Apparently when the seasons change in the Pacific Northwest, they change fast. A couple days ago I was pulling weeds in a tank top and shading my eyes from the glaring sun. Today I sit here typing this (as I wait for members to pick up boxes), and I’m wearing full on winter regalia. Or at least winter regalia as it was known to my former SoCal self. This “brisk” autumn day reminds of me of deep December in San Diego. I knew that I would be in for it after complaining about the copious sunshine this summer, but I didn’t think late September would bring winter already! My new life as a farmer has made me more aware of the seasons than ever before. Obviously seasons matter greatly for the plants (soil temperature, daylight hours, heat units…all things I’m struggling to learn about!), but just being outside every single day has made me so much more in tune to the environment around me.
I have noticed a real change in wildlife, especially the birds. Early in the spring we had daily sightings of bald eagles, to the point that I was almost unimpressed with the one that flew over my head with a fish. Then we had gaggles of Canadian geese honking as they landed in the nearby cornfield. For a few weeks we had hundreds of barn swallows trying to make nests in really inconvenient places, like our awnings and storage spaces. Nowadays I don’t see or hear much from our feathered friends, except of course for Homer and Marge, the homing pigeons that still visit daily for their grain smorgasbord. The rabbit population has dropped dramatically, much to Zephyr’s dismay. The coyotes are seemingly more active, vocal, and closer in range as the days get shorter. I only hope there are enough rabbits to keep them occupied and away from our chickens throughout the winter.
October is gearing up to be a crazy place around here, thanks to our great neighbors at Bob’s Corn. They have everything all decked out and ready for the hoards that descend for the corn maze, pumpkin patch, squash harvest, hot cider donuts, roasted sweet corn, BBQ, etc. etc, ad infinitum. Of course all of that people-wrangling involves lots of employees, so Andrew and I have signed on to manage a hay wagon Saturday nights and Sunday afternoons. Our first shift was this weekend, and it was a cold, wet, windy mess. We had a great time ushering the few diehard corn maze trompers back and forth on the hay wagon, and we sipped hot cider while drying off in the country store every hour or so. The Bob’s Corn Crew is a lively, ragtag bunch and we are excited to spend some more time getting to know everyone. Not to mention we are earning a little extra spending money for our Australian excursion!
The change in season also marks the beginning of the end for our CSA. We have five short weeks left for box pick-up, and we are both sad and relieved that the end is in sight. It has been a tremendous learning experience for us both, and our newfound knowledge will surely make next year even more successful. On the other hand, we are feeling pretty fatigued and more than a little burnt out from the nonstop pace. The slow winter days with minimal chores will be a relief, and our trip to Australia is shining like a beacon on the other end of that grey, wet, cold tunnel ahead. Maybe instead of pining away for the summer that seemingly vanished just like that, I will greet the coming fall and winter with open arms, ready for what new adventures await. Now if only we had a hot shower hooked up!