It must be fall

(My husband has the week off, and I am making the most of it by working hard on my latest writing project. Here for you is something I wrote around this time last year.)


The woodpile is heaped tall and wide and deep, and covered with a brand new tarp. The stove pipe has been freshly cleaned. We had our first fire in the wood stove last night, much to the delight of our children who sat warming their feet on the hearth.

In the garage are boxes and boxes of onions, wrapped neatly in newspaper, enough to last past Christmas, I hope. The apples also there will be gone by November, I’m sure. My laundry basket full of apples lasted just 12 days. But for now there is still enough fruit that whenever a child asks for an apple, I happily say yes.

The pantry is full of jars, a hundred and ten of tomatoes alone, nearly three hundred all together…pickles and tomatoes and applesauce and salsa and apricot jam and grape jelly. I am weary of canning, and yet I cannot bear to waste the food still coming in basketloads from the garden. And so every few days I muster my stamina and fill a couple dozen more jars. Today I added two dozen of tomatoes and a dozen jars of jelly to our stores.

Soon we will pull the green tomatoes out of the garden, just ahead of the frost. We’ll wrap them in paper and store them in boxes in the garage. They will ripen over the next few weeks– no need for sun. We’ll use those each time we need tomatoes till they’re gone, and with luck I won’t touch my jarred tomatoes till nearly Christmas.

The frost is days away. As grateful as I am for this abundance of food, I will be glad when the frost comes and the growing season is over. it’s time to pull the coats out of storage. Time to put more blankets on the bed. Time to put on a pot of soup and bake a loaf of bread.

It must be fall.


  1. ARGH! Wish I would have read this a week ago. We tilled our garden–and TONS of green tomatoes–under last weekend. I didn’t know they were that easy to save. Will a thoroughly green tomato ripen using that technique? Thanks for the idea…I put it on my to-do list for next year.

    Yesterday I finished my last canning job of the season, grape juice. It is such a relief to finally be done. I’m ready for “winter food.” 🙂

  2. Enjoy your week off, I hope you’re able to enter many key strokes of goodness into your project.
    Heather BT

  3. I remember this post and I remember saying to myself back then “It’s time to start gardening!” 🙂

  4. beautiful writing…

  5. Wow! That is incredible!! I didn ‘t know you could do that with green tomatoes…I will have to salvage some!

  6. Okay, please don’t think the blonde has entered your site with my question- I did go with the Praline instead of medium ash blonde the last coloring. Do you wrap the apples and tomatoes individually with newspaper/ another paper/what? Or do you line the box/basket and cover with another layer. I don’t have a clue. I have a few tomato plants with a lot of green tomatoes and we are getting to 40’s at night this week so I do not know if they will ripen. Will they? We are up to 70’s in the daytime.

    I just picked my first green beans! I heard we could plant another crop (my first was eaten by rabbits) and I did so around the end of August. We have a dinner out tonight so can’t wait to cook them tomorrow. I may have more to pick tomorrow if they grow quickly. I didn’ t even know they were there- it rained for two days so I didn’t go out and when I went today I had a bunch of beans. The babies are so cute. Thanks for any answers!

  7. I remember reading this last year! Time sure does fly! Love your blog! ~~Pam

  8. Do NOT get rid of your green tomatoes (I know you aren’t Mary, but anyone else reading). Martha Stewart has an excellent green tomato, corn and pasta recipe, fried green tomatoes are amazing, and there are tons of green tomato cake and muffin recipes on the planet.

    Paige (not associated with the ‘Use-your-green-tomatoes’ council)

  9. Mmmmm, I love everything about fall. The crisp air, the multi coloured leaves, the bounty of harvest time. It’s nice to hear others love it to:-)

  10. I’m a little behind on the reading. I love this post!

    Now, for the wrapping of onions and tomatoes-in newspaper? It really works? What temp is your garage? I have a ton of green tomatoes and even though it will be in the 90’s this week we’ll have to pick them soon. Hoping to not have to fry them all!


  1. […] 2 bushels green tomatoes (see what we do with them here!) […]