I’ve decided. In South Dakota, we don’t have seasons. We have Never-Ending Winter which is occasionally interrupted by Hot. No Spring, no Summer, no Fall. Just Winter and Hot.
I’m bitter, you see. Yesterday, I had a beautiful leafy garden with great potential. There were dozens of green tomatoes on the vines. There were five or six plumping melons. Bushels of lovely gourds in every shape, size, and color. And hope of hopes, there were pumpkins. We planted two types: a small type that’s supposed to be good for baking, and a big beautiful kind that is supposed to make fall a more festive season.
We didn’t get any pumpkins at all until August, when one pitiful little pumpkin finally appeared on one of the little pumpkin plants. It wasn’t much, but it was healthy and pleasantly symmetrical. The other pumpkin plants flourished and vined and took over the lawn. Millions of big orange flowers but not even a hint of fruit until last week. Seriously! First week of September we got our first real pumpkin. It was about the size of a chicken egg when the frost killed it this morning, along with everything else (except the carrots, which I don’t even like anyway).
I’m so mad! I feel like there should be an 800 number I can call to complain. “There is nothing in my garden contract about frost in the first week of September! And by the way, what’s up with my dead peas??”
But there isn’t. And I should have known better. It was 45 degrees and raining all day yesterday. I thought about putting a blanket out last night, but none of the forecasts said frost.
(That should have been my first clue. Since when are the forecasts around here EVER right around here?)
What a crappy summer. It was cold and rainy all the way through June, and then suddenly it was record-breaking hot during all of June, July, and August. We paid a million dollars in air conditioning bills and my grass never did get to looking much better than crispy. And now welcome to September – time to freeze again!
I was thinking about this in the car this morning. Here in South Dakota, we spend nine months out of the year in grey, dreary coldness. Naked trees, yellow grass, icy roads. You’d think all these pine trees would give some relief, but if they aren’t covered with snow, they just look black. Summer comes and goes and we hardly have time to get used to it before it’s snowing again. I heard someone say once that the four seasons in South Dakota are Almost Winter, Winter, Still Winter, and Construction. I’m beginning to think they’re right.
Don’t get me wrong. I love snow. The more the merrier (especially if there’s so much I can’t leave the house). All I’m asking for is a little transitional cushion on either side! In the spring, there’s always a late frost that comes in and kills all the budding trees and sets the whole season back a month. Enough of that! Let spring start in April like it deserves! Every fall, there’s snow before the end of September. Okay fine, but can’t we ease into it with some mellow days where the trees are beautiful colors and the wind just a little crisp before the arctic drops down and kills all my vegetables?
I deserve pumpkins.