (while watching a good football game if that is your preference).
This chili tastes even better on Day 2, and it freezes well for later use, if your batch is too big, as ours often is. You can also throw in some pasta and have something resembling goulash.
Though I really don’t enjoy winter that much, I know that beyond winter lies another growing season. I know that shortly after December 21, I’ll become aware of lengthening days. I know that as the evenings lighten, my spirits will lighten, too, and soon, I’ll go outside to hunt for emerging hosta leaves and snowdrops under snow. Finding these harbingers of the season to come wouldn’t be nearly so sweet if I weren’t so tired of winter!
This is a response from a writing prompt by Gayla Trail, owner of the You Grow Girl website: http://yougrowgirl.com/grow-write-guild-13-endings-transitions/#more-13687. Visit You Grow Girl if you’d like to participate.
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