LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Red Oak House Garden Notes No. 49

We finally had blue skies in North Dakota on Friday, after a long spell of gray weather. We are grateful to go into winter with the moisture, but the dreariness was beginning to wear thin. At least we didn’t get the heavy snow that hit the eastern part of the state. We got a little snow last week, and it pretty much flattened the mums, but it melted away on the same day.

Jim has been fretting about planting the garlic, stymied by the muddy garden, but he was out there making good progress and soon enough that chore will be finished and the straw mulch spread upon the bed.

We are processing the last of our tomatoes, which due to the cold weather have been wrapped in newsprint and ripening in the furnace room. Thursday afternoon, I canned eight quarts of rich, thick marinara and the house was fragrant with garlic and basil.

A winter’s worth of firewood has been curing on the back deck all summer, and I’ve filled the kindling box with the twigs that fall from the Red Oak tree.

In the flower beds, I’ve built fences around some of the shrubs to prevent the rabbits from munching during the long winter months.

The freezer is full of fresh Suchy beef and the vegetables we’ve put up from our garden. The raspberry patch keeps producing in spite of the early cold weather, and we savor each one, while also freezing some for winter pancakes and waffles.

Overhead, the sandhill crane flocks are flying south, fast and high. From “Words for Birds: A Lexicon of North American Birds with Biographical Notes,” pg. 88-9:

“Crane is an English word derived from the bird’s cry, which has its origins in the root for ‘calling’ or ‘crying out.’ At least two lines of development are recognized. One, through the Greek geranos, ‘Crane,’ to the Celtic garan, in which form it appears in Welsh, Cornish and Breton. Secondly, through the Northern European languages as trani, Icelandic; trance, Danish; trana, Swedish; and the Dutch kraany, as well as the German kranich. By 977 A.D. Old English had it as cran. Gruidae is the conventional form for the Latin grus, ‘crane.’

“Sandhill crane, Grus canadensis. canadensis. Latinism for of Canada.’ It is only an accident that one or another of these two species is known as americana [Whooping crane] or canadensis, since each breeds in Northern Canada and migrates south in the winter.

“Sandhill. The word is self-descriptive and refers to areas in which the species is seen. In the Middle West and Southeastern United States, a geographic feature is rolling hills of covered sand.”

Time to savor crispy apples, clean leaves from gutters, and prepare for the upcoming winter’s worth of indoor projects.

“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.” — “Anne of Green Gables” by L.M. Montgomery

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