Saturday, October 4, 2014

Oh, October

There are heavy frosts at night, and though most of the days are bright and warm, some of them hot, the light perfumes of summer are gone and the smell of blackened vines sweeps in from the planted pieces mingled only with that of burning potato tops.  The cornstalks stand in stacks like wigwams, ready to be brought to the barns for use as bedding for cattle and horses.  Nothing remains in the fields but the cornstalks, the cabbages, parsnips which will be left there until spring, and wandering, wondering cows.  Stoves have been set up in chambers and sitting rooms.  Men drive to woodlots lately stripped and haul home cartloads of sawdust for banking houses.  Woodpiles in the yards are growing smaller and the sheds are filling up as wheelbarrows trundle between, loaded high going in, empty going out.  Chimney soot has been swept down.  Women are cutting patchwork to make new comforters and mend old ones.  The barn lofts are full of hay, the long, deep chests of whole corn, cracked corn, and oats, each in its compartment, the cellar of potatoes, squashes, pumpkins, apples, carrots, beets, and other fruits and vegetables in jars, pickles in crocks; or as full as they will ever be.  Herbs and popping corn swing from the rafters in the shed chamber.  The children gather hickory and hazel nuts after the first hard frost opened their burrs, and those hang in baskets among the corn and herbs.  The life of the year has moved inside the buildings and seems to swell their sides. 

-- Gladys Hasty Carroll, Only Fifty Years Ago

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