I have mixed feelings about fall and the coming winter.

I wander the garden and yard looking at the carpet of wet leaves. They would be a lot more beautiful if they would just voluntarily hop right into those bags for composting. They have nearly all fallen now except the two zelkovas, which stubbornly hold on to the leaves until I have raked up all the others. Then those rascally zelkovas drop them all the next day within about five minutes.

How do they know?

Trees have fallen in the fall as well, like giant pick-up sticks. More mess that will require a chainsaw. Chickweed is creeping into the neglected beds.

I wake up in the dark. The days are so short now that the chickens go to roost at 3:30 in the afternoon.

I try to reframe my view of autumn.

The shorter days mean there is less time for frolicking with my rake and leaf bags. But I’m as happy sucking up books as a drunk at an open bar wedding reception.

The cucumbers, peppers and tomatoes are gone. But I have a robust crop of Swiss chard. I have even managed to outsmart the deer by netting it. Lettuce, spinach and arugula are thriving in the cold frame. Cabbages and Brussels sprouts will be ready for harvest soon.  The salvia is blooming. Chickens love chickweed.

Without the leaves, I can see more of the majestic, sculptural beauty of the trees.

Yes, I have mixed feelings about the change of seasons. I will work on seeing the glass half full.

(Click on the photos to embiggen.)

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  • Leslie says:

    Wise words, Robin. Thanks for the nudge to do the same. And lovely photos by the way, the autumn sun makes things look so different than summer.

  • Lona says:

    I for one do not look forward to winter every year.Fall can be a beautiful time of the year but I do not like those shorter day light hours at all. I will miss the flowers and playing around in the garden. I guess it is a good time to catch up on all of the indoor chores and deep cleaning that gets neglected during the summer. Lots of reading here to.
    Those leaves have radar or just know some way. LOL!
    Have a lovely weekend.

  • This time of year is always rough on me. This year, I’m trying to focus on staying active, sunlight or no. Over the past year, I realize how grateful I truly was for those first blooms of spring though. Wouldn’t have that without a winter.

  • Celia says:

    Chickweed is delicious for people, too! I love it in pesto or just for a nibble–has a coppery, mineral-y flavor.

  • Just about had to laugh about leaves jumping into bags – where are the magic garden munchkins when we need them? And Celias’ comment prompted me to find out that in the winter chickens actually eat chickweed – good to know! Your “bottle tree” is beautiful and a great idea – what do you use for the stems?

    • Robin Ripley says:

      FSA – The bottle tree is made from rebar. It’s a contraption I purchased on line a while back. Thanks!

  • Céline says:

    lovely sunlit photos, I have had the feeling this year that we’ve had so much warmth and sun till now, that there is still a goog reason to be busy in the garden. And I have experienced the same feeling with collecting leaves, only with gusts of wind !

  • Beth says:

    “devour books like a drunk at a wedding reception” …? I don’t get it!

    • Robin Ripley says:

      Beth – Humm. Yeah, something went missing there. How about “But I’m as happy sucking up books as a drunk at an open bar wedding reception?”

  • You may have winter chasing you, but your garden looks like summer has not left.
    plants still in leaf and vegetables looking fantastic….do you have them under cover ?

    • Robin Ripley says:

      Celine – I have a coldframe with lettuce, arugula and spinach. All the other plants are outside fending for themselves. Thanks!

  • Well this week winter has arrived where I live with a vengeance. Those shots of the fresh garden veggies look so good! I think I need to place an order with my local CSA. Thanks for sharing.


  • Leanne says:

    I love your posts, especially your deligthful stories involving your chickens.

    Living in the city, I sometimes wish I could have a rooster, but posts like this one snap me back into reality of why I can’t and shouldn’t. Seeing your photo of Tina Turner make me want a Polish hen in my flock. I can see why Ricky was so enraptured with her; she is like a “Helen of Troy” of chickens. Don’t tell my Cochins I said that. 🙂


  • David says:

    Hi there!
    I just found your garden blog and its beautiful. I love that bottle tree shot.
    I’m always looking for another gardener with chickens since we have 4 of our own and its great to compare notes. Nice to ‘meet’ you through blotanicals.
    David/ 🙂 Houston, Texas

  • Layanee says:

    Books do beckon at this time of year. They supply an endless source of inspiration for next year’s ‘perfect’ garden. Lovely photos,Robin.

  • David says:

    I just finished reading your Ballad of Ricky Ricardo post and I laughed so hard I was crying. Oh my! And I thought I HAD good names for MY chickens.
    And….Tina Turner standing in that chair! Hilarious name but perfect!
    I must show my wife all this. She thinks I’m the only one who writes stories about chickens. Your garden blog is great!
    David/:0) Tropical Texana/