In my part of the world, Thanksgiving really does represent a drop-dead date. Everything tends to seize up at that point, and it becomes too late to plant, too late to mulch, and too late to grill. The arrival of our deep freeze was especially abrupt this year, since, as The Onion reported, fall was recently canceled after a 3-billion season run.
Given my Thanksgiving deadline, I work like crazy in the yard in November, and there are still always jobs I don’t manage to do.
This year, I let a bunch of cacti I didn’t care about anyway freeze in slovenly fashion beside my walkway. I also let the geraniums on my front stoop in the country–in expensive Italian pots–freeze and crack their containers. And since my lawn guy Ernie couldn’t deliver truckloads of leaves until Thanksgiving weekend, my vegetable garden is only partway mulched. I managed to cover everything with alpaca bedding from my neighbor, but if I don’t cover that with a layer of leaves, weeds will sprout out of the hay. Now, the leaf-spreading is going to have to wait until spring, when I’ll really be feeling the pressure, since I also plan on nailing up another round of rabbit-inhibitory fencing before the parsnips go in.
Still, the whole fall rush went pretty well. I managed to get at least 500 bulbs into the ground. My husband got the goldfish in the house before they froze, into a fish tank in my younger daughter’s room decorated luridly with pink plastic plants. I emptied my big cast iron urn and put it away. I got the dahlias tucked into Rubbermaid tubs in the basement. I got most of the houseplants inside, where they can limp along under my desultory non-concern until May. I harvested a ton of vegetables, and managed to eat or freeze or store most of them, leaving only the onions too long in the garage, where they’ve turned into grey popsicles.
Now, I’m ready to settle into a long winter of catalog consideration and credit card abuse.