LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Red Oak House Garden Notes No. 33

These past two days back home at Red Oak House found us back to fall chores, and Jim catching walleye on the Missouri River, supper tonight.

Wednesday night, with the gorgeous tiger’s-eye beans we’d brought home from Seed Savers Exchange and grass-fed beef from the Striefels, I cooked up a huge pot of chili, making enough so that Jim and Jeff can eat it later this winter in the ice-fishing house.

Today, I put away all of the lawn furniture, and between the two of us, we have most of the leaves picked up. The strawberries are now nicely mulched for the winter. We agreed that the brussel sprouts were an epic fail this season, probably due to being planted in too much shade.Thus it is that today was the last of the growing season here. The only growing thing we will still harvest is the pot of rosemary that survives under the eaves on the back patio.

The daylilies, irises and mums are all cut back, however, I’ve left the seed heads of the coneflowers for the birds to feed upon all winter.

Wednesday, Jim cooked up the very last of the tomatoes that had ripened wrapped in newspaper while we were traveling, making a rich red sauce that he will use all winter for stuffed peppers.

The temperature has dropped enough now that I put the first block of my homemade suet in the feeder just outside my kitchen office window.

And I brought in a stack of wood for the living room stove. The World Series is over, and soon it will be time for cozy fires.

The only major outdoor chore we now have to do is to clean the leaves out of the gutters since the trees in our neighborhood are mostly bare. There is snow in the forecast, and we are gradually hunkering down for winter and indoor life.

“There is no wealth but life.” —  John Ruskin

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