As I often do, I need to complain about last weekend’s wind. It stripped many of the just-turning beautiful fall leaves from my sugar maple.

I bought the sapling in 1977 from the Felix Neck seedling sale just before the birth of my youngest son, Reuben. It was a six-inch tall twig. It now towers over my house at more than 50 feet. Back then, in my optimistic youth, I pictured tapping it for syrup.

I grew up in a maple sugaring family. Dad tapped all the trees on our large property. He tapped not just the sugar maples but all the maples and birches. He fashioned a 55-gallon drum into a cauldron and boiled the sap over an outside fire at our hunting camp picnic area. One time my little brother and a neighbor kid decided to make their own. They set up pans on every burner in our kitchen while the folks were at work. Mom was not too happy to find they had steamed the wallpaper from the room.

It takes 40 gallons of sap to produce one gallon of syrup. Let me say again, how can food be so cheap given the effort an individual has to exert?

I pulled all the rest of the beans. Most had dried on their own but I lay them out on newspaper in the back room still in their shells. After a week or so, I pop them out of the shells. It’s a good project while gabbing on the phone (one of my favorite pastimes). Then, to be sure the beans are completely dry, I put them on cookie sheets in the pilot-lit oven. They will store in glass jars indefinitely after that.

In the spring I planted some small foxgloves and delphiniums. They have a nice tall single stem. I cut the spent stalk to the foliage sometime in July. Now they are all blooming again. Granted, the stems are shorter and not as dramatic but a wonderful addition to the late fall garden.

It’s worth planting a couple of the old fashioned garden mums this time of year. They do nothing all summer but have come into their own. At three feet tall and beloved by honey bees, they complete the fall border. I like Penelope Pease, Clara Curtis, and Sheffield Pink. They are far superior to the ordinary “bomb” types seen alongside pumpkins on porches and driveway entrances.

Violet’s photo this week is my weird carrots. They are conjoined twins, triplets and more. This falls under the heading: take my advice, I’m not using it. I never thinned them and this is the result. They are delicious but a pain to peel. Leave some in the ground to experience several freezes. It sweetens them. Some hay on top will keep them until spring when they are a welcome treat.

My kale, broccoli and collards all have aphids. I soak the leaves in salted water as part of the preparation. It removes them almost immediately. I’m surprised because I have several praying mantis hanging around. A freeze will kill the aphids so the cole crops will become much more desirable.

The praying mantis is one weird creature. I had one on my neck once. I devolved into screaming and flailing. I do appreciate their tireless work in the garden but find them a bit off-putting, especially when they turn their head to look at you. Ewww!

A week in Trump world is not only exhausting but endless. Now that he’s “cured” from Covid, he is even more insufferable.

I watched footage from his Florida rally. The state’s governor, Ron DeSantis, went through the largely mask-less crowd high-fiving everyone on the way. He then promptly rubbed his face. Dr. Vin Gupta said on Tuesday’’s Morning Joe show that Covid can live on an unsanitized hand for nine hours. There you have it, folks.