FRUITS OF LATE AUTUMN

Still no rain. None in the forecast. Dust, not mud. Stiff upper lip - we just have to carry on enjoying autumn. The cheese shop has baskets of persimmons brought in from Meryl's tree. She has the fuyu variety - the less astringent kind which you can eat like an apple when it's still firm, slice into salads when it's a little riper, or leave to soften if you fancy persimmon pudding.

If you have a persimmon tree, you will be giving them away by the boxful. They will ripen off the tree

These ones in the kitchen look almost ripe - if you can pull the calyx out easily, they are ready to eat, and you can spoon the flesh out from the skin. I don't know what the cook has planned for these. Like quince, fuyu persimmon will work well with meat, too

Quince grows well in Pescadero and there are several trees in town, enough quince for everybody. Bring the windfall quinces inside for their glorious scent

Litter of pink and yellow leaves under the different-colored plum trees in the secret garden

Deer have eaten all the apple leaves in reach. We plan to lease some of the garden - the old restaurant vegetable garden on the way into the secret garden - and will have to fence to keep the deer away from luscious crops

Still no rain, but an excellent crop of flower seeds. We save our sunflowers, nigella, cosmos, cleome and tithonia

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