Putting the Garden To Bed

I started by going to the laundromat. This might not sound like putting the garden to bed, but it was winter preparation, nevertheless. I brought along our two comforters that don’t fit in the washer at home, tossed them into a mega-sized washer, then a mega-sized dryer, brought them back home, put them on the bed. The previous night, I shivered somewhere around 1 a.m., snuggled up to my husband, promptly woke him up. We’ve both been cold the past several nights, added extra blankets, put on our pajama pants instead of shorts. The bed now looks ready, cozy, soft.

That same morning, there was visible frost outlining fallen leaves, rooftops, grass. At 29 degrees, it was time to give our mini dachshund a light coat for her morning walk. Her entire 10-pound body shivers when below-freezing air ruffles her fur, kisses her nose. Even the thinly-sliced crescent moon looked cold in the pale morning sky. 

Twenty-nine degrees is not terribly cold for a Minnesota morning unless it’s October and we don’t yet have our full-on winter mindset. But it was a sign that it was time to clean out the birdbath, the terracotta garden pots, toss dead annuals into the compost bin, get things stored in the garage. The day before, a squirrel visited the now-composted grape tomato plant on the corner of the deck, nibbled at still-green never-to-ripen-now tomatoes. I felt a little bad for demolishing the frostbitten plant, but our backyard wildflower refuge will remain standing for all critters over the winter. The petunias in the pot by the front door met a similar fate, their frostbitten selves replaced with some nice orange, white, and green gourds. The backyard birch are now nearly naked, their limbs slicing patterns in the sky.

All this putting things to compost or to shelter in the garage makes me happy as much as it makes me wistful. Yes, the growing season is over here in Minnesota, but the season of long nights for cooking, reading, movies, wine, and conversation are upon us. The season of favorite sweaters, soft blankets, slow-roasted chicken with an accompanying scent that fills the whole house. The season of turning inward.

When Halloween comes on Thursday, I’ll be ready for that shift. For the whoop and glee of trick-or-treaters followed by the quiet of All Saints Day and the earth falling asleep. 

Sweet winter dreams.

Yes, I’m hiding back here so you can’t see me take the last of the tomatoes.

One more thing for your winter dream time….

Friend and colleague Constance Brewer has a new book of short poems out. Piccola Poesie is a “Nibble of 100 Short Form Poems” that includes haiku, senryu, tanka, and American sentences. You can find my Amazon review of it HERE or purchase a copy of your very own HERE.

All photos by kcmickelson 2019


  1. Kath, Winter doesn’t sneak up on you here, it barrels down several hours after a 60-degree day and slap-coats everything in a glaze of ice. I carry winter clothes in my car year-round. it was ten below on my drive to work yesterday. Kid’s Halloween costumes shouldn’t be puffy coats. Just sayin’.

    Thanks for the plug! I appreciate it. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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