After more than a week of lovely, cool, fall-like weather, we are back into the heat. I’m not a good sport over 70 degrees. I guess it’s my mountain upbringing. I have no business complaining. The weather has made challenging conditions worldwide and we’ve certainly been fortunate of late.

I saw a pumpkin on a front stoop on Monday. Talk about getting a jump on the season.

Speaking of pumpkins, I have three good-sized ones of the Connecticut field variety that are just starting to turn orange. It’s actually a pleasant surprise since the heinous squash bug took out my Hubbard squashes early in the season. The pumpkins usually fall prey to the pest as well. Butternut seems to have some sort of immunity, thankfully.

I did pull the rest of the summer squashes and found the patty pan variety seems to have an unappetizing skin. It was a bit hard. Just as I was ready to toss them into the chicken bucket, I spotted the brand-new carrot peeler. Voila! They were delicious.

My plant markers faded so I lost track of the Jimmy Nardello sweet peppers and their hot cousin, ancho. They are similar in shape. I’m not a fan of a raw hot pepper so am hoping I can figure it out.

I picked the almost-dry Jacob’s cattle beans. I finished drying them in the new dehydrator.

I noticed some lettuce seedlings just germinating in the neglected area where the spring lettuce had been in its younger days. A few dried-out plants went to seed, reproduced and magically prevented me from calling myself a loser. Nature is, indeed, grand and very forgiving.

Some of the annuals in the flower beds have seen better days. I yanked out bachelor buttons and cosmos. Now there are some empty holes.

Last year I bought some four-inch pots of fall asters for window boxes. They came back this spring and are about two-feet tall. They are loaded with buds.

I also splurged and bought a couple of a variegated Joe Pye weed called eupatorium pink frost. It is the star of the late-summer garden. It’s three-feet tall and quite big around, topped with deep pink flowers. I’m now on the search for more. It doesn’t seem to be bothered by pests and can take neglect. It gets plenty of that.

I finally put the baby chicks into their outdoor pen. They had worn out their welcome in the house. I know why they are called chickens. They were afraid to step foot on the grass. I tried to force them and they ran for cover in the shelter.

Vladimir Putin has a new best friend, Kim Jong Un. The North Korean dictator is hopping aboard his heavily-armored train and headed to Russia.

Putin wants some weapons from him for his ill-advised war with Ukraine.

Given last month’s news of the untimely death of Yevgeny Prigozhin, the Wagner military company’s leader, my advice to Kim Jong-Un is: bring along your food taster.