"Happy fall," she said sadly.
I was amazed at how suddenly summer was over this year. One day we were wearing shorts and sandals, and the next we were digging out our pants and shoes and I was inventorying Katya's long sleeve shirts, sweaters and warm pajamas. The season literally changed overnight.
Now the sun is shining again and although we're wearing pants on a regular basis and I'm constantly wary of chilly breezes on tender little ears, at least it's pleasant to go outside again.
We are picking the last of our garden's produce. We had quite a crop this year. Actually, all credit goes to Brent. He was in charge of the garden while I took on the flowerbeds. We had: radishes, peas, five types of lettuce, kale, carrots, six types of peppers, six types of tomatoes, okra, green beans, spinach and strawberries. We also have some cantaloupe and watermelon that are getting close to ripening but we're not sure if they will this late in the season. We also have some pumpkins, red potatoes and brussel sprouts that are looking very happy now that we've had a couple of frosts.
The biggest crop by far was the tomatoes. There was a forest of tomatoes. I've been combing my cookbooks and the internet for fresh tomato recipes. I did find a really good tomato soup recipe on allrecipes.com (Garden Fresh Tomato Soup). A few days ago I made a huge batch and froze it. I felt all domestic--preparing for the winter. We will have a red winter: we will have the tomato soup and I also froze a bunch of strawberries last June. Brent whipped up a batch of salsa before school started. I was so impressed. He made it up without a recipe and it turned out great.
Katya loved being a helper whenever Brent or I went out to pick vegetables. For a long time it was a bit of a chore for her to be out with us because she would see us picking and think she should pick too. Of course, what her quick little hands grabbed were not the items that were suitable for harvest.
Finally, we figured out that if we gave her the basket and brought her the ripe beans or tomatoes, she was pleased as punch to put them in the basket one at a time. We had to keep her with a ready supply, though, or she would start pulling up grass and putting it in or she would get up and start picking things on her own out of the garden. Brent discovered that it worked best to put her pile of vegetables a little distance from the basket so she had to walk back and forth. But she loved doing this.
When everything was picked that we needed that evening, Katya wanted to carry the basket in herself. That was fine when there were just a few things in it, but she got so frustrated when the basket was too heavy. She insisted on trying to carry it but she kept stumbling and dropping it. After going through several days of this, one day when Brent was out with her, she simply grabbed one cherry tomato in each hand and happily carried those while Brent carried the basket. The next day when I was with her, she grabbed two beans.
While we're on the subject of outdoor living things, here is the flowerbed I planted this spring. When we moved in there were no flowers. We pulled out the bush that was on the corner of the house and I planted mostly perennials and a few annuals. The petunias were all volunteers. Almost everything I planted there grew really fast this summer.