Monday, October 6, 2008

wrapping up summer

Someone must have told the geese that there was a hard freeze coming tonight. All day, their echoing song carried them southward in glorious Vs. I thought about their destination. I wondered why so many humans decide to stick out the winter up here, as I remembered what swaying palm trees look like and the warm blue-green water of the gulf of mexico. It was cold all day, and a passing storm cloud rained on us for several hours. Cold and wet. Picking beans on our knees.

Glancing up from the fields, though, to gaze at the geese in the dramatic sky, cradled by orange trees shedding their leaves gently into the drifting breezes, I was reminded why October is my favorite month. There's nothing else like it, really.

We harvested lettuce, chard, the last of the green beans, and the last of the (tiny) eggplants.
We spent the afternoon covering all of our remaining crops with frost-cloth.
Dust from months of storage in the barn shook off into my face. We rolled out the giant balls of cloth down the paths, then pulled & stretched them across the rows.
I felt like we were putting the beds to bed. Tucking them in, the sides lined with sandbags against windy gusts. The white cloth reflects the afternoon sun into my face. Now the farm is more ocean-like. Large seas of green rye... (this will not be harmed by the frost). And large seas of white now too. Like in the spring, when we got started here.

After work I picked the rest of the dry beans from my trellis. Most of them were still green, not completely dry. But I will cook these up as "shelling beans"... they will boil just like dry beans, and be even more tender. Black beans, scarlet runner beans, lima beans. Oh, and the last harvest of purple long beans. I picked frantically, the sun setting quickly & the cold creeping in. The clouds had cleared and the crescent moon rose. This means even colder-- it could get down to the 20s.
I wondered what it would be like to watch the frost settle on the leaves. I know in the morning what it looks like. And then when the sun comes out a few hours later, the wilty brown-black that the plants turn. It is a sad thing.

As twilight crept into night, I ran down to the tomato rows, composting themselves in the field, rotten red ornaments hanging on crispy brown vines. There were a few green tomatoes left, I picked a bucket of them, maybe I will preserve them or fry them! Tomatillos, too. I will make a salsa & freeze it probably. I just couldn't bear to see all this summer disappear overnight. So one last bold attempt to squirrell away food for the winter.
I turned the heat on in my house finally.

In other news...
I bought the greenhouse! I now own a 28' by 48' growing castle with a fuel-oil heater. It even came with the tables. Now the task of dissassembling it, trucking it back to Rochester, and reassembling it on some as-yet-undecided piece of property.

I spent last weekend looking at other land options. Nothing definite yet, but good options.

I'll keep you posted.

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