Sunday, November 15, 2015

Before the Killing Frost

Mornings have been crisp, evenings draw in early.
Dusk seeps into the house by mid-afternoon, tucked as it is between two ridges.
Outside bare branches loom against a brilliant blue sky.

The oaks still hold their satiny brown leaves; a beech just beyond the garden wears a slender branch or two of leaves gone a dull crinkled gold.

The cosmos in a last tumble of color.
There were still tightly closed buds, promise unrealized.

This coloration is one of my favorites. 

I expect that the default pink has contributed the greater yield to my gathered seeds.

Foxglove plants have settled in and flourished since the overnight rain at the beginning of the week.

A few late blooming spires on the butterfly bush.
I noticed few insects on the flowers.

Sunshine and shadows--photos full of light and dark.

Find the camouflaged  feline!
Willis has a penchant for suddenly 'being there'--like Alice's Cheshire Cat he seems to melt in and out of the picture, creeping beneath foliage, hunkering down behind a branch, stretching along the grey timbers of the retaining wall, blending. 

Don't be fooled by his look of relaxed idleness--Willis is ever watchful.

This unnamed rose gained a new lease on life when I moved it from a dry corner against the side porch to grow in the angle of the garden fence.

Willis basks in the slanting warmth of the late afternoon sun.

The kitchen is lapped in greying light by the time I come inside to thrust the two roses and a handful of cosmos into a vase.
I place it high on top of the maple hutch--out of easy cat reach.
I have left one tightly closed bud on the rosebush--will there be another bloom before winter claims the garden?

At 7:30 on Saturday morning the red needle of the thermometer positioned outside the kitchen window points to 28 degrees F.
I pull on my ancient down vest, pick up the camera.
Standing on the walk by the side porch I can see the frost-crusted stems of the cosmos.
The flower heads droop, petals shriveled, colors dulled.
Today, Sunday, I cleared the flower strip.
I worked from below the retaining wall, afternoon sun warming through my thick old 'hoodie.'

Willis trudged up the lane to roll in the gravel before stalking along the retaining wall--getting in my way. As I snipped seed heads into a bowl, he butted at my hand, nibbled at limp fronds of foliage.
I found an old rug and spread it to keep my knees from the damp while I moved along the upper edge of the strip, lifting out weeds with my slim-pointed trowel.

Charlie-Cat appeared and plastered himself blissfully against my thigh, fussing when I needed to twitch the rug along. 
I was chilled and stiff before I quite finished weeding the outer corner of the strip.
Charlie, disgruntled, had curled himself in the bed of catnip. 
Willis stalked off to put the tortie girls in their place.
I heaved myself to my feet, clumped up the back stairs to the kitchen, a bundle of catnip in hand.
Cats thronged about me as I stripped the leaves, arranged them on a tray to go into the 
woodstove oven.  
Serve cat 'tea'; slice fresh mushrooms for a creamy soup, slice homemade bread.
The hands of the wall clock stand at barely 3--has it stopped?
The digital clock on the oven confirms the time.
Frosty mornings, afternoon shadows, chilly nights
The death of the garden marks a turning point. 


  1. Willis certainly blends into the scenery well. I had exactly the same experience when out for a walk last week - it was so gloomy that I was convinced my watch had stopped!

  2. What a lovely post - the last breath of summer suddenly stopped by the frost. We are still unseasonably mild (and making the most of it) but had a hooley of a gale over the weekend.

    Willis likes to check up on you doesn't he? Ever aware he might be missing out on something I suppose! My little shadow is Ghengis . . .

    That's such a pretty rose and I'm glad it's thriving in its new spot.

    1. Jennie; Willis doesn't miss a thing. His appearances underfoot can be unnerving--he is suddenly THERE.
      We have 'weather' moving in--I like 'hooley' as a descriptive word.

  3. I love the way you write, describing your days and thoughts.

    It really was hard to see just what Willis was in that photo. Great camo.

    Happy November dear Sharon ~ FlowerLady

    1. Rainey; I took several photos of Willis hidden in the cosmos--I KNEW he was there but had to really squint at the pictures when I loaded them to find him.

  4. Don't know which is more lovely, the pictures or your prose!

    Happy week!

  5. Jane; Can we ever find exactly the right words to describe nature's beauty? I always wonder if its not all been said before.

  6. As always, you set the atmosphere beautifully, enjoyed this post very much.

    1. Kath; It was a beautiful afternoon to be outside puttering...the sort of day that needs to be captured in words and photos.