by Nicole Staniger, CPM, LM Quiet Earth Provisions & Midwifery

     The summer, with its warm dirt, red tomatoes, and green leafy abundance, comes to fruition as the cool air sneaks into the early mornings. The chill gently warns us that the earth has tilted on its axis, that the glory of the Perseus meteor showers is passing, and the ground is ready to give up its great Autumnal bounty before the frost creeps in. I am a lover of summer. I love the hiking, the camping, the lake-swimming, the adventures, the sun warming the winter wrinkles out of me. Yet, summer also brings a busy-ness that irks me and if I don’t guard stillness, motion will fill up every part of the summer season. Autumn forces time to slow, and there is a relief that comes with that. As the days get shorter, the brilliant reds, yellows, and oranges fill the trees. The apples and pears begin to fall, the peppers turn ripened red, the potatoes are ready to be dug out of the black earth. It is the time for sterilizing boxes of canning jars and preparing my kitchen for pickling, jamming, canning, and fermenting. One of the beautiful things about Autumn is the forced community it brings. I simply cannot process hundreds of pounds of apples, pears, cucumbers, tomatoes, beets, and berries (oh, the glory of berries!!) on my own, which forces me to seek out fellow friends of the earth who would like to spend a day or two in the hot kitchen with herbed cocktails and children pushing apples through the processor, amazed at the outflow of sauce and popping Mason lids. So, as Summer begins to fade, I would give to you all the same encouragement I have to give myself: embrace the season’s bounty with friends and neighbors, enjoy the last of outdoor mealtimes, get out your canning supplies and find a friend to help process sauces and jams, make a final camping trip, and look forward to carving pumpkins (even if you don’t have children at home). ’Tis the season for broths and soups, pumpkin pie, and curries after a long day of cutting firewood. Breathe in the fresh air that says goodbye to Summer and ushers in the Winter as you enjoy your Autumnal Harvest.