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I feel giddy, as if I were in love for the first time.

I am beguiled by October. Yes, the month of October is a time to celebrate—and feel the flush of Mother Nature’s boundless beauty. I embrace her, crave her, and revel in her. The planet shifts, shadows elongate, high humidity and biting insects depart, and temperatures top out at 70 degrees F— yes I am in love again.

At home, the garden is bursting with colors of fall. As many plants begin their decent into dormancy, others like this ‘Muhlenbergia capillaris’ explode with riotous hue. This is the only pink that I tolerate in my gardens, as this display epitomizes fall in my world — life is intoxicating!

Monarch season was extremely challenging this year, as the oleander aphid ravaged the host plants (tropical milkweed) forcing me to raise most monarch larvae indoors, multiplying my daily chores ten-fold. The monarch’s predatory wasp also took a high toll on the larvae, leaving dozens dead. However, ninety monarch beauties successfully emerged and flew from my terrace over the past month, hopefully to find safe haven in a warm climate, where they may overwinter. Nearly one-hundred others went Fed-Ex to southern states where they will live out their lives in a lush botanic gardens and educate visitors.

The farmer’s market is brimming with large, leafy vegetables, root crops, and loads of pumpkins. Therefore my daily lunch plate is full of steamed kale and red garnet sweet potatoes, splashed with olive oil, sea salt, black pepper and garnished with sliced almonds. Six minutes are all one needs to provide a healthy, farm fresh meal.

Another tasty mid-day meal came from the remaining bit of basil pesto left in the food processor following a massive harvest. I tossed in a peeled avocado, a splash of olive oil, sea salt, black pepper, and a squeeze of fresh lime juice. After a brief spin, the fluffy dip was quickly consumed with crusty crackers.

A third fast meal came from a friend who dropped off assorted tomatoes, eggplant, and squash. I quickly sliced, diced, and cubed the lot, added fresh okra from the garden and voila! a beautiful medley of healthy goodness. A quick saute in olive oil, then covered and steamed until tender, a half tube of tomato paste, seasoned with sea salt and black pepper finished this dish! Topped with grated cheese and toasted breadcrumbs, made this a memorable, quick, healthy meal. Try it!

Remember the Ichi Ke Jiro persimmon blog from this spring? Well, twenty-five fruit formed, despite the July wind storm that claimed half of the tree, and they are amazing. Ever had one? The fruit is unlike native persimmons. One fills my hand, is eaten while hard, and has none of the tannic aftertaste of the native. In fact, this fruit tastes like a firm melon! What I do not eat, will be introduced at market this Saturday and boggle curious shoppers. Looking forward to the dialogue!

PS There is still nothing like a power snack of the hard-boiled egg. I always have some in the fridge, ready to peel when I need a boost. Better to have a snack like this on hand rather than eat a carb or a handful of chocolate!

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Copyright © 2012 by Diane LaSauce All Rights Reserved