Our very late first frost came in the early morning hours of October 26th. A frost advisory can lead to much agonizing – what to cut and bring in, what to cover and leave out – but this time it was clear. Harvest everything that was left, which wasn’t much. In the shortened hours of late October daylight very little was ripening anyway. I brought in my last armload of green and part-green tomatoes, and a few last cosmos and cornflowers, which looked oddly like William Morris wallpaper as they stood in their vase.
On the chilly weekend that followed, I pulled deceased plants, collected tomato stakes, and Doug brought out boards cut to length and fitted with corner pieces, to set up one more raised bed in the last remaining spot in the garden. He had offered to do this last spring, but I’d already planted the area in its unraised state so it had to stay as it was. Setting the bed up now would avoid timing issues next spring.
I had a warm jacket on, and a scarf, and gloves. Doug was in shirtsleeves. He did have gloves, but they were work gloves to keep splinters out of his hands. I’m not sure if he was always a polar bear, or if he became one after some number of years living in Michigan.
“This is great,” he said, “I’m not sweating.”
I like to avoid sweating as much as the next person, but we could have had another twenty degrees out there before it became a problem. Still, I was glad he wasn’t suffering as he built another garden improvement for me.
When we finished and went inside, Zerlina came over and nudged my leg. I reached down to pet her, and though she didn’t scream, she did jump and run away, only to come back and sniff my hand suspiciously. No way she was going to let me warm my hands up on her. I would have to warm them up on Doug, instead.