Monday, November 17, 2008

Indian Summer Came and Went

A few days ago we had Indian Summer, and it lasted for about 2 days. The temperatures were in the 60's, it was breezy and warm, and the damp air hit me in the face whenever I went outside.

On Saturday morning, after I went outside for the tour of my gardens, it felt so luxurious to be in the warm air that I decided to engage in the long process of preparing the garden beds and plants for winter. That process includes harvesting and planting any seeds still left, cutting down the dead stalks of flowers, mulching where necessary, raking leaves, and transplanting the plants that would be better off moved.

The wonderful thing for me about gardening now is that my back feels no strain when I am on all-fours. Gravity is not compressing my spine if it is horizontal, which means I can garden on hands and knees for hours at a time. So while kneeling in the garden at the front of the house, I uncovered some Jack-in-the-Pulpit seeds that I hadn't found to plant earlier. And when I picked up the seeds, still attached to the decomposing plant stalk, and that still attached to the plant bulb, the bulb came out of the ground. Oops! Time to put it back in the ground.

The Jack-in-the-Pulpit plants are very interesting, actually, and at the end of the summer when the seeds form, they are so heavy that they cause the entire plant stalk to fall to the ground, tipping the bulb over. So, typically, in the early fall I will find Jack-in-the-Pulpit bulbs in the garden poking out of the ground and tipped over on their sides.

So with a bulb having come out of the ground, I dug a hole and put it back where it belonged. And in the process, it turned out that I had dug up 2 other Jack-in-the-Pulpit bulbs! In fact, there is a small area in the front of our house where there must be over 20 of these bulbs, including all sizes from small peas to large lemons. It was quite a challenge to plant the ones that were showing at the surface, because each time I dug a hole, I uncovered more than the ones I was about to plant.

And as I was 'playing' with the Jack-in-the-Pulpit bulbs, it started to rain. Lightly at first. And I needed to put these bulbs back in the ground, so I just continued to garden in the rain. Then it started to rain harder, but I still wasn't done, so I continued to garden. Anyway, I had my rain coat on, and it didn't really matter if I got wet. After all, it was warm on this Indian summer day. But then it started to rain REALLY hard.

It was when I noticed a flash of light behind me that I wondered to myself 'was that lightning?' and then heard the boom of thunder. I noticed a few more lightning flashes and heard the sounds of thunder before I finished putting all of the Jack-in-the-Pulpits to rest.

With my hands covered in mud, my raincoat completely soaked, and my sweatpants drenched from the knees down, I came in out of the rain after my gardening adventure. After all, it was Indian summer, and I wasn't going to let the warm weather go by without spending time in the garden. I have too much fun digging in the Earth on my hands and knees.

Well, that was Saturday. Indian summer is gone now. Today the temperature was above freezing, but it was cold an breezy. And for the coming week, the highs are forecast to be in the 30's and the lows in the low 20's. So it is safe to say that Indian Summer is over -- it came and went in 2 days.

But even though it was cold today, I was still out in the garden on my hands and knees playing...

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