It was the first day of autumn, or fall as it’s more commonly called in our area. Many years ago, a little boy informed me we called it fall because all the leaves fall off the trees.
For many years this was my favorite season. One reason for that was the falling leaves. It was fun to lay back and look up at the beautifully colored leaves blowing gently to the ground. Then you could rake them up into a big pile and have a bonfire.
And way back then, when no one was looking, you could slip a few buckeyes into the fire and wait for the explosions, which would cause the grownups to jump and mutter. I could never understand why they were so surprised when we threw buckeyes into the fire. They told us what fun it was when they were kids. That’s why we collected all those useless nuts.
Another fall favorite is fresh apples. My personal favorite is Jonathans. I love that sweet/tart/flavor. When our children were little, we would buy school boy Jonathans by the bushel and keep them on the porch for healthy snacks. They were just the right size for little mouths. We made several trips to the orchard every year.
Fall didn’t really begin for me until I bit into that first Jonathan apple. It still doesn’t. But now, instead of trekking out to the orchard, I just drive downtown to the farmer’s market by the county courthouse and buy the apples by the bag instead of bushels. And since I’m an adult I wait until I get back to the car to bite into one.
Last week with fall here and an eager helper visiting, I decided it was time to trim back the ivy overgrowth out front. It always amazes me all that ivy grew from six scrawny little plants.
We had a nice wall out front when we moved into this house. But over the years we noted that it kept leaning out. The kids liked to sit on that wall, and as a protective mother I began to worry that it would fall with them on it.
Finally Bill and the older boys replaced the old stones with a brand new concrete block wall. It was definitely safer, but it didn’t look as nice as the old wall. As the years passed and it began to lean out, it looked worse, and the kids didn’t sit on it any more.
Bill wasn’t about to tear out another wall, and the kids were grown up and moving on, so I decided to cover the ugly wall with ivy. I planted six plants in left-over concrete blocks at the base of the wall. It took awhile, but now we have to trim the ivy several times a year to keep it from covering the front porch, and possibly the whole house.
That’s when willing grandkids come in handy. The younger ones are built closer to the ground than I am, and they love being turned loose with blunt tipped scissors. They know the boundaries, and they seem to enjoy battling the ivy.
There is one more task we have to complete before it gets too cold. The construction crew dug up all my flower bulbs with the backhoe late last spring, and let them finish blooming in the back yard. Now it’s about time to replant them along the new driveway. I’ll have to invite the willing grandkids over.
We could have a little problem with this project. All of the bulbs are buried in the dirt that was moved and the dirt has sunk into the dirt that was already there. Finding all the bulbs with my little planting shovels could be difficult. Telling the different bulbs apart could be impossible for me. I just figured which flowers were what in recent years.
But not to worry. I can put that off until they put the new fence up along the driveway. Besides, mixed bouquets are very pretty, so mixed bouquets growing in the yard should be equally lovely.
AUTHOR’S NOTE: This column was first published in the Greenville Daily Advocate Sept. 22, 2004.