Dried beans are so pretty

Happy Autumn! And to my friends in the southern hemisphere, happy spring! Up here in the north, I have been looking forward to crisp days of the not too hot not too cold variety. Unfortunately we’ve been having a bit of a heat wave. On the Equinox Friday it was over 90F/32C by a couple degrees! We met but didn’t break the record set in 1936. It is so uncommon to have temperatures this warm this late in September that it has only happened something like eight times in the 150 or so years of recorded Minnesota weather. Unless some really cold air manages to sink down from the shrinking Arctic, I’m guessing a hard frost is going to be late in coming this year. The week ahead looks cooler if not quite seasonal.

On the positive side, I will be able to keep biking outdoors longer. I’ve been biking to work and everyone keeps asking me how long I will keep at it. Until it snows! I say. With the way the weather has been it could be well into November and possibly even December before that happens. Which means riding in the dark to work and coming home in the almost dark. But I have a well lit bike! Front light, back light, a blinking light on my ankle and now I have purple lights on my wheels that spin with the wheel and look pretty.

The Dashwoods do not like the heat. If a soaking wet chicken is a pathetic sight, a hot and panting one is even worse. They get ice cubes in their water and today they got a snack of some cold grapes. They are much more sensible when it comes to the heat than they are about rain. I went out to check on them this afternoon and they were all in the shade of a tree burrowed down into the cool dirt. Good girls!

The dried beans are almost all picked. Not knowing exactly what was what due to a failure of marking the plantings in spring — oh I’ll remember where everything is! Ha! — Bookman and I shelled everything into one bowl to sort out later. They all look so pretty! I love the look of dried beans, they are so beautiful. All the plants and flowers look much the same, they keep their surprises hidden for later.

Aster in all its glory

It is officially aster season! All the asters are bursting into bloom and the bees and butterflies are happy for the late season food. New England asters are popular because of the purple flowers and I have them in the garden. But I have several other varieties too that I have lost track of what they are. Plus, they are one of those plants that easily seeds itself around the garden and they pop up in the oddest places. I like them very much and am sad when they end up crowding out other plants and I have to thin them, or they plant themselves in an inconvenient location. They have all begun blooming this week and I look forward to three weeks or so of their flowers. They are the last flowers of the season. When their blooms fade it is time to put the garden to bed. Wow, this season went by fast!

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