It's Fall, Y'all!

Hummer on a break
I love this time of the year.  Absolutely. Love. It!  Fall is my fav. Well, until it's a beautiful Spring day after a long, cold Winter...then, I might sing a different song.  But as for now, it's Fall...y'all.

Cooler temps are bringing changes to Casa 3917.  Check out that picture of the hummingbird (right) that was just outside my window this morning while I was having my coffee. He was resting after being at the hummingbird feeder for almost a full minute. He comes regularly to the feeder, now that most of the flowers have stopped producing. Of course, I say that...and then I look out the window at the geraniums on the deck, which are blooming big-time.  They seem to like this reprieve from the heat and humidity that was August.  I'll soon have to give them a severe haircut and bring them in to overwinter.  I did the overwintering part last year...without the cutting back part...and they were too leggy come Spring.  Lesson learned.

The leaves around here are just beginning to change colors, but I understand from our news that the leaves in the mountains of NC are near "peak" color. We saw some pretty leaves as we drove through West Virginia last weekend on our way to Louisville. It’s cooler there, so there were more reds and yellows that we have in our trees.

It was Missy M's birthday on Sunday, so we were with her to celebrate. We went out to eat at the Macaroni Grill on Saturday night, then she requested that I make her pancakes on Sunday morning before we had to return home. Brother T, who lives north of Louisville, was able to join us for dinner, but SIL LaD had to take a rain check.  It was so good to see Bro T...who looked great.  He also remarked that it was good to finally see a smile back on my face. Yes, the little black rain cloud is almost gone now.
Mr. T and Friends Duche$$ and Gus...
on the sofa at Missy M's house

Oh, I wanted to share this picture of Mr. T, sitting on M's sofa with two of the Drool Gang, Duche$$ and Gus, in her living room (right). That quilt on the back of the sofa? She made it!! Here I have been talking about making a quilt "some day," and she just up and does it.  Impressive!

[Regarding the change in the spelling of Duche$$'s see, she's recently had surgery to remove TEN benign cysts...and the bill was more than for Mr's T's recent surgery.  Sigh.  Gotta love'em.]

Back at home on Monday morning, I gave a Master Gardening talk on "Best Practices for the Fall Garden" at the Sumner Garden Club that meets in Greensboro at the Rehobeth United Methodist Church (which has been on that location since 1806).  They are a warm and welcoming group, and I like to think we all had a good time.  Volunteering for MG Speakers Bureau gigs is so fulfilling for me...I do hope that the audience members get something out of it, too.

Of course, talking about gardening isn’t nearly as much fun as actually gardening. I told you about planting our Fall vegetable garden in the Way Back in a recent post. Well, everything is up and growing now! It looks so pretty when I take my morning coffee out there…and I can’t wait to have our first Fall salad from the lettuces.

Mostly green tomatoes...
destined to be
Green Tomato Relish

I brought back a big bucket of mostly-green tomatoes (see the picture, left) from M’s garden. Louisville is a little cooler than we are here in NC, so she'll get frost before we do. She had a LOT of green tomatoes still on her vines in her garden, and she didn’t know what to do with all of them. I plan on making several jars of Green Tomato Relish (recipe below)…which I just love on those Black-Eyed Peas for New Year’s Day. I hope I have enough of jars to give a few away as Christmas gifts, too. We’ll see

It is so hard to believe that in just 12 weeks, we will be finishing up this year. I brought my amaryllis plant inside on Monday, hoping to force it into bloom by Christmas day. I just think they are such magnificent plants, don’t you? Momma always loved them…and enjoyed getting them to bloom again the next year. I’ve never done it "on my own," without her instruction, so keep your fingers crossed that it works

Speaking of the Holidays, conventional grief counseling says that one needs to keep busy, especially heading into the Holidays, and to pay attention to family rituals and traditions, which Momma loved. I know it will be hard, but we’ll make it.  I can say that with much more conviction than I felt just nine weeks ago tomorrow.

But before we get too far ahead of ourselves, let's not forget to enjoy the present season and the fruits of our labors. Fab Fall! Harvest time!  And here's a recipe for you to enjoy, now and later:

Green Tomato Relish


24 large green tomatoes...or about 100 Super 100's
3 red bell peppers, halved & seeded
3 green bell peppers, halved & seeded
1 cayenne pepper (opt.)
6 large onions, more or less to taste
1 tablespoon celery seed
1 tablespoon mustard seed
1 tablespoon salt
5 cups white sugar
2 cups cider vinegar

*In a grinder or food processor, coarsely grind tomatoes, red bell peppers, green bell peppers, and onions. (You may need to do this in batches.) Line a large colander with cheesecloth, place in sink or in a large bowl, and pour in tomato mixture to drain for 1 hour.

*In a large, non-aluminum stockpot, combine tomato mixture, celery seed, mustard seed, salt, sugar, and vinegar. Bring to a boil and simmer over low heat 5-10 minutes, stirring frequently.

*Sterilize enough jars and lids to hold relish (12 one-pint jars, or 6 one-quart jars). Pack relish into sterilized jars, making sure there are no spaces or air pockets. Fill jars all the way to top.

*Screw on lids. Place a rack in the bottom of a large stockpot and fill halfway with boiling water. Carefully lower jars into pot using a holder. Leave a 2 inch space between jars. Pour in more boiling water if necessary, until tops of jars are covered by 2 inches of water. Bring water to a full boil, then cover and process for 30 minutes.

*Remove jars from pot and place on cloth-covered or wood surface, several inches apart, until cool. Once cool, press top of each lid with finger, ensuring that seal is tight (lid does not move up or down at all). Relish can be stored for up to a year.

...adapted from 


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