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As I write this, November is in a few days and the zinnias are still putting up new flowers, a yellow lily just opened up, and the David Austin roses I put in this year are in full bloom (for the third time). While this may conjure up images of June or July, it is all before a backdrop of leafless trees and low autumn sunshine. I’m confused and the plants are confused (or maybe I’m just projecting that).

It’s nice though, in a way, to look out the front door and see pots overflowing in bushy nasturtiums whose colors match the pumpkins and gourds arranged around them.

The brisk fall air and windy days have moved in. We skipped a whole shoulder season of jackets so I dig through my pile of winter clothes not sure what to wear next. We have been out for some nice family walks in the woods and I pile layers on Monty as it seems almost impossible to make sure his little fingers and toes are warm. I installed some of the attached style mittens into his jacket; he pulls them off in the car and then fusses that he can’t fully remove them and promptly throw them out of his car seat.

We have had a few small fires in the woodstove; there’s nothing quite as comforting as a warm fire in your own home. I see the white wisps of smoke rise out of other homes in our neighborhood and I’m reminded of how this seasonal ritual connects us. We share this experience as we stack the wood, cut up kindling, ball up newspaper, strike the match, light the fire, and ease into the warmth as it fills our homes.

The leaves on the ginkgo tree I planted a few years ago have turned to their vibrant yellow; made more eye-catching by their intriguing fan shape and the way they are lined up on each side of the branch like a fern. Did you know that ginkgos actually evolved from ferns? They are considered a living fossil and are virtually unchanged since the early Jurassic period. There were many more varieties at that time; the one we are familiar with now, and that is planted here, dates back 50 million years to the Paleocene period. Not to mention the leaves have some great medicinal properties. Put it on your planting list for next year!

Enjoy some warm evenings by the fire next week!

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