There are trees on the ridge just beginning to show the first signs of a change in color, and the start of fall seems to be creeping in here at The Farm School. The clearest sign of the changing seasons is the change in daylight,
and I realized fall must be coming this morning as I clipped a pasture in the dark at 5:30. At the peak of summer, there is enough light to go to work right at 5am, and often those early hours are a vital part of full day of work. Those days are winding down as we move deeper into September, and my thoughts have begun to turn to how to wrap up this season. It seems strange to think of extra hours of work as a luxury, but at the height of the crazy summer production season, the early morning hours are a wonderful opportunity to stay ahead of the workload, and are often the difference between getting it all done, and not.
The dry weather has continued here over the past week, and we watched Hurricane Hermine spinning off of Cape Cod with a bit of longing. Although we would never wish dangerous weather on anyone or on our farm, we certainly could have used some of that rain! The brief period of regular rain that we had in August is a distant memory at this point, and we are back to a world of dusty roads, browning pastures, and irrigation on the veggies. There are fewer new plantings out in the veggie beds, so there is much less urgency in the watering work, but there are still crops that need support to continue growing and producing. That rainy time did produce and moderate bit of growth in the pastures, so our grazers are out there now enjoying what may prove to be the last green grass of the season.
Rumor is that the forest thinning project we’ve been hosting over the past month is about to wrap up, and I am really excited to get in there to see the results. I have been looking into the possibility of generating an accurate map of the logging roads that have been established throughout the forest, and I will be sure to put out a full write up with images as soon as the project is truly completed. Once the loggers leave, the NRCS foresters will be back out to make sure that the work was done within their guidelines, and then hopefully they’ll pay us for the work.
The Visiting Schools program has begun again this week with our first school group of the fall season. The Charles River School seventh and eighth grades are our first compnay of the fall every year, and they always bring a big group of enthusiastic kids to get this place back in action. The fall season is just three months long, and we have plenty of work to get done before winter arrives, so we are always super excited to see big groups of big kids, ready to dig right into the work.
They are out there now helping to finish up the last loads of hay in the dairy barn hay loft, process the dry beans with Bradley, make a final push to get the year’s firewood cut, split and stacked, cook our meals, and keep all the livestock fed and happy.
Next week is the final week for the 2016 class of Maggie’s student farmers, and it certainly is a bittersweet time. Every student is now a vital and effective part of our farm community, and we are so proud of the work and learning that we have done together over the past eleven months. It is truly heartbreaking to see them leave now, with all their skills, their confidence, and their deep knowledge of this farm, but we are also really excited for the impact that they are going to have out in the world, on their own farms,
working for another farmer, or in their communities. It has been a challenging and wonderful year with these great folks, and we have all been honored to work with them.