Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Fall signs abound
The first sign that I noticed was the most eloquent ringing of the cicada, which comes down from all the trees. We always think of them clinging to the power lines. When we were children, we knew it was hot and dry when you heard the cicada or we children labeled them locust, but I do know that summer was on the wane when they sang from the power lines overhead. Now many of the the power lines are in the ground so we wonder – where do they cling now? They tell us you can hear a thousand singing for every one you see.
They are called the “weather bug,” as when you hear its buzz it is generally a hot day and the sun is beating down on the locust, which buzzes without interruption. You know the summer is drawing toward the equinox, bringing changes and sudden rain. We always hated to hear the first buzz of the cicada as it foretold the coming of fall. As of yet, I haven’t heard one, so perhaps fall is a little late.
A locust is a funny looking bug. They have bodies shaped something like a fish in black with shiny green large bulging eyes and big stiff wings as clear as glass.
Other signs of ending summer are the gardens with their crops at maturity and ready for harvest. Locally the onion trucks, though much fewer than in past years, will be going to their destination with their pallets of topped onions letting us know the crops are finished in the mucklands.
The flower gardens with the fall flowers in bloom is another clue that summer is slipping away. While you are doing your marketing you will notice that the grocery stores have all your canning needs if you plan on canning or preserving foods for the winter. Glass jars and lids, canners in two different sizes, funnels, measuring cups, ladles, can rubbers if you still have the old fashioned type canning jars and all the rest of the paraphernalia needed in the canning process. This year is my time to make chili sauce, so it’s the necessary ingredients for that, i.e.: tomatoes, peppers, onions, vinegar, brown sugar, celery seed, etc. “Why don’t you just buy it at the store?” I am asked by members of my family, but I can’t find any that tastes like mine, so I try and make a double batch every two years and that lasts me for awhile. And, it smells so good when it’s cooking.
Another sign that summer is slipping away on TV, radio and in newspapers are reminding us that school supplies and clothing tare on sale. Moms will be dragging kids to stores to outfit them for school. They don’t dare go and purchase school clothes without the child because “what does mom know about fashion?”
And if all of this hasn’t put you in the know, the State Fair opens today. Grandpa always said the summer was over and fall was officially here when the State Fair opened.
And, too, following the visit to the fair, in the next couple of weeks we would make a trip to the peach country (we had relatives in Phelps) where we would get a supply of New York state peaches for canning because in his opinion (my grandpa) they were the best.
Those were the good old days.