The growling of thunder in the distance and the buildup of purple and blue storm clouds on the distant horizon are warning us of yet another late summer rainstorm. Hopefully, it won’t bring any hail. Once again, hail has been the bane of my existence all summer. Miss Maggie, my little Sheltie dog, does NOT like hailstorms and is begging to come inside. I’ll let her in and she’ll make a run for my bed where she will snuggle up on the pillows and bark at the thunder. It can’t ‘get her’ while she’s safe in the house!
September is one of my favorite months. It is a little cooler than July and August, when the thermometer was well over 100° for days on end and it was a struggle to keep enough water on the garden even with the deep mulch layer.
Bright eyed little ones are ‘off to school’, some for the first time. Some are new and wondering if they can ‘find a friend’ and others are looking forward to seeing the old friends they haven’t seen all summer.
A rainy day gives me a chance to work inside for a while. I have a couple of closets that need organized. I take everything out of the closet, wipe down the walls and shelves and then sort out what to keep and what to give away or toss. I will pack away some of the items in clear plastic storage boxes to set back on the shelves with the things I’ll wear next summer. Some will be set aside to be recycled into cleaning rags.  Not much point in paying good money for new cleaning rags when I have old clothing that will serve the same purpose. That old t-shirt I ripped while cleaning the chicken house can be used to mop the floor, and the money I save can be used somewhere else in the budget. If something I’m tossing has buttons, I’m like my grandmother – I save them! I have several old canning jars full of assorted buttons, and they make a colorful addition to the family room right now. But if I need a button, I know where to find one!
After closets are cleaned and set to rights, I begin on the dresser drawers and repeat the same sorting process as I did for the closet –this to keep, that to toss.  As I work, I’m reminded of how blessed I am to have so much. 
As a child growing up, I remember the times when we had just three of everything.  Three dresses – two for school and one for Sunday church. Three sets of undergarments – one for on, one for off (in the wash) and one in the drawer and we were lucky to have that much, as some had even less. Some of us had just one pair of shoes per year. Cardboard soles were the norm for many and those would last just a day or two. Socks were darned (patched) as they were ‘hard to come by’ for many families. As I said, we are very blessed!
Back then, there was no such thing as a thrift store or second hand clothing shop, and the concept of a yard sale hadn’t been created yet. Sometimes one would get things handed down from cousin to cousin, or older child to younger, but there was no ‘shopping the yard sales for school clothes’ when money was tight. Some of the mothers were talented enough to re-make a large garment to fit a smaller child. Everything from school dresses to coats were ‘remodeled’. In big families, some items were revamped more than once!
As I line the cleaned dresser drawers with last week’s newspapers, I spot many ads for bushels of sweet corn, green beans, tomatoes and cucumbers that are available for canning at farmer’s markets right now. Later on there will be the announcements of boxes of squash, onions, potatoes, and all types of fall apples.
September is a good time to make up several batches of apple butter. I’ll put some in pint jars for table and baking use and more into smaller jars for my gift giving and Christmas baskets.
The rain has ceased with nothing more than the loud bangs of thunder that rattle Miss Maggie’s nerves; the land has had a much-needed drink of water, and thankfully, there was no hail this time. There is a cool breeze blowing and it’s time for me to take a stroll to the chicken house for fresh feed and a quick check for late eggs. I’ll also take a stroll by the garden to see how many tomatoes I’ll get to pick tomorrow, and figure out something for the evening meal.
Tomorrow is another day and will be spent outside for the most part. I have perennials that need dividing. Where to put them is the next question, and the garden needs attention. I have parsley that needs clipped again for drying as well as the basil and oregano. (Methinks the dehydrator needs to come off the pantry shelf and put to work again.)
May your ‘fall’ be fruitful and fun! 

–Until next time, Paula


Paula Vogelgesang, the author of the monthly column "Pennywise", is a monthly contributor to the Farm And Livestock Directory. Email her at [email protected]Please be sure to mention the "Farm And Livestock Directory" when you respond.