We're back from our trip to South Dakota, where fall is definitely close and it rained nearly every day. Several nights were down in the 40's and we had both the propane and electric heaters running in the camper (good thing, too, as we ran one tank dry in the middle of the night and it would have been quite chilly by morning if that was the only heat source). Our sweaters were out nearly every day, as were rain jackets; neither have seen much use here in TN lately -- rumors are it rained while we were gone, but you can't tell it from the ground in the woods or the garden.
Big trees take a lot of water and the garden sits in full sun. Both seem to be parched, with the heavy clay soil having the basic consistency of baked adobe bricks. The corn here has long since dried up (but hasn't been cut down, as we'll use some of it for fall decoration) and the cucumbers are looking pretty heat blasted. The okra wouldn't look that bad, but a neighbor left a fence open while we were gone and the rabbits have eaten most of the leaves off the plants (they don't like the pods). There are still a few tomatoes (small, from water stress), but the peppers look absolutely great. The plants are not as big as in years past, but the peppers themselves are nearly as numerous and are full size. Most have even been ignored by the 4 legged intruder, so there will be plenty more peppers going into the freezer (sweet) and dryer (hot). Although we seldom use all the hot peppers, the sweet ones disappear each winter, finding their way into various dishes and stews. All the hot peppers left next summer, when new ones are being prepared, will either be ground into a mixed spice blend or marked to use as a hot pepper spray against garden critters the next year, so they seldom go to waste.