Common Ground – November 2022

“November glooms are barren.”

William Ernest Henley

It turns out that I spoke too soon about the ladybug swarming.

Here in the valley we had at least four days of it. It was moderate level ladybug swarming this year. In past years there was usually one day of overwhelming prisoner in your house ladybug swarming. The outside of the house was covered and going in and out squashed hundreds of them. And let in hundreds of them. Is it too optimistic to hope that I will never see that again?

I note that some of this year’s ladybugs have made their way to a potted nicotine brought in for the winter. They are doing their job and controlling the aphids. And there are not so many of them that I have had to vacuum them this year.

Speaking of vacuuming, there really are fewer cluster flies this year. Apparently this is because the ground was dry in the summer.

I won’t go into the life cycle of the cluster fly because it’s gross. Look it up if you must.

A beautiful purple Love-in-a-mist continues to flower beside the house in late October. The ubiquitous Johnny jump ups are also flowering and will keep going until it snows. It’s good to have a few flowers amongst all the fallen leaves.

Garlic has been planted and I managed to get it done earlier than last year. I don’t fuss about it really as long as it gets done before the ground freezes. It truly is very forgiving and gives a lot of satisfaction for not very much work.

Late fall has been particularly beautiful here and the maple leaves were redder than I have ever seen them. Or maybe I was just paying more attention this year.

I love spring and fall because the nights are cold enough for the kitchen wood stove. But the days are warm enough to not have to worry about it.

If I had to choose, I would pick winter food over summer food. Leek and potato soup with garlic croutons anyone?

I will leave the kale (which is very tough at this point) for the deer. They’ll enjoy it in late winter when it’s sticking up through the snow.

November can be the nastiest of transition months. The trees are bare so it no longer looks like fall but it isn’t really winter yet. It feels like a sort of seasonal no man’s land when it gets dark at 4:30.

Most of us have done our fall is the real new year reflections by now. I know I have done enough reflection on the past year’s catastrophes. Now it’s  time to move on and get organized for winter.

Looking at my garden journal I see that I’m a little ahead of where I was this time last year.

A small victory to be sure.

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