You really don’t miss the water until the well runs dry. Thankfully, I am only speaking metaphorically. Now that we have experienced a few frosts I miss all the vibrant colors of the fall gardens. Alyssum, petunias, bacopas, and even geraniums are still blooming like crazy. I think I’ll use more of the aforementioned next year in window boxes. I have had bacopa blooming at Christmas. It looks great spilling out of a green holiday arrangement.

I need to be more careful about one of my character traits. I tend to be smug when I think I’ve mastered nature in some small way. I planted an entire hoophouse with tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants. I was eating them all after the first freeze long past the good quality of the outdoor plantings. A tiny hole at one end of the structure allowed frost to creep in and kill one whole side of plantings. After a few moments of “why me?” I yanked them all up and replanted with some collard and spinach seedlings that were kicking around in the big garden.

Last year around this time I pulled all the celeriac and stored it in damp sand in the back, unheated room. I used some in the early part of winter but was not pleased with the results. This year I am harvesting several at a time, boiling it with some chicken and vegetable stock, pureeing with the hand-held blender and popping it into the freezer. The puree is an excellent addition to any soup, sauce, or bean dish. The flavor is great, almost super celery, if you will.

I have the worst luck with appliances. Shouldn’t they last a couple of decades? One of my two chest freezers died last week. I am forever grateful I noticed it in time. It contained several chickens and an entire pig. There was some scrambling getting everything right. I’ve replaced washers, refrigerators, and hot water heaters within the last year. Is this called planned obsolescence? A good freezer is a must for any serious vegetable gardener. I love to process food in jars but some things, like peas, zucchini, eggplant and basil, retain better quality in the freezer. I double bag everything to prevent freezerburn.

Please indulge me an interesting segue concerning freezers. Lynn Tuck’s family suffered the loss of a cottage from a fire last week. She mentioned that a great number of books did not burn but were water damaged. Her archaeologist friend suggested putting them in the freezer to freeze dry them. Now her freezer is full of books. Who knew? I’ve tried to dry books one page at a time unsuccessfully.

A word to the wise about gardening and fires, those beautiful ornamental grasses will go up like torches so they are not a good choice for foundation planting.

I took apart some window boxes. They had some ornamental hot peppers and Bright Lights swiss chard. I planted the chard in my greenhouse. I hated to compost something that not only still looked great but was edible. Even though chard is not a favorite I can sauté it with plenty of garlic and toss it on pasta. I never met a pasta I didn’t like.

I’m completely sick of politics, you lucky reader! Between the Herman Cain scandals and the vote on “personhood” in Mississippi, I feel ill-equipped to comment. Do I live in an alternate universe?

Ellen Tatreau at the First Baptist Church jogged my memory this week. She mentioned the red poppy of Flanders Field. Since this is Veterans Day (we called it Armistice Day growing up) I thought I could use my last few paragraphs to thank everyone who served our country so selflessly. Too bad that the name of World War I, “the war to end all wars,” didn’t stick.