Common Ground – October



“Among the peaceful harvest days

An Indian Summer comes at last.”

Adeline Dutton Train Whitney

There has been no frost here yet this season. Apparently Indian summer is technically the warm period following a killing frost in the fall.  But there were a couple of two degree nights and that’s good enough for me to call this our Indian summer.

Tomatoes, zucchini and cucumbers are finally ripening. They just sat there all summer in a state of suspended animation. I cut the top growth off the tomato plants at the end of August. It didn’t look like they would amount to anything so it was a pleasant surprise when they started to turn red at last. This didn’t begin until well after Labour Day. Patience has definitely been a virtue in this year’s vegetable garden.

I recently received confirmation that Arthur McMahon really did play his fiddle on the porch here and the whippoorwills answered. I heard from Gloria McMahon McManus who is the great granddaughter of Arthur McMahon. According to Gloria, the whole family played instruments and had their own orchestra. I think of them every time I hear the whippoorwill.

I received lots of feedback after I suggested that today’s teabags seem to be made of uncompostable kevlar. Apparently I’m not the only one who has had to pick white bits of definitely not broken down tea bag out of the vegetable garden. I recently bought a box of tea with an earnest message on the side which said that this would no longer be an issue. One can only hope that they’re telling the truth.

I was happy to discover during this worst ever bug season that there is now a very effective DEET free bug spray. Many thanks to Evelyn Raab for letting me try some of this wonder spray at a social event in Millbrook during the summer. I ordered some from the helpful folks at the hardware store in Millbrook and have been using it ever since. There have been lots of mosquitoes well after Labour Day in this 2017 monsoon season.

For the first time ever this past spring I was fortunate to receive some help in removing invasive dog strangling vine. I appreciate the work done by the MNR Rangers who spent time here combating the evil weed. Dealing with it is daunting to say the least so it was great to have some help.

And finally, one more significant first here in the valley. The township in its wisdom has finally seen fit to replace the broken culverts on Fire Route 3, the original access to this property. This only happened 27 years after I first asked for it to be done. I guess patience is a virtue with both gardening and road repair.

By Jill Williams

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