September’s Equinox

I took this at last week’s farm market. That’s Daniel Carmona of Cerro Vista Farm, up near Questa. These flowers are all so typical of fall, a season that’s only a couple of days away as I write (Fall Equinox on the 22nd). I bought some great broccoli from his booth. I tried growing my own the first season I was here (3 summers ago now) and had to battle the cabbage moths for what little I was able to harvest. That ended my attempts. Easier to just buy it from Daniel.

There’s more variety of flowers in this shot of Kathy Moen’s booth. She has zinnias, cosmos and gladiolas, among other things. Her farm is near the Hwy. 68 down from Taos to Espanola, somewhere about half way. So she has a lower elevation advantage when that first night of freezing temperatures arrives here in Taos at 7,000  feet. I talked to a friend on the phone last week in Ketchum, Idaho, and he reported that they were going to have their first frosty night and he had picked all his marigolds and some tender garden fruits and vegetables. I’m happy to be gardening here in Taos where we can hope for a longer season. Gotta watch the weather news for low temps ahead though, starting about now.

I didn’t keep track of whose grapes these were at the farm market last week but I had to take a photo. Nothing says fall like picking grapes. Fifteen years ago I might have been doing just that this time of year. I was living in Sonoma County, California, on a spacious property next to a large vineyard. There were also some old vines on our place and some years those of us living there (and friends) came together in an effort to pick all the grapes and press them into juice. Not every year, mind you, could we muster the will. It was a big commitment of time and energy, but the reward of fresh juice was the payoff. Made for great sensory memories. We also did apples some years I recall.

Which brings me to the topic of Chamisa. It’s a plant very much like the wild sage that is indigenous here and they tend to grow in the same places. But sage never has a showy blooming period like Chamisa. She waits for late summer/early fall and throws up a yellow that is a joy to see. This clump was photographed along Maestas Road, the one I live on, but it could have been taken about anywhere along a road these days.

And where there’s Chamisa you’ll likely see these small purple daisy-like wild flowers. They’re called “purple asters.” If you wanted an area of wildflowers near your house this would be a good time to add the seeds to your mix. These were blooming near my driveway. Also you could consider getting a garden version of the same plant at the nursery in the spring. I had a neighbor in Ketchum, Idaho, who had large plants that also bloomed in the fall with purple flowers that looked similar. Just when other flowers are starting to fade they make a great fall show of color.

An heirloom tomato from Living Light Farm