Guess what? It’s October–wait for it–I’m in Minnesota, it’s the second week of October, and it was almost 90 degrees yesterday. I know, right? It’s been so nice the past month that my tomatoes are setting new fruit. Yes, you read that right. I’ve got fresh leaves and green tomatoes on my plants. Normally, we’d have had a light frost by now that would’ve killed the plants.
Yesterday was summer. The day before was a super-nice, mid-seventies fall day. Today, less nice, less summer, more blustery fall. Wind, clouds, and an almost-forty-degree temperature drop from yesterday. Gotta love Minnesota weather. Fifties today, and the weather geeks are predicting frost by the weekend. Talk about weather whiplash!
Okay, I have to brag a bit. Remember the jaunt through the garden a couple posts back? I mentioned onions the size of softballs–bet you didn’t believe me, did you? Since it was so nice yesterday, I drafted my daughter to help me pick the onions. I knew we’d have a good haul, but OMG, this is a bit of overkill for a family of four, even if we use onions in just about everything.
See that white ball? It’s a plastic facsimile of a softball (couldn’t find a real softball). I’m not sure weight-wise what we ended up with. We’ll leave them outside on box screens to cure for a while. Usually we’re good with one screen, which is about four feet by seven feet or so. This year, we needed a second screen. The air circulation is important; the onions need to develop a tough skin so they last longer in storage. The past couple years have been lousy for onions–they kept getting washed out by heavy spring/summer rains. This year’s been superb for just about everything. Next on the docket: digging potatoes. I’ll have to wait until the onions have cured for a week or two before digging the potatoes. The potatoes will need to cure as well once they’re out of the ground so the skins will thicken a bit.
“Are you just about done, love?” My Muse is perched on a saw horse my hubby neglected to put away. He’s working the outdoorsman style again, complete with hiking boots, worn jeans, and flannel. “Enough about your prize onions.”
“Hey, I spent a lot of time this summer weeding these.”
“I know it.” He stands, hands hanging by his thumbs from his front pockets, and shakes his head. “You need to reset your focus. Shift from summer to winter.”
“Don’t say the ‘w’ word,” I grumble. “You know I’ve still got stuff to do in the garden. I’ve got to pull out the soaker hoses, collect the stakes, take down the fence, finish harvesting. Hell, I’m still picking raspberries.”
“And NaNo starts in a couple weeks. You need to start focusing.”
“I did start. I got through the second chapter revision.”
“And you’ve got how many more to go? You can’t just start in November, love. You’ve got to get your ass in gear if you want to have a polished, query-ready novel by spring.”
“I know. How come you’re not busting my chops?”
He lays an arm around my shoulders. He smells like hot cocoa and fireplace smoke. “I’m saving up. I know you’ve got garden work left, so until the first frost, you’ll be distracted. But if there’s another day like today–cloudy and blustery–before then, you’re going to sit your ass down and push forward on the revisions. Got it?”
“Yeah, I got it. You know, you’re making me crave hot chocolate.”
His scent shifts from cocoa to onion. I push him away. “Gak. Seriously?”
He chuckles. “Be glad I didn’t pick cooking Brussels sprouts.”
Ugh. I love to eat them, but they smell worse than broccoli when cooking. He’s messing with me.
Enjoy the remaining days of colored leaves. This year’s been absolutely beautiful. I’ll try to catch a few of the spectacular colors in the next few days and share them with you.
Two weeks left to prep for NaNo. Are you ready?