Technically fall starts in September. But doesn’t September still feel a little like summer? September days are still nice and warm, like summer, but the nights are starting to forewarn that winter’s coming. And then October comes in all fresh and chilly in boots and blue jeans. Once October arrives, there’s really no pretending that summer is still hanging around. The days are shorter, there are pumpkins and skeletons everywhere you look and the wind howls at the moon. And even though pumpkin spice everything starts showing up in September, October is the REAL fall month.
As you may know by now if you’ve been reading my posts for a while, I came from the Midwest a few years ago before becoming a desert dweller. Obviously, the seasonal change there was clear – a very noticeable change in the air, falling leaves, shorter drearier days & harvest. I hear a lot that there is no seasonal change here in the desert, it’s just always hot and sunny. Hot and sunny does hold true for most of the time, but as a gardener, I notice lots of changes at each new season.
But do the seasons change in the desert?
You may have heard that fall has forgotten to come to the desert as yet but I call false on that statement. As the days got shorter and the sun started moving south again, I noticed my plants starting to perk up. They suffer greatly here during the summer and the ultimate goal is to just keep them alive no matter how rough they start looking. But a few weeks ago I noticed the rally – a tiny new shoot here, a couple flowers there, and an overall sense of relief that the nights are longer & cooler.
Not only are the plants showing signs of life, but the wildlife is changing too. The coyotes are coming more often and closer to the house – their food supply gets smaller as the summer takes a toll on their prey and we have a yard full of tasty little chihuahuas! The great horned owls come out earlier in the evening and are sometimes still out as the sun comes up, once again needing longer hunting time. The round-tailed squirrels are in their second hibernation. The rock squirrels have collected almost all the seeds from every nook & cranny. And all the lovely birds are moving further south leaving behind the regulars to take over for a while. The morning sounds are a little quieter without all the competition for the bird seed block and the quiet evenings are filled with yipping coyotes and barking dogs – telling them to move on I’m sure.
So the changes are very subtle and may not be noticed at all if you just watch the thermometer, but they’re there. And soon, winter will come to the desert. I’ll whine about the cold to you when that happens. Until then, I’ll enjoy a lot more patio time and flower planting!
OK – so we all know October equals Halloween, but what else?
As holidays go, there are some very well-known ones – Canadian Thanksgiving, Columbus Day, Indigenous People’s Day & of course Halloween! Some not so well-known ones – Leif Eriksson Day, St. Luke’s Little Summer and United Nations Day. And some silly ones – National Noodle Day, National Fossil Day and of course, Frankenstein Friday.
Besides holidays, there are other happenings as well. In 2020, there will be two full moons in the month of October – the Harvest Moon on October 1st and the Hunter’s Moon on Halloween! There will also be the Draconid meteor shower on October 9th and the Orionid meteor shower October 21-22. And of course, in most parts of North American, leaves will be turning the amazing colors of fall.
And if you’re a gardener, well, this is an incredibly busy month for you! Not only is it time to finish harvesting and canning but also time to get those garden beds ready for winter. Don’t forget to plant bulbs for spring flowers!
If you’re a kitchen kind of person – oh boy! it’s time to get out all those fall recipes – soups, chilis and everything pumpkin! For those of us who aren’t a kitchen kind of person, we can handle s’mores and warming up mulled cider. Let the comfort food fest begin!