I used to laugh sarcastically when anyone mentioned September being autumn here in Florida. It always seemed to me that we never quite had anything but autumn, starting in November, and ending in February. Some years there are a few weeks of actual “winter” in January, but autumn certainly didn’t start in September. I remember my first grade teacher – dear Ms. Frisco, the one with the long, red fake nails who jabbed you in the shoulder with them if you annoyed her for some reason…it was easy to annoy her….she told us that the months that ended with -ber were cold, like brrrr! Even then, I knew she was wrong. Autumn here doesn’t begin with cold. It begins with leaves, and a different quality of air. The high, long, feathery clouds that come before storm fronts strew the sky, pushing back the big, billowy summer-storm clouds that have faces on all their corners.
The garden is as tall and intimidating as ever. We are using chickens to push it back some. The yuca is enormous. I pulled some last week. It wasn’t at it’s full massive-root-glory yet, but it was very tender and delicious. We’re mired in pumpkins at the moment, but the wild sumac berries and roselle make wonderful sour drinks to help along our monotonous meals.
My fall greens are still just little nubs. I needed to plant things two weeks ago, but didn’t have time, or energy, or it was pouring on me. I can’t remember which now. But the last few days have been dry, blessedly dry, amazingly dry. I never would have believed dryness feels so nice and free. I’ve been working like a horse, inside and out.
I’m longing for fall greens. It’s amazing how having a garden can make you long for things. I never longed for squash, or yearned for collard greens the way I do now. I nearly broke down and bought some inferior store-bought kale, but was detered by the terrible condition of the vegetables. It looked like someone had hit them with a flame-weeder. I know I am spoiled, but this was really bad. So I am having to be content with just longing right now, and meanwhile sipping some sumac-berry-ade and honey-fermented roselle soda.