If I considered the calendar it too would remind me that it's fall. The temperature, the weather in general, doesn't suggest fall. There's no rain, typical of an Oregon fall and the temperature is a sunny 90˚F. Yet, I'm gathering the pole beets and canning them. A week ago that batch of beans became pickled beans. The bowl of tomatoes became freshly canned tomato sauce, the cucumbers became "bread and butter chips" while yesterday's gathering were pickled.
Some of the herbs are hanging in the sun, drying and waiting their turn to enter the herb pantry. The blackberries are coming in cookie sheet at a time to be frozen and bagged. While the berries find a purpose for humans, the blackberry vines are being cut and putted and placed on the burn pile waiting for the rains when the state will again allow backyard burning. They should be nice and dry and ready to go up in smoke in another month.
It's been a dry summer; I think we're just days short of three months without rain. When we were in Eugene a week ago we drove home with the windshield wipers on, well, we drove almost home. We turned the wipers off about a mile from our house. When we walked out of a meeting in Monmouth last week, the pavement around the car was damp but again not in our yard. Some plants are showing the consequences of this summer's climate, some trees are shedding browned leaves, garden plants are turning brown and wilting even though we water them regularly. I guess that another sign of fall. They simply have completed their cycle.
Amid the browning that comes with fall and no rain, the fall crocus are everywhere and oh so plentiful. Amazing plants, how they store all their energy in their bulbs and then at the appropriate time, just stick their blossoms out. No fanfare, no leaves, no stem, no stalk, just a bouquet of blossoms, rain or shine.
We ask ourselves as common folks, scientists think they know, how do plants and animals know when it's fall and they would change their behavior. It seems to be a part of us humans as well. When you step out into the darkness, which comes earlier and earlier each day, we can just sense the approaching change of seasons. Yes, it's cooler, but there's a sensation in the air that we sense.
Animalwise only chickens live with us now. They are products of past years, only three of them, and a purchase of babies in early April. Their feeders and water containers allowed me to visit them a couple times a week but now they are laying eggs and I must gather the six or eight they lay each day. They're still not full size but that will come about in time. The horses escaped the last padlock a couple days after the eclipse and went home to join their herdmates down the hill. They were close enough to talk to each other and apparently the conversation led them to escape.
I see no noticeable difference in which birds are eating the bird seed I put out. The doves, quails and wild turkeys can be seen cleaning up on the ground from the spill over by birds in the feeder. We got a new and larger humming bird feeder so we don't change that as often but I would wonder if they are feeding on less of our sugar water than earlier.
I'm off to the garden, to gather a cabbage for supper and a few tomatoes to sit on the side. I will also go and wash my hands again to see if I can reduce the smell of rosemary and thyme.