First Frost

Becoming a gardener means becoming obsessed with the weather.  Two days ago, I brought in the rosemary, thyme, sage, parsley (yes, the whole song, though the parsley is half-yellowed and is really just in to make it easier to harvest what’s left and then, I hope, put it in the compost bin I still have yet to build), and my beloved potted nasturtiums.  I also brought in the pea and arugula seedlings, especially after half of the arugula seedlings died.  But yesterday I spent all day on campus and came home irritated and irritable, more focused on how far my working life is from what I want it to be than the weather and its effects on what is already around here.  I guess one does not need to read a bunch of books on mindfulness to know that one should pay attention to the present and stop worrying the future and the past and whatever else is not right in front of you, but I’m a slow learner and was brought up to appreciate the lessons of books over the lessons of experience.

When I woke up this morning at 6am, it was 29 degrees, as in 3 degrees below freezing.  The lawn was covered in frost, and there was a heavy fog.  Today at Toby’s Montessori, the children are having a Halloween celebration, going to school in costumes (which is why I bought Toby a Thomas the Tank Engine costume at all), going trick or treating (Toby’s first time), playing games, and having a communal lunch.  I realized early that I had forgotten to buy milk, my appointed task — a failure coming too close on the heels of my failure two days ago to put away the meatloaf all night.  (Am I going to recook it and pray?  Quite possibly.)  After getting Toby to school, and running to get the milk, then going to the store to get things we needed, I finally was able to check the raised bed:  the arugula looks fine, the kale seems to be hanging limply with beads of water on them (I bet they’ll be fine), but the nasturtiums are all wilted.  Goodbye nasturtiums, except indoors.

Nasturtiums might be my favorite plant:  they grow in any old soil, are beautiful enough to naturalize anywhere (my ex-mother-in-law had gorgeous white calla lilies with orange nasturtiums winding their ways under them and filling the world with their orange flowers and silver dollar leaves), and taste wonderful.  I know that many people are not adventurous enough to eat the flowers (long ago, a friend of mine who loved pepper refused to try the nasturtiums that I bought and put in the salad especially for him and his peppery tastes and then never let me forget that I “put flowers in the salad” — dork!).  I prefer the leaves actually.  If nasturtiums also smelled good, they’d be perfect.

Very soon I have to be at the Montessori to pass out goodies with the other volunteer parents.  I can’t blow that.


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