Fall’s Gentle Beginnings
A pair of eagles has been visiting the old cherry trees by the farmhouse at the Griffin Farm this week, filling the early morning air with calls that sound like tinkling glass—gentle sounds for such majestic birds. Perhaps they are the offspring of the pair who nest perennially near the river between Fields 10 and 11.
Silver mist lies upon the lowlands until the sun’s rays are strong enough to burn it into thin air, and as one more glorious day of sunshine unfolds, harvest crews remove the heavy layers donned at daybreak. Clear skies now can bring nighttime temperatures into the low forties and even the thirties—meaning that it’s only a matter of time before we see first frost. The transition into cooler weather can be tricky; all eyes are on the forecasts and we are watching the plants carefully to see what to harvest and what to hold.
Kales, collards and spinach can take a chill—in fact, their flavors intensify with a light frost as plant carbohydrates turn to sugars. Carrots and beets will also sweeten, but lettuce and other tender greens will want to be harvested or protected with row cover (low tunnel hoops shown above) before low temperatures hit. As potato harvest approaches, all hands are on deck to wash the hundreds of field bins needed to bring them in.
The last of the melons and summer squash will be harvested this week, while peppers and cucumbers still have a week or so to go. Next to the barn, our herb and flower garden embraces the color of the changing of the seasons (amaranth and cut flowers below). Behind the barn, Griffin Creek meanders lazily, but when mid-October rains rush the banks and cloud the waters with silt, we’ll be looking for the salmon to return once again.
Autumn evokes poignant thought and memory: and each ending holds a beginning. As T.S. Eliot put it in his beautiful poem East Coker, – “still and still moving…the pattern is new in every moment.”