The leaves are transforming golden. Blackbirds gather in their Hitchcock gangs along the fence, in the yard, perched on the beds — all too close to the precious few remaining tomatoes.  The squash vines are starting to die, the leaves an ashen gray. Forest green and harvest orange pumpkins scatter across the grass, their umbilical cords to the garden slowly retreating.

Canning in gem tone

Screaming children off to school fill the neighborhood and the down comforter has returned to the foot of the bed. We haven’t yet committed to placing it for the season under the quilt; this will all happen too soon.

Canning in gem tone

These are the days for skirts and sandals — tank tops and long walks in the middle of the day to sit by the creek with the warmth of the afternoon sun upon our shoulders. BBQs with friends include scrambling for sweatshirts as the sun drops behind the Rockies, and dusting off board games to be enjoyed under a canopy of stars. Long runs in the forest come with a sprinkle of gold and amber. We are in transition.

With Nelson at my feet, I’ve been cooking, enjoying the oven’s heat. The canning pot rattles, holding the last remains of the summer’s bounty. More than 100 pounds of apples from neighborhood trees now tucked away in various forms on the pantry shelves — sauce, jelly, pie filling, chutneys. These jars, still wet from their boiling bath, sparkle in the kitchen sunlight — my new favorite gem tones.

Canning in gem tone

In the next month, the tomatoes and squash will be pulled; onions and garlic will be nestled in rows for a early summer harvest. The compost will be turned; the outdoor pots of flowers rotated to adjust for the sun’s autumnal position. Basil harvested in handfuls, frozen in cubes of pesto for winter dinners. I will clean off the shelves of the tiny greenhouse this month and attempt to grow kale, chard and broccoli.

Closets have been cleared of clothing gone unworn; books to read stacked by a basket full of knitting projects also calling for attention.

Thank you, Summer. Now, we gladly welcome Fall.