An Amazing Sunset
There's no denying it. We're in the thick of summer. Everywhere there is evidence of a long lost spring and a true, very present summer. The days are long, the sky is a consistent pale blue, and a three-week drought has set itself down at our table. No longer do we worry about our laundry being re-moistened by a sudden or constant rain. Instead we worry that the plants, trapped in hard, cracking soil will bit the dust before we get a chance to water them. Already, we've had to start pumping water from the large pond into the irrigation pond just to keep it from drying up. Working outside also brings the challenges of dealing with the oppressive heat and although heat waves in the mountains are laughable to the Midwest, you can't deny the discomfort of weeding, hoeing, digging, or anything in 93 degree weather. Never have I appreciated a cool breeze like the ones we get here.
Summer is definitely here and the plants let us know. The fantastic and ephemeral Catalpa flower has bloomed and wilted and the sunflowers and dahlias have grown up to our chests and bloomed glorious flowers. Even the bugs let us know. Whereas before, my knowledge of insect seasons consisted of: lots of bugs in summer, not so many in winter, I now know that they come and go, sometimes within a month. Thank god the junebugs have finally subsided so we can cook in a little bit of peace. Of course, now there's the fleet of mosquitoes that buzz lightly near your ear and taking blood samples back to their labs for testing. Moths are in full swing, forcing me to admit to the advantages of spider webs. But it's the lightening bugs that really steal the show, briefly mirroring the overwhelming stars overhead with their unnamed constellations. All of these things are the ingredients for sumer but in the end it's the vegetables that write it out for us. After all, this is a farm.
The greens are out and I can't say I miss them. Carrots, beets, and chard are flourishing and the broccoli is reigning in an abundant crop. Lettuce continues as always and zucchinis and cucumbers are working up to a steady production. The real prize, the tomatoes, are getting very close with just a few cherry tomatoes so far. Small green peppers are making an appearance too. Oh and dear goodness, the fruit share continues to bless us with unbelievable deliciousness- blackberries, blueberries, peaches, and nectarines.
We've harvested so much garlic that my wrist is sore and there is more to come. Both barns are filled with hanging garlic that brushes over our heads and gives off the aroma of one massive stir fry.
Yes, it's summer, what the farmers anticipate in the slow winter months, fret over during the spring, and celebrate in the fall. And although we don't have the heat waves of the Northeast or the humidity of the South, we have a million other ways to know that we're in the season of sunshine and sunflowers. Never have I known these few months like I do now. Nor have I appreciated bug spray and a jump in the pond after a long day at work.
I apprenticed on a farm in southwest Virginia from April-October 2010. This blog contains all the anecdotes and observations from that adventure.
See more of my photos here