Autumn, a time for apples, pumpkins, sweet potatoes and brassicas.  With the fall color and mild daytime temperatures, we ventured off to the Blue Ridge Parkway yesterday with the pups.  An hour drive from home, put us on the parkway in Floyd, VA for a short jaunt down to Meadows of Dan and a great country store with local produce of the season.  We stocked up on apples as our trees are too young to produce, cabbages, though I have a few in the garden,  I fear they aren’t going to mature to heads before it gets too cold, sweet potatoes and butternut squash, good keepers for the root cellar and to enjoy as the weather chills and the holidays approach.  Also on our journey, we stopped at Mabry Mill, a historic water driven grist mill for the winter’s supply of corn grits and buckwheat flour.  I’m southern enough to enjoy grits, but not sweet tea.  After our shopping, the pups took a hike with us along one of the trails off the parkway, scouting out potential hikes for when our daughter and her family visit in late November.

A neighbor produced many more pumpkins than she needed and she offered us several, too small for jack-o-lanterns, too large for stuffing, but a good size to bake and puree for pies and pumpkin bread.

When I pulled the tomato plants a few weeks ago, I brought in a dozen or so green smooth tomatoes and put them in a window.  Most are bright red and ready to eat, but have lost some of the summer flavor.

This afternoon I have cut and frozen apples for pies and cooking with pork for dinners or sausage and eggs for breakfasts, have one of the pumpkins baking to puree for the freezer and a loaf of bread, cut most of the tomatoes and a handful of green jalapenos and popped them in the crockpot with beans I put on this morning as the base for chili tonight.

The freezer is filling with the bounty of our garden, the farmer’s market, and the other local goodies, the root cellar is well stocked and we await the off season to enjoy the fruit of the summer and fall toil and preservation.

It is almost time to start dreaming about what will be planted for next season and devouring online and paper catalogs for heirloom seed, drawing a garden plan, and enjoying winter walks.

Life is indeed good on this mountain.