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.

13 thoughts on “Autumn is Coming

  1. Preparing for a true winter. So different from living in east bay Being attune is a wonderful capacity!

    Enjoy the preparations.


    Sent from my mobile (pls pardon the typos)



    1. Well there’s certainly nothing subtle about winter here. Compared to Chicago it’s just getting started when suddenly it’s April and all over. But yes, I liked my California weather and I can assure you, I’ll be getting all the cold and wind I could possibly want. I’m hoping for a long Indian summer.


        1. So it’s you that has been rooting around in my pantry! How else would you know that I have a whole stash of non-French and not junky — they think Old El Paso makes good Mexican food, poor dears — comestibles. I’ll probably do a whole post about it this spring, when the tomatillos and cilantro appear. I even brought home some Bob’s Red Mill masa, so desperate am I for decent tortillas.

          Obviously it’s Latin American food that I really miss. Good Chinese food is next on the list. We have lots of Chinese food but the quality is generally dreadful. Indian food, not so much. Yesterday I was looking at chutney recipes, so it’s not out of the question. It is raining today. Could be time to pull out those old Julie Sahni cookbooks.

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  2. Apparently it’s going to be a warmer than usual Indian summer because of the combination of weather patterns in the North Pole and the (probable) return of El Niño. They say approx. 1.5 degrees warmer than usual on average. Next week we’ve got predictions for a couple of days over 30 which I’m told is incredibly rare up here in the mountains. This was definitely the hottest summer I’ve had in France as well.


    1. Uh oh. I was thinking about that today, when it rained, then immediately became t-shirt weather. It’s not quite Hong Kong, where you get t-shirt weather during the rain, but it’s not really like this part of France, either. Maybe all those new windmills are too little, too late.

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  3. No sign of Fall here … we are set for temps in the high 90s this week. Schools are back next Tuesday, it’ll be hot and then it will start to dip and the leaves will turn and just like that, right around Thanksgiving it will freeze like I have never felt, probably dump a truckload of snow and I’ll remember that I didn’t have the first clue about extreme weather til I came to New England ….. Have fun with those tomatoes and melt them well (that’s what we call tommy sauce in our house – melted tomatoes because I add nothing except oil or butter and whatever herb takes my fancy that moment) and knit a fine scarf. Soon enough the seasons will turn again and whatever fiascos we are treated to in the world, we can at least cling to that …. for now 😊


    1. That’s right. You’re back in the States. Well, there was no snow in my part of California and that was fine with me. No snow here, either, and sometimes I still feel like I’m freezing. I think I’m getting my winter routine down, though. It involves, staying in, making stews, knitting and not much else.

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      1. Winter is the time to hibernate, though I do much hiking even in thick snow given the chance. Here, I will be working hard on renovating the inside of the house during the dark months having spent the summer toiling in the yard and being quite proud of what we have achieved ….. it has to be good because I want best price when it’s sold. That will be the basis of the pot for the maison familiale in France when we return 😉

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  4. How quickly we change our mindsets. After such a wonderful summer, this weekend we talked about autumn walks and I started decorating the UK house – always a sign of the approaching winter! I would ask where the year has gone, but it has – in fairness – been amazing


    1. The year just goes. It doesn’t take long. To me it’s the whole nesting thing that is amazing. Birds migrate, we suddenly feel the need to clear out the mess, right to the most hidden corner and farthest property line. Where does that come from? Tidiness is not my thing. It’s as if I believe in flogiston, but think it’s creativity, not mice, that is made in the dust. Obviously that is not the case, so when this urge to clean comes over me, I honor it. I know it won’t last long!


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