Hello friends! I’m baaaack with a September Sunday Letter.
Can you believe September is here? Even though the afternoons are still HOT and HUMID, I find relief in knowing the calendar has flipped from August.
Since I was a kid I always considered September to be the beginning of change because it was back to school time. Now, even though I no longer attend school, I still see September the same way. (Living in a college town helps reinforces this viewpoint too.) Change of season, change of attitude, change in the colors outside my kitchen window.
Despite the way we often cling to the familiar, change can be a very good thing. And, sometimes the smallest changes make the biggest impact.
The Beauty and Power of Browsing
In August, I made a change to my routine at the Fayetteville Public Library. That one small change has really enhanced my overall library experience. What did I do? I started looking for treasures.
Let me back up… During Covid, I got into the habit of requesting books online and picking them up when they were ready. This necessary safety measure resulted in a quick in and out trip to the library. This summer, however, I returned to my prior way of browsing without a book list. Walking aisle by aisle, visiting different genres, looking at titles and covers, ultimately checking out an entire stack of books that otherwise wouldn’t have been on my radar. (This is basically how I rooted out library books when I was a kid. How about you?)
There is real beauty and power in browsing. This summer I became swallowed up by the magic of the library experience again, and I expanded my reading list in the process. Poetry. Nature. Memoir. Books about books. Essays.
When we get into the habit of reading only new releases or those books on the bestseller list, we miss a world of compelling stories. Also, even though I’ve not been posting book reviews here lately, I still post reviews of the books I read on Goodreads. Follow me there!
Consider this next bit of information a public service announcement AND a summer miracle.
You might recall I purchased this DeerOff Deer Repellent via Amazon at the beginning of June. I installed the six devices immediately around our hostas—a favorite snack of our neighborhood deer.
As of this morning, September 3, our hostas have been completely ignored and left to fully grow and bloom! (The hummingbirds love the blossoms – FYI.)
Lest you doubt this product, I’m here to tell you the deer still visit our yard. I saw a momma and her twins casually stroll down our driveway not that long ago. But rather than enjoy the hosta buffet, they kept strolling.
This product not only works but it’s a million times more pleasant than my prior method involving the most vile-smelling spray known to mankind. (If you know, you know.)
What’s Blooming and Growing?
As summer winds down, so does the summer garden. This doesn’t mean there still isn’t plenty of beauty to enjoy. Here’s a glimpse of what’s blooming in our garden this week.
This is the time of year I stop deadheading coneflowers because the goldfinches love to feast on the seedheads. Also, we have lots of monarch caterpillars feeding on milkweed, so it’s important to be careful when raking and deadheading. Monarch chrysalises show up in the most unlikely places and you don’t want to knock one from it’s hanging spot.
My Phenology Project
With the end of August comes the end of another phenology wheel. If you have been following along, you know I’ve been tracking the nature of my surroundings on a monthly phenology wheel—one entry per day/one wheel per month.
This has been such an enjoyable way for me to not only record nature’s patterns and happenings but also tap into my creative side. It’s an art and writing project. A creative way to nature journal. AND, I’m excited to report I will be teaching a session on this at the Arkansas Master Gardener State Conference next spring in Hot Springs!
Here’s a glimpse of August’s phenology wheel.
Do you enjoy any sort of nature journaling?
A New Season / A September Sunday Letter
In my mind, September is a chance to reset, restart, and remember what’s important before settling into the hibernation of winter. It’s literally a time of harvest on the farm, cutting rice and picking cotton (soon), assessing wins and losses, thinking about year-end plans. For me, it’s a time a celebration that includes a bit of melancholy over another summer gone.
Yes, it’s been quite a summer. I took a blog vacation, but don’t worry, Grace Grits and Gardening isn’t going anywhere. You might notice a few tweaks here and there, including the frequency of my Sunday Letters—they will likely become monthly rather than weekly. In between, I plan to get back to regular posting about gardening and food and writing and sharing neat local spots around Arkansas and beyond.
Enjoy the remainder of your Labor Day weekend and remember, with you I’d walk anywhere. (Or at least through the library or garden.)
Grace Grits and Gardening
Farm. Food. Garden. Life.
P.S. What Momma Said will still be a regular feature. I just dropped this ball this time.