Single Threads Weave Autumn’s Cloak

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Single threads of a spider’s web glimmer in sunlight as this morning begins. The threads seem to hang upon nothing, moving in mid-air like a shimmering strand of gauze.

Larger patches of gossamer caps spot the grass as the light catches on the blades and blends mild rainbow colors for a patchwork quilt of nature’s weaving.

Two crows head out at dawn from east to west sounding their harsh caw to wake up those not disposed to rising early. From their night’s roost in trees where sun’s first rays warm their feet and wings, the two companions make their way “straight as a crow flies” to surrounding fields for breakfast.

Within an hour or so another raspy voice will take over the neighborhood as late summer locusts buzz their lives away in the yard trees. Silence then ensues as the heat of the day creeps in on the land.

Early in August, finding the first spike of delicate pink miracle lily was as exciting as finding the first morel in spring. The lilies now, however, mean an early autumn has overtaken us this year. Sweet scents of 42 miracle lilies mingle with hundreds of Royal standard hosta trumpet blooms. Snow white beacons of summer’s last strength, they make the transition from summer to autumn a very sweet endeavor.

Along the back fence, the fire bushes are beginning to show a reddish tint, faint yet unmistakable. We comment – they are not supposed to change clothes for another four weeks. But who are we to decide when Lady Autumn takes a notion to show up? Even the maples out on the roads are urgently changing from green to dry green to yellow streaked with red.

Probably one of the strongest signs that autumn is early is the change taking place inside the house. Grilled meats move aside for end-of-the-season fried zucchini with a side of sliced tomatoes. Soon enough the garden will be asleep and its produce tucked away in jars and freezer bags. Now though, as evening light shows up a ripening tomato here and there and another two or three baby zucchini beginning to grow, we take heart that maybe, just maybe, we can squeak another few weeks of summer out of time’s forward march.

Fried Zucchini

One large zucchini, washed and dried
2 to 3 eggs, beaten
1 to 2 cups flour
Salt and pepper to taste, optional
Oil for frying

The zucchini should be big. Some folks say it should be big as your arm. That’s up to you. We go for about 3- to 4-inch diameter and a foot long. You want to slice it into 1/2-inch rounds. Some cooks let the slices drain on paper towels to remove some of the moisture – the less moisture, the crispier the frying.

The eggs should be in a bowl wide enough to hold the slices. The flour should be in a similar bowl or plate. You can add the salt and pepper to the flour or not, we prefer not to use them. Oil should be in a large, nonstick skillet about 1/2-inch deep.

Dip zucchini slices in beaten egg. Lift and drain. Place in flour and coat completely. Shake off excess. Place in hot oil. Fill pan with slices. Fry until deep brown and turn. Fry until both sides are deep brown. Remove from skillet and drain on paper-towel-lined plate.

Keep frying until all zucchini slices are used or until you have enough. If there any zucchini slices are left, chop coarsely and freeze for baking zucchini bread. The pieces can also be folded into pancake batter or muffin batter, or added to casseroles.

Serve fried zucchini hot with butter, maple syrup or plain.