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>A last lovely day in November

November 12, 2010

>It was a shock to come home from shirtsleeve weather in Korea to temperatures in the thirties and snow flurries at the end of October! But autumn returned for a few lovely days this week and we took it as a benediction on getting outside, cleaning up the gardens, and making the most of the last pleasant days we may see until next spring.

First to go were the jack-o-lanterns and the smaller pumpkins, which had frozen.

The jack-o-lanterns ended their brief careers on the compost pile. The girls wanted to see if the two smaller pumpkins, replanted in the garden, would grow pumpkins next year. So we dug them in to find out. We also saved seeds from one of the jack-o-lanterns. This year’s crop of 13 pumpkins grew from six of last years’ seeds.

These apples are Connell Reds. Sixteen years ago, when we planted the whip that became this tree, it was labeled “Regent,” our favorite late apple. Connell Red is an older cultivar with a nice thick skin that can withstand late fall temperatures. But unfortunately for this tree, it matures after the Honey Crisp, Cortland, and Haralson trees. By the time late October arrives, we so tired of processing apples that the Connell Reds are left for the deer who visit the gardens each night.

The three older girls had lessons in which plants need to keep their “coats” on (dead foliage) to survive Minnesota winters, which plants we leave standing because they are beautiful in the snow, and which ones we cut down in the fall because new growth emerges so early in the spring.

Joy supervised from her swing, propelled by K., one of her indispensable helpers.
Daisy (now14 weeks old and 3.5 lbs.) enjoys gardening, too.

At the end of the morning, we discovered that we’d made a composition: the remains of summer. (One pretty pile of dead foliage.)

And the skeletal remains of one awesome kid-imagined, kid-built fort erected over the summer under the Honey Crisp tree. Faith, who at 10 is the chief engineer, hopes to winterize it with Tyvek and duct tape.

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