It is a sea­son of changes.  Not only is the weather cool­ing, life is chang­ing here.

Ben­jamin, my only child (my baby!), has gone off to col­lege at The Citadel.  He is the third gen­er­a­tion on his dad’s side to attend col­lege there. When he grad­u­ates, he will wear “The Ring” with his dad, uncles, great uncles and cousins. He knew what to expect going there. He is well-prepared for the chal­lenge. And he seems to thrive on the manly cama­raderie of the place.

That still didn’t stop me from cry­ing for pretty much the first week while he was gone. The tears were drawn from a com­bi­na­tion of miss­ing him, wor­ry­ing about him and being dis­ori­ented by the new direc­tion of my life as an empty-nester.

sweet autumn clematis 1

Sweet autumn clema­tis blooms over the gar­den gate in September

I have stopped cry­ing now, but am still try­ing to nav­i­gate a life with a 50% reduc­tion in the num­ber of men I need to take care of on a daily basis.

In other changes, Harry has left pri­vate prac­tice and gone back to work for the gov­ern­ment. The book I was co-writing this sum­mer, Gro­cery Gar­den­ing, is finally off my desk. The six new baby chicks will be lay­ing in about another month–leaving us with 10 — 12 eggs a day to dis­pose of. And I have major new work and writ­ing assign­ments to keep me busy.

Oh, the garden?

garlic chives and pineapple sage 1

Gar­lic chives and pineap­ple sage duke it out in the herb bed

I can’t say this has been my most pro­duc­tive or metic­u­lous gar­den year. There were so many dis­trac­tions and chal­lenges that kept me out of the gar­den. Still, Mother Nature was for­giv­ing for just this year. The work from past years has paid off, as peren­ni­als con­tin­ued to bloom, flow­ers to re-seed and the over­all bones of the raised beds, fences and arbor to hold it all together. I don’t think I can con­tinue this type of neglect next year and still hold my head up as a gar­dener though.

fall-garden

The hakuro nashiki wil­low stan­dard needs a haircut–but then it ALWAYS seems to need a hair­cut. The tuteur is cov­ered with mal­abar spinach and scar­let run­ner beans.

Now, as weather cools and all these darned changes slow down just long enough for me to catch my breath, I am enjoy­ing being out in the gar­den, putting in fall veg­eta­bles and tidy­ing up for the win­ter to come.

fall-lettuces

I just broad­cast a mix of let­tuce seeds for this pretty lit­tle bed. What a treat to pick our sal­ads each night.

I’m actu­ally look­ing for­ward to win­ter now. I have a fancy new cold frame to put together this week­end. I’m set­ting up the light gar­den in the base­ment to grow micro­greens. Cook­ing projects, sewing projects, writ­ing projects and, of course, vis­its to The Citadel and Ben’s vis­its home are going to keep me busy.

amaranthe-and-henryi-clematis

That’s ama­ran­the lean­ing against the tuteur where the hen­ryi clema­tis grows.

Over­all, I’m still liv­ing the good life. It’s a life of tran­si­tions, but it’s a good life.

(You can click on an image for a larger ver­sion of the photo.)

Robin

Garden and food writer Robin Ripley is co-author of Grocery Gardening. Her new book, Wisdom for Home Preservers, will be released later in 2014 from Taunton Press.

Bumblebee is about her life in rural Maryland, her garden, cooking, dogs and pet chickens. She also blogs about food and chickens at Eggs & Chickens. Follow her on Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook. Thank you for visiting.

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