The leaves came off the last trees — a crabapple, a willow and a hardy Norway maple — during the first week of December this year, surely the latest I can remember seeing leaves on trees since we moved to the Philadelphia area 18 years ago. But it’s not just that.
A rhododendron bush beside the house has huge blooms ready to burst open, the white petal tips pushing out of their scaly looking egg-sized buds. And our garden is still boasting a surprisingly fast-growing crop of chard, sweet kale and perhaps most surprisingly, tall fava bean plants that, while they didn’t produce any beans this year, saute up to make a beautiful doumiao — one of my favorite Chinese vegetable dishes.
On a micro level, it is nice to be able to harvest fresh veggies pest-free from our garden a few days before the new year (and, judging by the 10-day forecast, well into 2016!), thanks to our not having had one below-freezing day yet this fall and winter, and only a few nights when the temperature dipped into the high 20s, not enough to kill hardier vegetables like kale and chard. But viewed through a climate-change lens, this is pretty scary.