The last two weeks have been filled with travel – some for fun and some for work. I left town as summer was wrapping up and hints of Fall were settling in, but there is no mistaking the season now that I have returned. Portland is filled with brilliant shades of crimson, gold, blazing orange and muted purples. The trees have all turned and the wind has a biting chill.

Before I left town, I spent a couple days getting the garden ready for winter. My winter crops had already been planted, so little shoots of arugula and spinach were just beginning to surface. I had also planted beets, lettuce, kale, fava beans, etc.

To protect these delicate winter greens from cat’s looking for a litter box or my chickens looking for a snack, I arranged several old windows around the raised bed. I also put some old bike tire wheels lightly on top, just to deter them more should they try to hop the windows. The shock of being entangled in wires would probably scare them from a repeat attempt.

I also pulled out the weatherizing plastic from last Spring, used to cover the other raised beds. I only had enough for two beds, but those plants underneath should be feeling a bit more toasty than the other beds outside. If I had more time before leaving on these trips, it would have been nice to cover the last raised bed. But unfortunately I had one hundred and eight things on my to-do list.

The last thing that is screaming to be done would be collecting any remaining green tomatoes off the plants. Kept on a kitchen counter, they will eventually turn red and be ready. I kind of think I am suppose to do that before the first frost, but I don’t know for sure. Hopefully it is not too late. I have a sneaking suspicion that many ripe tomatoes are waiting for me under the plastic covers as well.

Last night I slept for fourteen hours and I feel much more like myself again today. The last two weeks had little hours of sleep for me and lots of running around from one thing to another. I am really looking forward to this weekend, when we can lay in bed for the better part of the morning, drink cup after cup of coffee, cook some hearty pots of food, and bundle up to putz around in the garden. The jet lag is wearing off, but a weekend like this would surely acclimate me back to my urban homesteading life in Portland.

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Written by Renee Wilkinson