The harvest is mostly in, at least in my garden, where all that remains are some sunflowers and several enormous basil plants that are destined for pesto if I beat the frost. The air is clean and clear and very dry, despite some overnight rain a few days ago. The rivers are very low, and the leaves are steadily turning across the landscape beyond the poplars, swamp maples and individually stressed trees that lead off the season. We will need some rain, and soon, to bring out the full vibrancy of the maples, but then, grumbling about the color prospects is a venerable New England tradition, right up there with grousing about the weather.
I have switched over to consuming locally pressed sweet cider as my drink of preference - soft rather than hard, nor yet as what my grandfather called a 'stone fence" when mixed with rye whiskey. I am working through a second gallon of unpasteurized cider from Windy Hill Farm in Great Barrington, and will head over to Sharon son to see if Ellsworth's has any of the late season white peaches that are so marvelous at the end of summer. There is little I like better than cider donuts and sweet cider on a brisk Autumn day, unless it is the crackle of leaves underfoot and the scent of woodsmoke. On a bright, clear day in late September there is truly nothing finer.
I have my eye out for roadside foraging opportunities as I travel through the Litchfield Hills. I found a great mass of Sulfur Shelf mushroom a couple of weeks ago and am hoping for more. I would be delighted to find more Shaggy Manes on our street as I did a couple of years back, or even Giant Puffballs or Lobster mushrooms. Fall foraging tides me over until it is time once again to get out my taps and pails as the sap starts to stir in late Winter. I still have in mind a great batch of wild grape jelly, and have my pruning clippers and several garbage bags in my car in case I come across a particularly well laden vine or two.