With the arrival of the autumnal equinox, my writing will begin to shift away from the garden returning to the topic of Dakota Trails, among other topics.
My two favorite days on the calendar are the vernal and autumnal equinoxes, when the light of the world is equal, in complete harmony between day and night. Although autumn is my favorite season, living here at Red Oak House at such a northern latitude makes the vernal, or spring, equinox my favorite of the two. Finally, after months of long and cold winter nights, the light returns. Jim and I even chose the vernal equinox for our wedding day all those years ago.
Now it is autumn, and the days will begin to grow short. Monday, we dug the last of our abundant potato crop, which tickled Jim to no end. I found one shaped like Mickey Mouse. Jim’s sister, Jill, will convert some of these into lefse for the holidays, a Norwegian tradition that endures in our families. He also pulled the bean plants and reports that hundreds of green tomatoes are slow to ripen in the cool weather. Wednesday, he picked a crazy bunch of raspberries, and we dined on Napoleon sausage and raspberry waffles, breakfast for supper. He has frozen the surplus raspberries, which I call “nuggets of January happiness.”
This week I bit the bullet and tossed this year’s petunias from the patio pots, hanging on to the basil and rosemary. Frost is nigh. Jim has pulled the cucumber plants, too.
On Wednesday we washed and put away the window screens. And Thursday, while I washed the windows and listened to nuthatches, Jim busily prepped the garlic bed because he plants garlic in the fall. The yard was full of butterflies.
On Saturday, my husband will be out on the trail with his buddies, hunting ducks, with pheasants and geese soon to follow, another fall ritual at our house. Our springer spaniel, Lizzie, seems to know this. Her joy when she spots him taking out his hunting boots is infectious. Right now, the song “Who Knows Where the Time Goes” is on my mind as it is every fall.
I’m going to join Jim on the trail this year as my time permits, dovetailing my interest in North Dakota places with our mutual enjoyment of being outdoors. I’m ready to tackle the pile of research I’ve compiled on the topic of North Dakota trails, to get my desk cleared off and prepared for winter projects of all kinds.
The kind folks at the State Historical Society of North Dakota have shared with me a map they prepared, which I think is a beautiful overview of the state’s historical trails. With their generous permission, I reproduce it here as a preview of what’s to come, gentle reader. This will be fun!