November is the real transition into winter. This year the transition has been slow, with temperatures slightly higher than average. But the change is happening. The decent, crisp days in the beginning of November will start to turn chilly around mid-month, and then gradually turn cooler by December first. The trees began their transition from starting to shed their leaves in October to becoming a skeleton of sticks by the end of November. The atmosphere is transitioning from a bustling time when both humans and critters are getting their food stores built up for winter, to the calm and quiet days of December.

In November, when the leaves are blowing across our yards and into the streets, we close out the gardening season. As we rake (or blow) piles of leaves from our lawns, we experience the feeling of what fall entails. If you have a garden, there are a few things you should be doing during November. Cover your garden with compost to protect it from rain, which can leach the nutrients out of the soil. And keep on weeding as long as there are weeds. Remember to keep watering your trees and shrubs until the ground freezes. November is also a good time to clean, sharpen and oil your garden tools before you put them away for the winter.

As the glory of early fall fades into November, there is nonetheless a building euphoria over the coming holiday season. Thanksgiving is very late in the month this year, which increases the sense of anticipation. We start to look forward to spending Thanksgiving with family and friends, of eating and enjoying ourselves, and of being thankful for all that we have. As you wrap up your garden and bid the warmer weather farewell, the holiday will be the perfect time to be thankful for all of the lessons you’ve learned from the great outdoors and to begin anticipating the passage of winter into another glorious spring.