One short row of carrots remain in the garden; I think I’ll leave them until Thanksgiving Day.

I like to be conservative this time of year and make sure there are enough in the garden to use on the holiday. It makes the meal a little more special.

I pulled the rest of the carrots yesterday for a chicken soup. The last of my tiny tomatoes also added flavor.

In a bowl on my kitchen counter, there are a mere handful of large tomatoes — the last of my crop.

Which is all to say that fall is in full swing. October is passing so quickly that soon we will be in holiday mode.

It’s hard to believe that just yesterday, it seems, we were packing up camp to move back home. It was September and now we are halfway through October.


It is time to get some potting soil, dig up the red geraniums from the back yard where they have enjoyed the sun all summer and replant them in a large pot to bring inside. In the dead of winter, the geranium provides a cheerful vision there in the window of our sun room. I’ll also pot the pink geranium from my flower garden and place it in the guest room window where it will get full sun.

My final garden chores will be to pluck the remaining basil leaves before the frost comes and snip the fresh parsley to chop up and freeze. I use the latter in all sorts of soups and other dishes. Chopped, frozen parsley is great when tossed on meatloaf before baking.

Late in the summer, I made pesto with my first large crop of basil and parsley and froze it in cubes to use over the winter. I also dried the herbs, crushed them up and placed them in jars for winter use.

It’s awfully good to have these foods during the long, cold, dark season.

I am reminded of the pride my father took in the large garden he grew every year, right into his early 90s. When I am cooking with my own vegetables and herbs, I think of him and the high regard he had for growing one’s own produce.

He always ordered his seeds from Prince Edward Island, claiming they were nongenetically modified. He enjoyed poring through the catalog that came from PEI each spring and placing his order.


My father would come in from the garden, armed with a pan of fresh picked peas, tomatoes, carrots, potatoes or cucumbers, beaming as he presented them to us. “Look at this,” he would say. I find myself doing the same when I harvest my first crop of tomatoes, for instance, and carry the basket of fruit in to show my husband.

Though I don’t preserve nearly the amount of vegetables my mother did from the garden each year, it is nice to have at least a few to pluck from the freezer when the snow is coming down and down, covering the earth that has produced them. There’s nothing like home-grown vegetables in winter.

The world is beginning to quiet down, as fall wends its way toward winter. We start to spend more time indoors as the chill returns and skies darken at early evening.

It’s no stretch to say that we could see snow this month. Halloween looms and then Thanksgiving always seems to follow so quickly. After that, we are smack into Christmas mode.

We might do well to step back and take a long, leisurely breath, as the holidays will be here in the blink of an eye. Winter is marching in.

Amy Calder has been a Morning Sentinel reporter 35 years. Her columns appear here weekly. She is the author of the book “Comfort is an Old Barn,” a collection of her curated columns, published this year by Islandport Press. She may be reached at For previous Reporting Aside columns, go to

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