SEPTEMBER SONG — Autumnal Signs

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Autumn Mimics Christmas Along the D&R Canal

Is anyone else more impatient than usual for autumn crispness?  Do others feel as though that “season of mists and mellow fruitfulness” will never arrive?  Might you be “making a list and checking it twice” of early proofs that there really is such a thing as fall?

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Autumn’s golden gifts brighten a dreary canal

I have begun my own Autumnal Chronicle.  Despite assiduous attention, however, this tally is pretty meager.  It is particularly challenging this year to differentiate between the season for which I am longing and the effects of drought.  Sycamores are turning.  But, these puzzle-trunked beauties require ‘wet feet’, almost as urgently as willows.  No New Jersey trees are receiving sufficient moisture in dire 2016. Shocked by dessication, sycamores began dropping huge loud leaves in August.

I’m seeking first wild spurts of scarlet and crimson: Virginia creeper, otherwise known as woodbine; and its usual neighbor, poison ivy act as restaurant signs for migrating birds.  These vines employ the most vivid hue the minute they’re ripe enough to nourish.  In nearly mid-September, both species remain relentlessly forest green.

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Autumnal Carnegie Lake

My fall list begins with the very loud, entirely too audible, crunching of crisp leaves under my car wheels along Fackler Road in Lawrenceville.

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Spill of Crisp Leaves — Carnegie Lake Dock

I was forced to acknowledge autumn as I passed the Lawrenceville Community Garden.  Every towering sunflower is bent and spent, like people who neglect osteoporosis.

Driving past Loews to reach Trader Joe’s, there was the first inescapable bank of mums.

As I carried TJ purchases back to my  car, however, I thrilled to an endless river of dark birds, coursing and coursing as though they fleeing an impending storm.

I realize that none of these examples contains the ecstatic outpouring I would expect from myself as the season turns.  And that NJWILDBEAUTY readers have come to expect from me.

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Sweet Gum Leaves in Autumn Finery

This year, the coming season is marred by the very serious illness of my 20[year-old great nephew, James Weitzel.  His heroism is striking.  But this shining young man; this consummate, initially intuitive musician (percussion especially); this person who’s touched the heart of everyone with whom he interacts in Springfield, Illinois, has been abruptly stricken in his prime.  Now James has a bald head, and not because it’s chic.  Now James has to relearn the very simple process of walking.  So my own heart and feet are not skipping.

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Delaware River Footbridge from Black Bass Inn in Autumn

Autumn meant new beginnings, for this foolish one who couldn’t wait for school.  I lived for first lavender smoke rising from chimneys, and especially from towering bonfires of leaves we’d raked all day..  And harvests were the heart of the matter.

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Trenton Farmers’ Market Bounty

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Today, I’ve tried to fill a treasure chest of autumn memories.  Maybe it will lift NJWILDBEAUTY spirits, as well as my own.  Maybe you’ll even comment on favorite aspects of this laggard season for you.

 

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Trenton Farmers’ Market Apple Crop

Parties meant bobbing for apples and sipping new cider. Popcorn turning white and sometimes a little black in the long-handled black corn popper over coals in our family room fireplace.  New loves began at pep rallies and the subsequent Homecoming Ball.  Happiness swirled in on every fresh breeze.

Maybe, seeing these NJ fall views, you’ll get out on (preserved, of course) trails, and create new memories.

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D&R Greenway’s Cedar Ridge Preserve — Terrestrial Box Turtle Among the Leaves

Maybe it’s color for which I am longing.

Or is it that September and October represent constellations of change?

VIBRANT LOCAL FOODS: INDOOR WINTER FARM MARKET, @ D&R GREENWAY lAND TRUST FEB. 14

Winter Farm Market at D&R Greenway, Sat. 2/14   10 a.m. to 2 p.m

 

Organic Treasures, Indoor Winter Farm Market, D&R Greenway Land Trust

Organic Treasures, Indoor Winter Farm Market, D&R Greenway Land Trust

Local treasures, organic excellence, awaits at the Indoor Winter Farm Markets, sponsored by Slow Food Central Jersey and the managers of the spectacularly successful West Windsor Farm Market, open on Vaughn Drive in the growing season.

NJWILDBEAUTY readers know I work for D&R Greenway Land Trust.  No, we don’t grow food, nor even grapes for wine.  But we have been saving land in New Jersey for 26 years, and farm land increasingly requires our attention and preservation.

One of the joys of my life, as my Packet NJWILD readers and my NJWILDBEAUTY readers know, is farm food, especially when purchased at some rustic site from the people who planted, nourished, tended, harvested, and brought to market these treasures.

Brussels Bounty - Terhune Orchards -- Indoor Winter Farm Market at D&R Greenway

Brussels Bounty – Terhune Orchards — Indoor Winter Farm Market at D&R Greenway

It’s hard for a poet and/or a journalist to admit that a picture is worth 10,000 words.  But it’s true, darn it.

So let these images, from the January Indoor Winter Farm Market at D&R Greenway Land Trust, where I work most days, at One Preservation Place, off Rosedale Road, in Princeton (08540), convince you to attend the one on Valentine’s Day, February 14, from 10 to 2.  The cognoscenti know to arrive close to ten.  Music peals through our 1900 barn, and wondrous information is ours, as shoppers, from the farmer/proprietors/preparers!  You may call us at 609 924 4646 for information beforehand, but the Staff will not be at their desks on Saturday.  You’ll find a number of us, with our sustainable bags, moving from vendor to vendor, choosing the best of the best of the Garden State.

Indoor Winter Farm Market at D&R Greenway - Terhune's Apples

Indoor Winter Farm Market at D&R Greenway – Terhune’s Apples

Divine Mushrooms, D&R Greenway hosts Indoor Winter Farm Market

Divine Mushrooms, D&R Greenway hosts Indoor Winter Farm Market

Des Champignons- Mushroom Feast, Indoor Winter Farm Market at D&R Greenway Land Trust

Des Champignons- Mushroom Feast, Indoor Winter Farm Market at D&R Greenway Land Trust

Mushroom Girl, Indoor Winter Farm Market, D&R Greenway Land Trust

Mushroom Girl, Indoor Winter Farm Market, D&R Greenway Land Trust

Local Honey -- Immune Booster, Indoor Winter Farm Market, D&R Greenway Land Trust

Local Honey — Immune Booster, Indoor Winter Farm Market, D&R Greenway Land Trust

Last of the Cranberries from the Pine Barrens, Indoor Winter Farm Market at D&R Greenway Land Trust

Last of the Cranberries from the Pine Barrens, Indoor Winter Farm Market at D&R Greenway Land Trust

Kale Cascade Farm Market DRG Jan 2015

KALE!

Jerry and his rare Cheeses, Indoor Winter Farm Market, D&R Greenway Land Trust

Jerry and his rare Cheeses, Indoor Winter Farm Market, D&R Greenway Land Trust

Jams by Kim, Indoor Winter Farm Market, D&R Greenway Land Trust

Jams by Kim, Indoor Winter Farm Market, D&R Greenway Land Trust

"I say it's Spinach!" - Indoor Winter Farm Market, D&R Greenway Land Trust

“I say it’s Spinach!” – Indoor Winter Farm Market, D&R Greenway Land Trust

Honey and Beeswax, Indoor Winter Farm Market, D&R Greenway Land Trust

Honey and Beeswax, Indoor Winter Farm Market, D&R Greenway Land Trust

Handmade Soap, Indoor Winter Farm Market, D&R Greenway

Handmade Soap, Indoor Winter Farm Market, D&R Greenway

Grass-fed Meats, Indoor Winter Farm Market, D&R Greenway Land Trust

Grass-fed Meats, Indoor Winter Farm Market, D&R Greenway Land Trust

Vibrant Greens, Indoor Winter Farm Market, D&R Greenway

Vibrant Greens, Indoor Winter Farm Market, D&R Greenway

This is only a sampling, taken at random, with delight, for the January Farm Market.  Did you think foods this alive were available in the heart of winter?  February 14 is Saturday – no better gift for a Valentine than live healthy local foods.  March 1, Slow Food Central Jersey and West Windsor Farm Market folks will bring you these splendors at Tre Piani, Forrestal Village — owned and chefed by Jim Weaver, founder of Slow Food Central Jersey.  March 14 will bring these treasures back to D&R Greenway.

When we save land, as we’ve been doing since 1989, one of our major purpose is to make healthy lifestyles more available and more appealing.

Come to our restored barn, where animals and vegetables fed the family of “The General”, Robert Wood Johnson, while they lived at Morven.  See the magnificent art on our walls, and buy masterpieces for you home.  A percentage of the purchase price supports our preservation and stewardship.  Sign up for our programs on nature, on science, on native plants, on the Raritan River — weave yourself into the health, beauty and sustainability of our region!

And feast, for weeks afterwards, on foods for which city dwellers would ‘give their eye teeth’!  Bobolink Dairy, Cherry Grove Farm, Terhune Orchards, are only a few of the vendors who fill all the art galleries of our barn for these country events.

Besides, It’s Fun!