Fall is in the Air at Billy’s

09 Sep

Despite enduring another hot-dry summer in Atlanta, I’ll admit when the earth turns away from the sun I begin to get sad.The summer passed too fast. “Those people” who said, “the older you get, the faster time passes,” were right!

This has been a busy week. I had planned to finish proofing the manuscript for my next book titled: Stress-free Marketing: Practical Advice for the Newly Published Author, but you know what they say about plans.  I was deeply focused when the telephone rang.

“I’ve picked six bucket of figs. Do you think you can put them up?”

Figs, lots and lots of figs !

I knew this call was coming which was why I posted a Facebook announcement, practically begging people to go to Billy’s and buy figs (pears too). But alas, no one came.

Reluctantly, and I do mean very reluctantly, I stepped away from editing, packed my car with jars, posted an SOS on Facebook that said, “If you want pears (or figs), come to Billy’s.” Fortunately, Jennifer Carver responded. I’ll blog about her adventure later.

“Canning” figs after a rain is a difficult process. Figs must be harvested within  a few hours after the rain or they begin to sour on the vine. Add to this a higher water content and you have a recipe for a long, hard day hovering over a steaming pot of figs praying for them to thicken.

Eventually, I ran out of time (6 hours later) and had to settle for figs that weren’t as thick as I would have liked. Fig “preserves” at Billy’s do not “set-up” like typical jam. We use no preservatives: instead equal parts sugar/figs with a squeeze of lemon juice to add a bit of acid, is all we use. Because of this preservative-free process, once the jar has been opened it is best to consume it all or keep it in the refrigerate and use in a few days.

Additionally, my kitchen table is adorned with beautiful peaches from the Grier Orchard. The last of the peaches to be exact.

Last Saturday, I drove an hour and a half (one way) to get “the last” of the peaches. It was worth every dollar in gas and second of my time. I will not convert these peaches to jam. Instead, I enjoy two delicious each morning while silently mourning the dwindling amount.

This is why the fall season hurts me. Trees become naked. Local fresh fruit: non-existent. Truly, I believe it is the lack of fresh fruits and vegies in the winter that make us feel so badly. That and (I’ve discovered) the older I get, the more I need to be warmed by the sun.

But there’s hope. Praise God I have some late beans coming along. I’ve also convinced a couple of cucumber vines to grow. I’ve done this by keeping them protected with large jars until the vines begin reaching for something to climb. I’ve also planted them in a container. My prayer is that once they bloom and begin to produce tiny cukes, I can trick them into living indoors.

I know, I know, but please humor me. Soon I’ll be in denial. I also have a tomato plant I’m hoping to move indoors as well.

Are you planning to grow vegies indoors? Are you hoping to extend the growing season? Do you have any ideas to share?

Renea Winchester is the award-winning author of In the Garden with Billy: Lessons About Life, Love & Tomatoes. She may be reached at


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