Fall In NW Alabama 2015
By Mary Carton
November is here and farmers are picking cotton and combining soybeans and planting wheat. At my place I had a little over one half inch of rain in two months. We finally got some rain last weekend so now I can work on pulling weeds and Johnson grass out of my flower beds.
We had a light frost on Oct 17 and a killing frost the next night. I pulled all of the green tomatoes from my pitiful garden that never really got off of the ground. Between a rainy spring and pneumonia hitting this summer, my garden only consisted of tomatoes which finally made it into the ground at the end of June. I started the seeds in February. I planted my usual Cherokee Purples and tried a new heirloom for me called Rainbow. Somehow it looks like I gave away most of the Cherokee Purple plants and landed up planting most of the Rainbows. I probably won’t grow it again as they were too juicy for a sandwich and don’t keep well. Most of my loader full of them is rotting in storage. Last fall my Cherokee Purples lasted into January. When we were little, Mom would pick the green ones and us children would wrap them in newspaper and place the boxes in a dark closet. It was our job to check them once or twice a week, unwrapping and wrapping back up the ones still green.
Last year I tried putting a layer of newspaper in the bottom of a cardboard box, then adding a layer of green tomatoes, then a layer of paper, a layer to tomatoes and so on until I had about 4 layers. I think it worked just as well as wrapping and didn’t have all the work wrapping and unwrapping. I had my last tomato in January.
Living in a valley below a small mountain, if it gets down to 38 degrees at the airport, it’ll be frosty here. When the temperature got down to the high forties, I brought what plants and hanging baskets I planned to over winter into the garage. These days I don’t see how I used to get a Grand Cherokee and a Dakota in there. Until I get things rearranged, I have to park my truck outside. When the door went up on the storage side of the garage, I spied a small rat snake rolled up between the door and one of the boxes next to it. I grabbed it before Blackie spied it to prevent it from being in a tug of war with the Hooligans and took it out to the ditch in front of the house and shooed it toward the field. As I walked back to the house I thought back to the fall of 2010 when another snake decided to hibernate in my garage.
It was pouring down rain when I got home so I let the hooligans (my three rescued Border collies) in the garage on the house and closed the door down to a height where they could get out if they wanted to. They have a dog door on the barn and nice beds under the stairs, but they have to sleep out in the front yard no matter what the weather so they can see what’s going on in the neighborhood.
I put my mail on my truck when I went to the barn to feed. Later I thought about it and knew that I would have confetti in the morning if I didn’t get it. Blackie and Patches’ kept barking at the door after I went back in the house. Levi was no where to be found. That should have given me a little clue that something was wrong. I finally got tired of listening and went back out to see what the uproar was about. Half of my garage is full of potted plants and hanging baskets brought in for over wintering. Blackie kept lunging at a group of plants. I got closer for a look and told Blackie she was imagining things. Blackie has a mission to eliminate every creepy crawly critter on the property. I leaned over to upright some pots they had turned over and turned my head toward some hanging baskets inches away and stopped in mid sentence. There stretched out across two hanging baskets was a rat snake. Now I had gotten comfortable after feeding the dogs, and ladies, you know what I mean, no shoes, and just sweat pants and a T-shirt on. I put one glove on, grabbed the snake, tried to get to the opener button with Blackie jumping up and grabbing the snake’s tail while trying to locate an umbrella. Did I say it was pouring rain and the umbrella I found only covered one side? So here I am standing out in the pouring rain, barefooted with a snake in one hand, umbrella in the other and Blackie jumping up and biting the snake’s tail and the snake is not happy and I’m trying to decide where put it so it won’t turn into a tug of war rope. I finally decided to take it to the road and put it in the ditch on the other side of the road. Since Blackie couldn’t get to the road because of the underground fence it would be safe. Just as I turned it loose Randal, one of the neighbors, drove by going home, so my hope for secrecy was dashed. Here I am standing on the side of the road in a pouring rain storm, one glove on like Michael Jackson, no shoes, only sweat pants and a T-shirt on holding half an umbrella. He drove by real slow and all I could do was wave hi at him. After getting in the house I had to call his wife Jessica and explain why this crazy woman was out on the road like she was.
Back to the present, besides trying to find my yard, I’ve been photographing a Dragon Boat fundraiser for the teaching school connected to the University of North Alabama. It gives adults the chance to dress up like pirates and Vikings and play in the river. The problem was that we had a cold misty day for it with a one day cold spell. The temperatures jumped back up into the high eighties a day or two later. The Alabama Renaissance Faire gives Florence the chance to go back to its sister city in Italy Medieval times. Another event was a fundraiser for the Alabama Music Hall of Fame in Tuscumbia. Here the public got a chance to meet and greet some of the living legends in music such as Travis Wammack, Rick Hall, Marty Raybon, Donna Jean Godchaux Mackay former Grateful Dead member, Jimmy Johnson, Spooner Oldham, Donnie Fritts, Gary Nichols, Harvey Thompson, Mickey Buckins, Jim Seales, Earl ‘Peanutt’ Montgomer, Bobby Denton, Mitch Man, Mark Narmore and several others.
Oh, and the American Queen riverboat, the largest in the world, paid a visit to the Shoals on the way to Chattanooga and again on the way back. I think of the Tennessee River as a very wide river, but when she backed away from the Florence shore to turn around, she almost took up the whole width of the river
In a week or so, some of the Christmas season events start. What happened to spring and summer? Somehow it slipped by me.
If you are wondering about the 100th birthday cake, my neighbor Mr. James Sizemore turned 100 on October 22. Up until an illness a few weeks back, he was still riding around on his John Deere.
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