After a balmy start to autumn, real winter temperatures have finally arrived, as I’m sure you’ve noticed. We spent much of last week racing the early setting sun to prepare for the fast-approaching low temperatures that were forecast for this past Friday.
We dug up the dahlia tubers from the flower garden to store them for next season, planted next year’s garlic, dug up the rosemary and got it into the greenhouse, moved cold-sensitive crops we were storing from the greenhouse into the walk-in root cellar, made sure our irrigation system was prepared for the cold, and lastly, spent Friday bundled in too many clothes either harvesting or covering crops in the raging, frigid wind. (We had a little fun, too.)
A common topic of conversation under the CSA tent is that the seasons go by way too quickly. Spring and autumn are certainly the most fleeting, but autumn actually felt like a little blip this year. Maybe it was my slow recovery from an awful combination of an ear infection and a cold that kept me inside for half of October, or perhaps it was the mild weather? In any case, here we are, now nicely settling into winter. We still have some tasks to tick off on the putting-the-farm-to-bed list, but I’m already flipping through seed catalogs, revisiting my notes from this past season, and planning events for next season.
A long-time farming peer and I have an informal autumnal tradition where one of us says to the other: “thank goddess for fall, or else no one would keep farming.” The other one is supposed to reply “YES!” or “for real!” or “absolutely.” It really is true; the end of the vegetable growing season is in many ways as hopeful and energizing for us farmers as the spring. We still have the momentum of the season propelling us forward, and our successes and failures have already happened. The stress of the heat, of racing the weeds, of staying hydrated, of staffing, of getting plants into the ground, etc. is safely behind us and the next beginning of it all is a ways off. We have a winter of dreaming, problem solving, and resting before us. I often wonder what it would be like to work in a profession that isn’t so seasonal, that doesn’t mark time with such obvious transitions.
I’m looking forward to the approaching winter solstice, and to having time to catch up with friends, cook tons of food, and start hunkering down with our crop plans for 2018. What are you looking forward to?
For those of you who have purchased a winter share, I’m looking forward to seeing you on Saturday at our first pick-up. If you don’t have a winter share but are reading this anyway: I hope that you have a lovely holiday and meal if you gather for Thanksgiving.
With love and gratitude,