Saturday, October 5, 2013

Saturday Farmer's Market - Ramblings & Recipes

Created by Heather at Capricious Reader, and now hosted by Chris at Stuff as Dreams are Made on.

JUST a few Ramblings:   

My apologies if this post ends up being too long, but there's a poem and a recipe!

Grab a hot cuppa and pull up a seat. (The red Adirondack chairs are really quite comfortable.) We can relax here in the garden and have a nice, pleasant visit. Wouldn't that be great - books, tea, laughter, and like minded friends? Oh, I made some Applesauce Muffins* to go with the tea. Or there's coffee if you prefer. I don't actually drink coffee, but in over twenty years my husband hasn't ever complained. (It is not true that he's too afraid to speak up!)

Well, the real life Farmer's Markets are finally closed for the season. Summer has ended, leaves are falling, and the cooler nights hint of winter frosts ahead. As of today, my garden is still filled with sun and color and life, but change is definitely in the air.

The hardest of the garden work is finally finished for the year. It's time to start putting things away and preparing for winter, but I am enjoying the garden too much right now to work, even with the fading annuals and the wilding of the beds. For today, I will revel in my procrastination.

I have more time for reading and writing as I spend less time weeding and such, but I find myself just sitting here in my rocking chair, drinking tea, and watching the wildlife.

Do they know? The birds, moths, bees, butterflies, lizards . . . Do they know what lies ahead? Do they feel it? Or do they simply live their tiny lives to the fullest with no concern for what is to come?

This is also a great time for swapping ideas and insights with other gardeners, and that's another reason I'm glad you stopped by. I love hearing about your gardens too. (inside or out) After all, hot tea on a chilly morning in the garden, with a book or a good friend, is good too.

I took some pictures this week. Though not very good, they show a scruffy but happy garden still in bloom.

The pomegranates are beautiful, as are the little kumquats. The fussiest of all my fruit trees is the navel orange, but so far it still has fruit. Although I'd hazard a guess that 6 or 7 yards out of ten around here have one, they are very finicky.  I hope that improves as it ages.

We didn't get any Asian pears, nectarines, or pluots this summer, but the trees have grown beautifully. Except for the Asian pear, that is. It was damaged by my son's pups this summer. They chewed off quite a bit of the bark. They didn't girdle it and it shows no signs of pests or disease, but it has stayed much smaller than all the other trees that were planted at the same time. We'll nurture it and hope for the best.

I still need to make winter arrangements for my cold tender plants. Since we have cats, just moving them in will not work. Our plan is to convert a small window bay into a tiny conservatory, but we're still working on the plans. My biggest worry is the jade plant. It was badly damaged by frost last winter but is coming back well. I don't want it to happen again.

Happily, I can still enjoy my garden for a good part of the winter. I think being able to see, not just how it is now but how it will be some day, helps too.

I've been wandering through some old poetry anthologies from my undergraduate days while sitting here in the garden, rereading old favorites and checking out poems we never touched.

I'm finding myself drawn back to Walden (online, free eBook, hard copy). Thoreau had a definite connection with both nature and himself that I sometimes envy, but I'm not quite ready to turn my back on the world. Perhaps a small step backward will suffice for now.

Some folks are renewed by the crisp fall weather, some like myself tend toward hibernation as the temperatures drop.

But I wish for everyone the very best. Stay warm and dry. Be good to yourself. Read good books. Listen to beautiful music that soothes your soul. Hug your loved ones and laugh often.

In short, tend to your gardens; the beautiful secret gardens that sustain the world.

The Lost Garden - Dana Gioia

If ever we see those gardens again,
The summer will be gone—at least our summer.
Some other mockingbird will concertize
Among the mulberries, and other vines
Will climb the high brick wall to disappear.
How many footpaths crossed the old estate—
The gracious acreage of a grander age—
So many trees to kiss or argue under,
And greenery enough for any mood.
What pleasure to be sad in such surroundings.
At least in retrospect. For even sorrow
Seems bearable when studied at a distance,
And if we speak of private suffering,
The pain becomes part of a well-turned tale
Describing someone else who shares our name.
Still, thinking of you, I sometimes play a game.
What if we had walked a different path one day,
Would some small incident have nudged us elsewhere
The way a pebble tossed into a brook
Might change the course a hundred miles downstream?
The trick is making memory a blessing,
To learn by loss the cool subtraction of desire,
Of wanting nothing more than what has been,
To know the past forever lost, yet seeing
Behind the wall a garden still in blossom.

from: Interrogations at Noon, Copyright 2001.


4 C unsweetened applesauce
3/4 C sunflower or other light oil
1 1/2 C sugar
2 tsp vanilla
4 1/2 C unbleached flour
1 tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda
4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 C seedless raisins or dried currants

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil and flour loaf pans (2 large or 4 small) I use lined muffin pans instead.

In a large mixing bowl , stir together the applesauce, oil, sugar, and vanilla.

In a separate bowl, mix together the dry ingredients: flour, soda, salt, and spices.

Blend dry ingredients into wet and beat until they are smooth, then mix in the dried fruit until it is distributed evenly.

Divide the batter between the loaf pans or fill muffin cups three quarters full.

Bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Cool to room temperature before slicing. (Yeah, like that will happen. In our house it's "wait until it doesn't take the skin off your mouth")

I'm thinking of substituting pumpkin pie spice for the other spices next time to see how it turns out. It is coming on that time of the year, after all.


  1. I enjoyed your thoughts on saying goodbye to the garden. Your roses look lovely. Mine are blooming tons still too. Is it me, or are the roses and gardens in general, going on longer than normal this year? Which is wonderful to sit and watch as the days shorten.

    Time to dream garden dreams for next year, for me. I enjoyed the poem too. Garden of sorrows and regrets, and yet always something to see that is beautiful. Lovely.

    I hibernate too. After watching the pictures of the snowstorm in the US on Friday, so not ready for winter yet!

    1. I'm glad you enjoyed the post. I sometimes worry that I'm too long winded.

      This season seemed to start earlier too. I remember being afraid for all my early buds, but they did okay. Some of my flowers are calling it quits now, and leaves on the trees are starting to turn & fall, but most of the garden is still blooming, albeit a bit scruffily. And because fall weather is settling in, the heat no longer drives me in doors. So nice. (while it lasts)

  2. I absolutely loved this post :) As I do all of your Farmer's Market posts :) Sorry that I've COMPLETELY dropped the ball on it :/ you :/ But your posts always put a smile on my face along with your gorgeous pictures! And that applesauce tea loaf sound DELICIOUS! Must try it!

    1. Life does have a way of altering our plans somewhat. As long as you're doing well, that's all that matters.