Brrr! What a rude awakening last weekend. At least the Weather Channel had it right for a change and provided us with ample warning. I admit I was surprised that our first real freeze was so deep. Everything is gone.

The hydrangeas look dismal. They still had all their leaves which are hanging on like dirty clothing. Here’s hoping they fall off and we don’t have to look at them all winter.

I hauled in boatloads of produce. The house was filled with boxes and baskets of food needing to be sorted, washed and processed.

I got right to it Saturday morning. I cooked some pears that could have been riper and pushed them through a ricer. With a bit of sugar it became an acceptable sauce for an addition to yogurt this winter. A mere 10 minutes in a water bath canner and the pints were ready for the pantry shelf.

I pulled all my late-planted beets. They were small, not quite the size of ping pong balls. Several hours in the crock pot loosened the skins which slipped off easily. I made a big dish of sliced beets with oil and vinegar. They should last a week or so in the fridge.

Moving right along, I cut the tops from almost a bushel of celeriac. I think they will keep in a cool, dry place for a month. They are a great addition to soups and stews. I prefer them to their cousin, celery, since they have no strings and keep their crunch after cooking. I bet someone has them at the winter farmers’ market.

Sadly, I chopped the very last of the cabbage into a salad. I am very fond of that member of the Brassica family.

I love the Thanksgiving hymn “Come ye thankful people come — Raise the song of harvest home — All is safely gathered in ere the winter storms begin.”

I’ve been “gathering in” like a crazy person this year. I think it is my feeble attempt at some sort of control in an out-of-control world. Every time my son, Reuben, catches me loading the canner he says, “Donald Trump?”

Speaking of the canner — I’ve been using one for at least 40 years with very few mishaps. Once every decade or so I may have a jar break in the canner. Usually it has a tiny crack I did not notice. I’ve used the same Ball jars all these years. Recently, I opened a new case of wide-mouths. They seem thinner than my old ones. Sure enough, one broke in the pressure canner. I was so irritated at the state of the marketing world. Everything from cars to clothespins is made cheaper these days. Nothing seems built to last anymore. When did metal bumpers go out of style?

After the big freeze I found several strawberries hanging on to the Alpines. The plants were all frozen and sad but I ate a berry anyway. It was completely sweet and delicious. What a fun discovery. I promptly moved a couple plants into the hoophouse for the winter. I started them from seed years ago, both the reds and whites. They never make it into the house but we enjoy them in passing for months.

On the job sites (and how I wish in my own gardens) it’s time to fertilize the evergreens and hydrangeas. I use Pro-Holly and sprinkle some on the acid loving trees as well.

We’ve been busy digging the dahlias. Again, in my perfect world, I would have them labeled as to size and color. Oh, well, perhaps next year. I bag them and cover with peat moss. They need to be stored in an unheated but frost-free space such as a root cellar or basement. Mice will eat them over the winter so be aware and vigilant. I have cats.

I do not recall Al Gore, John Kerry, John McCain or Mitt Romney being disparaged by either George Bush or Barack Obama. They were not called names or asked to be the subjects of investigations. It is not the American way to go after political rivals after winning an election. A sore winner is extremely unattractive. Then again, Obama and Bush Jr. are decent men who were raised properly. Neither of the aforementioned qualities are share by DJT. Sad!