Monday, October 5, 2009

The Last Rose of Summer

"And a time for every purpose..."

HANK: I had to wear a coat today.

How does that happen? Is the time just in some new realm of physics where it's somehow speeding up? I remember I just set out the pool lounge chairs. Seems like I just planted the white geraniums. I just changed the family room slipcovers to from taupe suede to white canvas. I just saw the first crocuses.

Isn't that right?

And now: I have to wear a coat. (Okay, not the one in the photo, but she looks pretty long as she doesnt have to do anything. Or see. Mine was just a khaki trench coat.) That means soon: I have to put away the flowered plastic glasses we use by the pool. Harvest all the basil and pick the last of the roses and dahlias so I won't lose them to frost. Have the moment of truth with the put-away sweaters where I see who's won the battle this year: me?Or the moths? And the cooking magazines are showing TURKEYS. It can't be time for that.

And yet--when I put that coat on, it felt cozy and right. I tried on a new fall blazer, and it didn't feel out of season. We've been though a lot together, you all. Haven't we? And now we're in our autumn rituals together again. Happy to be with you. What are you doing for fall?

ROBERTA: I already said this in my own (little) blog, but we received the most amazing fall surprise this year--pumpkins sprang up out of our compost heap of their own accord. I saw a patch of orange up in the briars behind the garden--two gorgeous full-sized pumpkins were hanging there!

And it's certainly better sleeping weather in the fall. My hub's a madman about not turning heat on too early, so it gets darn chilly around here. Even the cat was curled up next to me this morning, purring and purring and purring.

I have to be honest though, part of the reason I can enjoy the fall is that we'll be spending the worst of winter in Key West. (Go ahead, pelt me with leftover green tomatoes from the garden...I know how lucky I am!)

HALLIE: I know it’s fall because I’m sneezing. And cooking soup (leek and potato -- yum). And because the last tomato is ripening on the counter. And because three very fat squirrels are racing around the garden gathering fallen acorns. What a year it is for acorns! Gotta wear a hard hat. They'll be good for pelting Roberta with.

RO: I know it's fall because I've finally stopped feeling guilty about not spending enough time in the garden. The leaves are turning, the ornamental grasses look beautiful and I didn't have to do any of it!
It always happens too fast. Seems like I just changed the curtains in my bedroom and have now had to change them back (ivory crinkly to tan velvety... they could go in Hank's family room)because I knew I'd be freezing the other night if i didn't.

I love this time of year. Scarves and gloves. And fires in the fireplace. I guess it reminds me of back to school and seeing old friends after the summer. Jealous of Roberta's pumpkins!

JAN: We have a sun porch, that oddly, we don't use in the summer because it gets insanely hot with the sun. But I know it's fall because last night, my husband and I lit up the gas stove there and caught up on the week with a glass of wine.
With the cold rainy June, I think summer was actually shorter this year, it isn't just time speeding up. By very early September I already had to dig my boots out of the winter closet -- but that's what I love about New England, wearing boots and long wool jackets.

HANK: Hey Hallie, hand me summa those acorns to throw at Roberta. Key West, huh? Anyway, yes, sweaters! Much more friendly than bathing suits. (I guess that's an autumn of life thing.) And I love mufflers and scarves. SO, Joanthan took the air conditioners out of the windows and stowed them wherever he stows them. The lawn furniture is in the garage. What are you all doing to welcome the fall?


  1. Ha - when you started to mention sweaters, Hank, I thought the battle was going to be, "Are they tighter or looser than last year?"

    Fall for me is baking apple pie with local apples. Wearing shoes and socks again. Reactivating the gym membership for days too cold and rainy to walk outdoors. Yes, sneezing (it's a really bad ragweed year...). Eating pears. The first fire in the wood stove. And best of all, on a cool sunny day, planting the garlic for next July's harvest.


  2. Fall for us usually means apple crisp and pots of soup and heading upriver to hike. This year it's meant getting up extra early and running when it's still cool enough to see your breath.

    The munchkin and I welcomed fall yesterday by doing Run for the Cure--five kilometres along the riverfront in pouring rain. It took four and a half months of training and my lucky Law and Order hat.

    Yes, I have to give a shout out to Hank because my L&O cap has become my running hat. (I don't think I can run without it.) It stayed on through wind and rain and an accidental encounter with an elm tree branch.

    Thanks Hank!

  3. Ah, Edith. Yes, somehow they always seem to get smaller over the summer. Must have been somthing that happned at the dry cleaners.

  4. ANd Darlene, hurray for the 5K! What an accomplishment. And you're so welcome! I can envision you in the hat, running along. It does seem like a power hat. And I bet people get out of your way.

  5. Just wishing it would be fall other than on the calendar. We're still in the 90's.

    I have a week in Quebec starting Saturday; looking forward to wearing some warmer clothes. Of course, all my warmer clothes are impossibly out of date, because when you only need them a few times a year, it just seems wasteful to buy new ones solely for fashion.

  6. We, too, took the air conditioners out last week. And we brought the plants in from the screened porch. Although we have yet to put away the furniture out there.

    We are pricing a new furnace and hope to have it installed before it gets really cold! We're like Roberta's husband: no turning on the heat until it's really unbearable.

  7. Karen! Congrats on great review in Mystery Scene..I don't have it in front of me, but there's a photo of you, and the book cover, and the review is 100 per cent positive!

    (whoo hoo..there's a great start to the season!)

  8. Roberta's volunteer compost pumpkins almost seem symbolic, like a impulsive gift from the Earth.

    For me, Fall means long pants again. Caramel apples in the stores (which explains my series of Incredible Shrinking Swimsuits.) Jackets and fleecy, snuggly wraps 'n things. And "60 Minutes" will probably start late each Sunday for a while. ;->

    BTW, great to see some of you at NEIBA this weekend.

  9. Terry, where are you?

    And Rhonda, Turtlenecks!

    So sorry I missed NEIBA--I was in Atlanta at the Moonlight and Magnolias Convention. (Which was terrific..anyone out there also attend?)

    SO what's the scoop from NEIBA? We'd love a full report from the field!

  10. Ah, turtlenecks! I miss them from back in the days when I had a real neck and one chin. ::rimshot!:: :)

    Moonlight & Magnolias looked like a lot of fun. This was my first NEIBA, so I have no frame of reference for comparison.

    I think our NE/SinC-MWA/NE booth stirred up some interest. Nancy Gardner and I held down the fort together during the lunch break period. We chatted up some nice people, quite a few of whom are interested in Sue Grafton's appearance at Crime Bake.

    FWIW, Hallie's stack of books shrank FAST.

  11. I've been watching the squirrels. So has the neighbor's cat. I want a dog to curl up with, wrapped in a blanket.

  12. We met some great independent booksellers at NEIBA -- there were folks there from Buttonwood Books in Cohasset (MA), R. J. Julia in Madison (CT), Front Street Books (Scituate), Village Books (Roslindale), Harvard Bookstore (Cambridge), Wellesley Booksmith, Willow Books (Acton), and a passel in RI and Maine and Vermont that I didn't catch the names of.

  13. Ummm ... and Hickory Stick Bookshop in Washington Depot, CT

    And The Wesleyan Bookstore in Middletown, CT

  14. I'm downing iced pumpkin lattes from Dunkin' by the truckload--gotta make the most of the season!

  15. know, I can't imagine what that tastes like. I might have to try it--hmm. Anyone else want to weigh in on pumpkin spice lattes?

  16. Oh, just trust me, Hank--and get a pumpkin muffin to go with it! (Talk about seasonal overload...)

  17. Ah, know I trust tomorrow I'm off to try a, gulp, pumpkin latte. And report back.

    The things I'll do for the Reds...

    xox Hank

  18. For me Fall is about the food, the colours and the scents. Roasts, soups, cookies... And the smell of the leaves. Their incredible colours. Our trees are turning and the views are spectacular!

  19. Hank -- I'm in central Florida, where as I respond (late, I know) to your question, it's 8:20 AM and 76 degrees outside, headed for another day in the 90's

  20. Have to dig up that recipe for Pumpkin torte...there's a story there but that's for another blog.
    Made a tart tatin yesterday...must be fall! I want all of those boots...can we blog about boots one day?