Fall Fields October 27, 2014
The majority of the hills surrounding the farm are still covered in the golden yellow dry grass from the summer. Beneath the matted layer of grass the soil is moist and the next year’s grass seeds have started the process of replacing the last generation of grass. Around oak trees, where the deer have stomped down the old grass and next to dirt roads where truck tires have made trails of bare dirt, the bright green color of the new grass can be seen. It will not be long before the lush greenery covers all of the hills. On our farm, the change in the hills from golden to green is the blanket of white snow that represents winter in other areas.
The grape vines are holding onto their leaves, but barely. The leaves are the color of autumn and the next good wind will take these leaves from the grapes leaving bare, naked vines winding around the trellis wires. As soon as this wind undresses the grapes we will be ready to start the process of pruning the old vines off and shaping the plant for next year’s production.
My favorite fall visual from our farm is the bird’s eye view of the stone fruit orchard. Our orchard has about twenty different varieties of trees, each variety takes up about two rows of the orchard. Each variety of stone fruit adjusts to the fall process of loosing their leaves slightly differently. Some of the trees get redder, others more golden, some hold onto their leaves for longer while others litter the rows with their leaves sooner. The result of all these traits next to each other is a rainbow of colors and textures surrounded by the background of damp golden hills, rising into blue skies that are dotted with puffy, fall clouds.
In the midst of all the changes the fall plantings are being harvested. The field of chards and kale is full and this is the new home for many of the crew’s work day. The mixed vegetable patch of bok choy, broccoli, arugula, radishes, fennel and cabbage are in full production. Scattered along the edges of these fields are the brown plastic reusable crates that house the freshly picked greens.
Beyond these fields is the beginning of next year’s summer crops. The hum of the diesel motors of the tractors working these fields carry in the damp fall air and can be heard from all parts of the farm. In some of the fields beds are being pulled up for next years tomatoes, in other fields the fall crop is being disked back into the earth. We are working to turn all the bare ground into bedded fields for the spring and summer – it will not be long until consistent rains set in, leaving the ground saturated with water and too wet to work with the tractors.
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