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Date:12/26/2014 8:28:26 PM
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Requiem of a Garden
It was almost a year ago to the day that I wrote a blog about cleaning up the home garden. On this day I did almost the exact same things that I had done a year ago. As I went over last year's entry, it reminded me that one year in a Countryman's or woman's life resemble all the others. Still, as I had mentioned last year; each year in a Countryman's is a life cycle in an of itself. This year, a warm, early Autumn has allowed some garden crops to remain active beyond their normal lifespan. I was able to harvest cucumbers and peppers into October. Even today, after several cold nights, some of the bean and pepper plants were still green, as if "flash frozen". The day dawned bright and sunny and I had my Ruthie take some photos for me. The first one I think says "a thousand words" about the end of the year's gardening. The second photo is the view from where I put my chair out in the sun in order to rest. As I mentioned in my last entry, I love the deep, wine-red burgundy of our Oaks. By the afternoon, there were snow flurries and as I spaded over the last of the raised beds I was glad to be done with it all and have it ready for Winter.

I also found time to pick the last of the winter apples from my semi-dwarf tree at the northeast corner of the backyard. I had bought two of these trees 26 years ago, the first Spring after Ruthie and I settled on our piece of La Ferme Sabloneuse. I had went with a friend who had bought the same type of tree for his front yard. His house is on old, rich farmland where today they grow sod, which tells you how good the soil is. His trees today are georgeous. I made the mistake of planting my trees on the northern lip of the sandhill which makes up my property. One tree died after several years of struggle, but the other still hangs on, stunted, with a scabby trunk. Still, once I had transplanted dozens of Norway pines on the northern face of the hill, and they grew large enough to act as a windblock and heat reflector; that little tree started and continues to produce a fine crop of winter apples. They taste best, crisp and sweet, after several frosts. I saved the best for my lunch for the next week, and gave the rest to my brother to dole out sparingly among his deer stands.

Getting the garden ready for Winter makes me feel sad, because it spells the end of the warm weather. But it is also a relief, or at least a sense of completeness. It's at this time a Countryman and woman makes a summation of the growing year, with an assessment of successes and failures of that year's gardening, and plans for the next's. --Gary
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