Springing headlong into ‘false fall’


Ann Kuehn - Contributing columnist



Southwestern Ohio is more than familiar with a “false spring” when in mid-February, a warm spell causes everything to bud, only to be frozen stiff a few days later.

But a “false fall”? Not your normal occurrence, until these past few weeks.

It has been just plain cold for September; lows in the 40s and highs struggling to hit the mid 60s. Meanwhile begonias continue to bloom their heads off; Ky. Wonders are still producing; and only an occasional colored leaf flutters to the ground.

True to form, we can expect high temperatures in the next week or so, until the real bottom falls out.

Driving to Waynesville yesterday, we noticed that both corn and beans have a lot of drying out before combining. Due to the wet spring everything was late being planted, but my Sabina Farmers Exchange experience taught me that farmers will wait as long as possible to lessen drying fees.

No longer in that environment, I have no idea of commodity prices, but with the Ukraine/Russia debacle, Clinton County can hope for good yields.

Fall coincides with a burst of energy which will not recur until May. I am sick of gardening and praying for the first hard frost when I can turn my attention to other things, such as cleaning out the garage in order to make room for outside stuff to be moved inside.

Each year is more problematic as I tend to accumulate. Garage cleaning begins with backing out the car, which fortunately small, still needs to be able to fit.

There are two plastic racks across the back along with a filing cabinet. There needs to be enough space between the two to fit in plastic folding chairs.

The top of the filing cabinet must remain clear to dry out shoes, hold my son’s dog’s water dish and pig ears, and a small carton of bottled water that I don’t even drink — the things we do for others.

One garage wall is devoted to flowers drying on peg boards, plus a rather unsatisfactory strip to hold gardening tools.

Then there is the indispensable wagon shoved next to the garbage can, shoved next to the hose’s carton, shoved next to a vintage drying rack to display dried flowers if I ever get around to selling them, shoved next to a small step ladder, shoved next to a wheeled shopping cart destined for the days when I need to Kroger via public transportation.

The other side of the garage wall holds the Ky. Wonder bean racks, two tall iron planters, and a cast iron ornamental planter.

The first order of business will be organizing the racks to cram in various sizes of clay pots; spray paint cans; toolbox; Xmas wreath; bags of dried acorns, hazelnuts, pine cones; outdoor rugs (although that is just a switch from summer to winter); cast iron foot wiper; saved garden seeds (if anyone wants Zinnias, Marigolds, Nasturtiums, please call); insecticide; fertilizer; various balls of twine; buckets; cords; blower; chair cushions; and all other accouterments needed to maintain a house and yard (albeit both small).

Saturday was a glorious day to take a long walk then watch The Ohio State University knock the socks off Rutgers — and how about that kicker’s 2-pointer!

For years we had great seats, tailgating with friends. Now, contemplating that climb, walking miles to the car, fighting traffic just to get out of Columbus, is unthinkable. The game is better seen from the comfort of the living room, but there is no crowd like as OSU crowd, and I miss watching “The Best Damn Band in the Land.” Who cares what the rest of the football world is doing?

In honor of the day, I made Skyline. Despite the thrill of OSU football, I am a Cincinnati person, having lived there most of my adult life. That may change if I live long enough.

Cincinnati is a city divided and the east and west sides rarely mix, other than saying “Please?” if you don’t understand a question, and an unhealthy obsession with Catholic high school football, and Skyline — an acquired taste at most.

Skyline kept their business close to the chest. The recipe was as guarded as the Crown Jewels, and Skyline was available only at their restaurants. I don’t know how or why that changed, but decades ago I had a cancer patient who devised the recipe down to the last pinch of cloves.

But back to the garage and the weather. I have now wasted enough time writing this that it is way too late to tackle the garage.

Maybe next week.

As for the weather, after viewing the Ft. Meyers aftermath, how lucky are we to live in good old boring Ohio, where the occasional variable is a “false fall.”

Ann Kuehn resides at Ohio Living Cape May in Wilmington. She says, “I gravitated to Ohio at age 18 and never left” and moved to Sabina in 1987.

Ann Kuehn

Contributing columnist