BY LATE AUGUST IT ALWAYS FEELS LIKE I AM CHASING SUMMER’S END, wishing for the prolonged hours of summer daylight and mourning the darkening dawns as we move towards falls’ shorter days. There are still bright spots of color in the garden, the canning of summer fruit, anticipating the bounties from my vegetable garden, and the joys of more travel to look forward to.

Seems like I barely settled in from our return from Glacier NP and September has arrived! We returned home from GNP on August 27th and the days after our return were spent canning peaches with one of my daughters and then preparing for our 19th Annual Farewell to Summer party that happens the day before Labor Day.

On our way home from Montana we stopped at two fruit stands at Thorp, just west of Ellensburg (WA) where I bought twenty-four pounds of peaches for $7.50! (Last year I bought very large nectarines for the same price.) Noel and I canned seventeen pints of peaches and I put up another five pints of brandied peaches and four saucy half-pints of what I am calling ice cream peaches. I also bought some Ginger Gold apples (a happy result of hurricane Camille). To me they taste like the best Golden Delicious I could imagine. Very tart, refreshing taste and a good bite.

Time for a little celebration of what is happening in the garden now. Most of the showiest flowers in the garden have shed their pretty petals and the vegetable garden and changing leaves get to shine.

How about celebrating the first bowl of tomatoes picked yesterday?

New Mexico/Anaheim type chile peppers.

The heavily fruited espaliered apple; Akane and Spartan varieties. They are ripening nicely and ready to pick. Unfortunately many of the top tier apples (Akane) are infested with the apple maggots. They are crisp and tart with a sweet note. Last year the apples were few in number, mostly due, I think to the weather at bloom time, which was cold and rainy–and bees aren’t in the mood to do their job the rain and cold. This year we had lovely weather for more than a week when the apple tree blossomed-hurray!

The Spartan apples, larger than the Akane variety.

A buttercup squash from seed that was probably ten years old. I ended up with two plants that are roaming freely through  the garden.

I picked this head of Umpqua broccoli last week.

The blossom of eggplant Orient Express and the long, slender fruit below.

Perfect and near perfect Golden Ball turnips. Sweet and tasty!

I think this sunflower (helianthus annus) is Red Sun.

The savoy cabbage is growing nicely with a head of chicory ‘Galia’ peeking out from behind. Last summer I let a head of ‘Galia’ go to seed and this past spring and summer volunteers have sprouted and I have replanted them throughout the vegetable garden. Lazy gardening.

I love this tangle of squash vines. (Little chicory starts in the background.)

Nothing gives a sunny farewell to the end of summer like a sunflower.