August 20, 2011

A Change of Seasons

We've had a succession of glorious late summer days – clear skies, mild air, gentle breezes – days making it almost impossible to stay indoors and work. As I sit at the picnic table, shaded by the backyard tree, the fact of late summer sliding into fall is unmistakable. The robins have left, the crickets and cicadas are loudly singing their ode to shorter days, the apple trees in the orchard are hung with bright red balls of ripening fruit. In the woods, a single red leaf on the path reminds me of the brilliant color soon to come.

Along the stone wall in my orchard is a maple that is the first to show color each year. Its leaves are now tipped with red, giving the tree a look of warmth among brighter greens. The deep red of the chokecherry berries add a festive touch.

The Burning Bush next to the barn is the first shrub to color; in early fall it will be a flaming red.

The rose hips announce the end of summer as they ripen into deep orange or crimson.

The wildflower that announces summer's end for me is the aster, just come into bloom.

The first apples of the season, Sops of Wine, are ripe. What could be more of a fall activity than picking apples and then making a big batch of apple sauce? I canned five quarts of sauce yesterday, with more to come as the main crop comes in.

And yet, even with all these signs of coming fall, summer is still fully with us. The melons are ripening in the garden, as are the tomatoes. I baked some challah bread today so I can have my much anticipated lunches of lettuce and tomato sandwiches. The corn, a staple of summer, is delicious; I eat two ears each day. There are eggplants and peppers and blueberries. What a confusion of delights, as summer mixes with fall.


  1. Your own lettuce and tomato on your own Challah! Now that is a perfect August day.

  2. This post left me amazed by how late summer arrives and how fast summer passes in New England. Only a month or two ago you showed pictures of flowers(iris, I think) that had long since bloomed and gone to seed where I live in southeastern Pennsylvania. The turning point of summer into fall, your focus here, is my favorite time of year.

    Thank you,


  3. Ms. Wis., your recounting of my own ingredients may inspire me to also make my own mayonnaise!

    waysideartist, we have a much shorter season up here. Later in the fall, after the leaves have gone, I love driving south to NYC and seeing the fall happen all over again.

  4. Wonderful post and pix, Altoon. I notice this seasonal shift in the light and the way the air smells slightly drier.

  5. Thanks, Julie. This morning there was a real nip in the air, very much feeling like autumn.