When I was a child, the end of summer was easily marked by the day before school started. We knew that date far in advance and so prepared for it.
For farmers, the end of summer is marked by the first frost – this changes everything for us. Our first frost is predicted for this week. Knowing this I find myself lingering outside a little bit longer, noticing the colors and the shadows; holding on to the warmth, not wanting to say good-bye.
I’m also going over our list of herbs, making sure we are well stocked with what we need for the coming year. I’ll cut a little more comfrey, I’ll need to look for plantain growing and of course continue to pick calendula flowers daily.
This summer has been disappointing in many ways. It started late, we had a frost in late May. It was quite rainy and cool through June. This means things got a late start. Calendula didn’t start blooming until just recently. We had a bad hail storm that ripped up our tomatoes and pumpkins. The wet weather made drying our early herbs like lemon balm difficult. Overall, yields are down this summer compared to last year.
Wetness was followed by extreme heat that went into September, giving us the hottest September on record. Overall, yields are down this summer. The heat combined with the hard work of farming left me tired and weak.
I do love fall though. Seeing the harvest and eating from the garden is a great reward for hard work. On one hand, I do welcome the end of summer. It gives me some of my time and energy back. On the other hand, I still find myself just lingering a little longer outside, feeling pulled to the warmth. I ask myself; did I eat enough garden lettuce, have I had seared zucchini for dinner enough times, eaten enough corn on the cob? Have I enjoyed the zinnias enough? Did I really enjoy all that summer offers?
Although I’m ready now for those warming pumpkin soups and curries from the garden, I’ll still miss summer and seeing the purple of lavender and gold of calendula blooming. It will get warmer and we’ll have an Indian summer no doubt, but it will be without the greenery, the flowers and the fresh veggies. But we cannot change the weather or the seasons.
I welcome cooler weather, but will miss the green and seeing the life I brought forth from the ground. And so we enter the darker months. The time for more self reflection and transformation. Time to evaluate what worked and what didn’t work on the farm and how to change it. And time to formulate new skin care products for our customers. How will you spend your winter time?