An unofficial end to summer

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Last weekend was all about synchronicity for me. Though it wasn’t what I would have preferred to do, my activities seemed to fall into perfect order with the planet’s inclination.

I’d returned after Labor Day with a cold after a trip visiting family. Admittedly, I’d willfully neglected my hand sanitizer during my flights; I basically just flew it to Ohio and back.

The following weekend was to be a beautiful finale to summer. By Friday evening after a short, but taxing, work week due to the Monday holiday, I retreated to my cocoon of congestion. Being hamstrung on a such a beautiful weekend (especially knowing what weather was down the road) was frustrating. Like keeping the horse in the barn.

Saturday morning I woke up stuffy-headed but not lacking incentive. By 9:30 a.m. I was roasting chili peppers (yet again) on the grill in the morning sun on a peppy bed of coals. In no time they were bagged in paper to “sweat” while I showered and headed up to the produce stand in Columbia Falls to secure some of their attractively priced poblanos, leaving the bin all but empty.

Back home, while poblanos roasted in the welcome afternoon shade of the patio, I wiped down the patio furniture and retired it to the shed for the winter, knowing rain was forecast for Sunday and most of the following week.

Once the poblanos joined the other peppers to “sweat,” I headed out to my unfenced garden of mainly root crops, which deer do not consume, harvested all the onions and shallots, and dug up only the potato plants that were completely wilted. The sun was bright and warm so I laid them all out on a tarp to dry until evening.

Sunday morning, after dragging the potatoes and onions from the garage back into the sun, the plan was to head to the landfill with the pepper scraps, household trash and recyclables. A quick check in the freezers produced diced rhubarb from 2014; and some grated zucchini in a recycled plastic tortilla bag with a “use by” date in 2013 — all headed out the door.

I also spotted some recently frozen over-ripe bananas. Pairing them with some strawberries I’d picked at the strawberry farm in July and froze, I baked a couple of loaves of bread, likely the earliest on record for me to get started on holiday baking.

Rainclouds were gathering as I headed to the landfill and ran a few errands, but I took a chance my sunning potatoes and onions would stay dry.

Later, I spot mowed and weed-whacked, then threw a turkey breast in the oven.

The skies darkened as I parked myself on a short stool next to the tarp of potatoes and onions, settiing a plastic bucket next to me where I could put my phone on speaker so I could return a call to my brother from Saturday that I couldn’t answer because I was elbow deep and plastic-gloved in skinning roasted peppers.

We chatted while I brushed the now dried dirt off the potatoes and bedded them in boxes of newspaper. Thunder began to rumble and rain began to spatter the tarp as I was finishing off the last of them. I told my brother I had to go.

Just as I grabbed a broom to sweep off the tarp, the first gust of wind of the day grabbed a corner and swept it for me. I quickly stored the potato boxes, dragged the onions safely into the garage and triumphantly headed back to the house in the driving rain with the plastic bucket over my head.

Community Editor Carol Marino may be reached at 758-4440 or

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