Saturday Single No. 305

As August enters its final week, we see very clear signs of the coming change of seasons: The lawn is spotted with the first fallen brown oak leaves, and the lower leaves on about half of the oaks are turning color as they prepare to join them. Not all that long from now, the rest of the oaks and the basswood will follow, and most of the lawn will be deep in brown and yellow reminders that time never stops.

The two gardens are about played out, with only the pole beans and carrots remaining in the farther plot and the tomatoes still producing in the nearer one. That’s okay, though, because when it comes to picking, preparing, canning and eating fresh vegetables, the Texas Gal and I are about played out as well. We have added about forty jars of various pickles, about forty jars of green beans, five pounds of potatoes, eight to nine pints of pasta sauce and maybe four pints of various types of relish to our shelves in the fruit cellar and the freezer. Next weekend, we’ll likely take the last of the tomatoes and make some chili base.

(We also did put up a few pints of corn, but that corn came from the supermarket. Our first attempt at growing corn whimpered to a stunted halt, overwhelmed by heat, the lack of nitrogen and weeds.)

Other signs of autumn’s eventual arrival settle more and more each day into the frame of life here on the East Side: The slight morning mist in the low spots along the railroad tracks and the crowds of geese taking a break from their flights in a nearby yard are most easily noticed, but the most potent might be the shift in the breeze. On several days, as the temperature struggled to reach seventy degrees, the wind came across the yard from the northwest, cool, bracing and dry. Gone, for those days, at least, was the damp southwest wind that brings summer thunder.

One of the odd things about this year’s autumn prologue is the lack of acorns. By this time of August during our first three years here, acorns were plenty; one of the signal sounds of our annual picnic during its first two years was the crunching of acorns under the wheels of cars as our friends drove up Thirteenth Avenue. There are few if any acorns in the street this year; whether they will yet fall or whether they were hampered by the stop-and-start spring and a few overheated weeks of the summer, I do not know.

I do know that, acorns or not, our friends will drive up Thirteenth Avenue tomorrow for our annual get-together. I’ve been keeping an eye on the weather forecast all week; early on, WeatherBug offered a forty percent chance of rain for tomorrow, and I worried how we’d cope should we need shelter from a summer storm. But this morning’s forecast for tomorrow promises clear skies, west winds and a temperature near eighty degrees, a warm and sunny day for us to say farewell to this summer.

 So here’s a fitting and lovely piece of British folk music. Taken from Shelagh McDonald’s August 1971 sessions for a third album that was never completed, it’s “Sweet Sunlight,” and it’s today’s Saturday Single.

Edited slightly after first posting.


One Response to “Saturday Single No. 305”

  1. Yah Shure says:

    It’s nice to know the annual picnic’s hard-hat alert has been lifted this year! Trees are often cyclical; the black walnut in my back yard has a comparatively “off” year one out of every three. But after two consecutive “off” years, the proverbial shoe is about the only thing that *hasn’t* dropped from the %$@! thing this summer. The only surprise is that the squirrels – which began to raid the arboreal pantry in late June (and earlier than ever before) – don’t all weigh three hundred pounds apiece by now.

    And after two straight months of shell-bombing on the patio, there’s still no end in sight…

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