Autumn is Coming

Autumn is coming. That’s not a misquote. It’s a fact. You can feel it out here. The days are noticeably shorter and the heat wave is well and truly over.

Everything that can is going to seed. Apart from the roses I grow heirloom varieties, so I’m collecting seed like crazy, that or filling bins with weeds, quick before they set themselves up for next year. I’m afraid the weeds will win, again, but I’ll fight them to the last.

Long ago I knew a woman who clearly hoped I would marry one of her five sons. The boys, no interest, no way, but she was terrific. She would talk about putting things by, buying overripe vegetables for a song and canning them or making pasta sauce. If you need to feed five hungry young men at an affordable price, pasta is your friend. She would love it out here. Yesterday I picked up a huge crate of tomatoes for 5 euros. I think I’ll make some pasta sauce.

I find myself clearing and cleaning, buttoning everything down in preparation for the winter that is obviously on its way. The knitting that I put down four months ago is coming out again. I’m going to need that scarf.

“Becoming French” is a common theme in expat blogs. That’s not likely to happen to me. When I told one of my grandsons I was moving here, he got a little scared. “So, will you become French?” I laughed and assured him I’d always be an American, but at the time I really had no clue.

Seeing what is happening over there, I guess I’m basically stateless, regardless of what passport I carry. But I am becoming more like a country person. I see what city people are doing to change Vendee. The cornfields are expanding to boost ethanol production, such a bad idea, and windmills are being installed at minimum distances, which may be okay, but still. The countryside is seen as a factory, its primary purpose to produce goods that allow the cities to chug along nonstop, regardless of the season or time of day.

I don’t want to go too far with this. No way would I want to give up my NASA-designed house insulation or my Amazon deliveries. I don’t even want to give up my wifi. But when it becomes truly chilly outside I’m sure I’ll be more attuned and more responsive to the seasonal changes than I was even five years ago. Maybe I’ll hibernate or at least come over all Jimmy Carter and put on a sweater.

But that’s getting ahead of the story. Right now I need to label those seed packets.

Harvest Time

It has been too hot to blog. All I would have said is, “I’m too hot. I need a shower/drink/nap/trip to anywhere with air conditioning. Then clouds appeared. Then a drop of water. Then thundershowers. Now it is cool again.

The heat accelerated the ripening of everything. Last spring I bought a few of those seed packets labeled “butterfly mix,” “meadows,” that sort of thing, and scattered the contents where I figured Julien wouldn’t mow down the sprouts. They sprouted and flowered. The way I garden, that’s a miracle in itself. Now I have a bonus in all those seed pods. I spread them on big sheets of paper where I now see little black seeds collecting. Next the seeds will go in little bags labeled with my own home-grown taxonomy: “blue knee-high,” “purple waist-high” or maybe, in a burst of specificity, “hollyhocks, pink.”

That’s it for now. I’m still recovering.