There’s a Chill In the Air and the Leaves Are Turning

Reader Contribution by Ginnie Baker
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There’s a definite chill in the air around Bellville! The last two mornings, the temperature has been in the mid 40s with a “wind chill” of 38 degrees!

I noticed that the maple trees are beginning to put on their fall colors. It won’t be long and we’ll have to fire up the outdoor wood furnace. This photo is from last fall but it won’t be long before the trees will be in their fall finest.

Sadly, the garden is just about finished. I did a second planting of beans, but with the temperatures so low at night, I doubt if they’ll have time to do anything.

I’ve been gathering herbs and drying them for winter use. I also freeze some of the dill. I discovered that putting the herbs like parsley, rosemary and thyme on a paper towel on the glass turntable in the microwave and putting it on “high” for 2 to 3 minutes dries them perfectly. I let them set on the counter for about an hour to be sure they’re completely dry and cool then put them in labeled plastic bags to use later.

Freezing some of the dill makes it perfect for using in ranch-style salad dressing and in sour cream. I also use it like fresh in an old recipe from my grandmother. It’s like a creamed squash. I use zucchini or summer squash. It’s one of those recipes that my grandmother verbally told me; there are no quantities! It’s creamy when it’s done and just a sprinkle of paprika adds a little color to the squash. I add about 1/4 cup sour cream.

Peel, quarter and seed the squash. Grate it so it’s ribbony in appearance. Put it in a bowl with some salt and let it soak for an hour. Using your hands, lift the squash out of the brine. Melt shortening in a saucepan until clear; thicken with flour. Add the squash, chopped dill and paprika. When the squash is done, add sour cream.

Samson and Delilah, my miniature donkeys, seem to be enjoying the cool temperatures. They aren’t too fond of the hot and humid weather.

Samson, ever the protector, stands in his “donkey door” that goes out to the pasture, and surveys the territory to make sure everything is in order before he goes outside.

Delilah just ambles out as soon as the gate is open. She has been opening her stall door since she was a few months old. The door is chained at night so she doesn’t decide to head out. As soon as I go to the barn to let them out, and unchain her door, she uses her nose and slams the door open so she can “escape” to the great outdoors to munch the dew-covered pasture grass.


Before moving to this house, I lived in a rural area on the other side of Bellville. There were a lot of wild turkeys in the area. I had the largest group of wild turkeys in this county! They would roost in the trees behind the house and descend in the morning to eat the corn I put out for them. There were 142 turkeys that would gobble up the cracked corn in nothing flat!

I had so many that the ODNR (Ohio Department of Natural Resources) would put up a camouflage tent and film the flock for training videos!



It has been quite a while since I’ve seen wild turkeys at this house. Every so often, I’ll see them up the road in a neighbor’s field.

Yesterday, something got Samson and Delilah’s attention in their pasture. There were about 20 or 25 young wild turkeys in the pasture!


I’m not sure what Samson and Delilah thought they were but the birds held their attention for quite some time! It was a wonderful sight to see this flock of wild turkeys grazing their way across the field. They didn’t pay any attention to me or Samson and Delilah.

I keep hearing that this will be a harsher winter than last year. The winter of 2013-2014 was awful so I hope the predictions are wrong!

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