You know that ad from a few years ago? The one where the woman is walking down the sidewalk on a sunny day, when suddenly she stops, looks down and sees a coloured leaf on the ground in front of her. The camera pans back, and the woman starts screaming hysterically. Well that’s me.
I love summer. I love the heat. I love to walk outside first thing in the morning in shorts and a tank top and know that it’s already warm and will only get warmer. I love being able to go out at night without a sweater. And I love summer food.
I live in the warmest part of Canada–even warmer during the summers than Victoria, which is one of the warmest, driest cities in the country. If I could, I’d live in California, but I’m happy in Canada, so this valley is the best option going. “Cowichan”, so they say, means “the warm land.”
Unfortunately, as warm as it is here, we still live in the “Maritime North West.” As you may know, this means that we have short mild winters, and our spring can start in earnest in February. Which is great in February! But our springs are lllooonnnggg. Summer can feel like it takes forever to get here, and this year we didn’t get the magic “nighttime temperatures consistently above 10 degrees (C)” until early July!
Once summer hits, though, it’s awesome. We’ve had six weeks of reasonably consistent close to 30 degree (C) days, and I would be happy with another couple of months of the same. Now that the irrigation is set up and functioning that is.
This week, though, I knew it was the beginning of the end. The forecast for Monday was 30, Tuesday was 27, Wednesday 25, today 20, tomorrow 18, Saturday 14 with showers and lows of 11-12! That was my scream you heard echoing through the hills.
First, I went into panic that my tomatoes, just starting to ripen and loaded on the vines like softballs, would all end up green and immature forever. The peppers I don’t care so much about, although I’m looking forward to them. But the tomatoes! I’ve been dreaming about the romas canned in neat jars in the pantry, opening fresh jars of salsa and sauce all winter. Not to mention a month of summer salads! I read that tomatoes wouldn’t ripen when night temps dropped below 12-15 degrees. Aack! (the Skipper said we’d make chow. Those East Coasters know from green tomatoes. Chow for everyone!) I started imagining how I would construct plastic or remay frames over my…let’s see now…4 1/2 beds (plus the deck containers)…
Yesterday morning I went for a long walk. I opened the back door in a tank top, and promptly went back inside for a proper shirt. I started out down the road, and I knew. It was fall. Isn’t it amazing how you can just know? The air smells different, the angle of the light is different, the wind feels different. I don’t know how things can change so much in a day, but they did. There’s no going back.
After lunch, I headed out in to the garden to work for a couple of hours. I pruned, cut down the towering daisies that had flopped over, snipped plants that were getting in the way of the paths. I noticed that some of the roses were reblooming, and that our spectacular trumpet vine was looking gorgeous against the deep purple smoke tree. And I realized that this day–fall and all–was absolutely beautiful.
And I remembered that I go through this every year. I fight the end of summer with every bone in my body, and then when it finally arrives–every year, whether I want it to or not 🙂 –I remember that fall is lovely. And then I’m happy until the end of October (when the rains begin).
So here’s to fall. Here’s to my tomatoes ripening after all, because everyone else’s do, every year. Here’s to the potatoes and onions and sunshine. Here’s to looking forward to my first brassicas and soups and stews in a long time. And here’s to the best sailing of the year!