As I write, the ground is covered in silvery frost, the green leaves of the perennials are looking bruised, and the water in the buckets is covered with a not-so-thin layer of ice. It's 29 degrees F. on the breezeway. The first hard freeze of fall has come.
I'm ready. I've enjoyed being out in the garden and the prairie tremendously over the spring, summer and early fall, but I'm beginning to crave cozy days inside, watching the birds through the kitchen window.
I still have a few outdoor projects to finish before I feel like I've put the yard "to bed", so to speak. There are about 100 daffodil bulbs, 100 crocus bulbs, and 20 tulip bulbs sitting on my kitchen counter that need to be planted. I need to harvest the sweet potatoes (if the cotton hispid rats and voles have left me any). I need to do a final weeding, to catch the winter weeds that have suddenly sprung up in the last couple weeks. Last of all, when people start raking their yards, I need to gather leaves, chop them, and put another layer of mulch on the flower beds.
Meanwhile, the first white crowned sparrows and Harris sparrows have shown up in the last week, the green ash have completely lost their leaves, and the natural world is glowing gold with tinges of orange. "It's a most wonderful time of the year."