Fall’s here

We’ve had many frosts now, including a fairly hard freeze Saturday night that left solid ice on the goat’s water by morning. This has taken care of all summer produce, so that we’re down to fall greens, radishes, and other hardy items. Walking out to the field on clear mornings to milk and tend to goats & geese has been beautiful, as the sun just hits the building colors on the west ridgeline and all the prairie and pasture grasses are tinged with ice crystals. The photo above doesn’t do it justice.

Our maples this year have developed the best colors we’ve seen this side of New England, this one in particular at the corner of our market garden:

In early evening, as the sun has just set and the sky is darkening, this tree almost literally glows with color. Most of our maples are this brilliant, and the oaks are starting to catch up. It’s a thrilling time to walk the woods.

This is definitely the time we feel our seasonal work changing as well. Market harvest now only takes about half a day, and we spend more and more time cleaning up beds and preparing them for winter. Pulling out frost-killed okra, beans, tomatoes, and more. Cleaning up sorghum & corn stalks. Mulching beds and/or seeding winter cover. Collecting irrigation hose and storing it. Each time a bed is finished, there’s a nice sense of finality in knowing we won’t have to touch it again until spring.

We’re getting closer and closer to starting the winter tasks of logging, fence-building, and other infrastructure work. My fingers are itching to get the chainsaw out and start cracking, but we likely won’t start until November. There’s just too much cleanup to do, and until we stop going to market, still not enough time. But we can feel the end of growing season coming, and look forward to the change. And I always look forward to the months when I can work comfortably in long, warm clothing. Fall and winter are my favorite seasons, in Missouri or any other state I’ve lived in.

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