Although the last few days have certainly felt like summer, we have been getting little tastes of fall around the edges, and the end of the growing season really seems to be approaching.
There are leaves changing color up and down the ridge, we’ve had nighttime temperatures down in the forties, and the ten-day forecast even includes a few nights down in the thirties. Other signs of fall include the greenhouse full of curing root crops, turkeys growing out on pasture for Thanksgiving, and the pullets just starting to lay the first eggs of their lives.
We got a huge rainstorm through this part of Massachusetts Sunday and Monday, with over three inches of rain falling here on the farm.
The rain was so welcome here, and really has the potential to setup the whole rest of the fall growing and grazing season. Ponds in the area have a bit of water back in them, the ground is not too hard to put fence posts in anymore, and the pastures are green and vibrant again. Getting all that rain in a matter of hours was a bit much for such parched ground, but, at this point in a droughty year, we’ll take rain in any form we can get it.
The Student Farmer class of 2016 has graduated and left the farm, and we’re down to a skeleton crew to keep the whole place rolling along as best we can until the next class arrives. Their first day is October 6th, so we’ve got a couple of weeks to hold it together until the cavalry arrives to pitch in. The Maggie’s farmhouse is getting its yearly refurbish, with drywall, paint, plumbing and electrical work going on throughout the building. The farmhouse is more than two hundred years old, heavily used by many many people every day, and it takes some real work to keep it together through the year.
The extended dry summer has given us the opportunity to brush-hog in pastures, corners and roads where we rarely get to go, and we have been able to tame some pretty wild areas of the farm. Surprisingly for a farm stretching along a ridge, we have quite a few spots that are consistently too wet to drive a tractor over, and those spots can end up growing some pretty gnarly stuff without the attention of the brush-hog. Though there are few benefits to long-term dry weather, one silver lining is the manicure we can put on all of those spots usually too swampy to address.