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Slowing Down the Gears

It feels different in the fields this week. The hot weather and sun of late ripened many green tomatoes and peppers while fending off the coming autumn, but that all changed Monday when a front moved in bringing more appropriate temperatures and much desired rain!

I stood outside in the gentle downpour and watched the ground hungrily suck in the drops while Bill turned our sprinklers off. The relief I felt at the change was palpable. as I realized this would help us shift our focus from summer to fall and the coming winter.

On one hand, I feel a wistfulness for the lushness of summer, but I am ready for a change of season. Outside yesterday I could hear the fall breeze rustle dried leaves as I picked heavy, ripe orange, red, and pink tomatoes and carefully placed them in flat cardboard boxes. Bill and the kids cut down the cucumber trellis strings while the brown and withered squash beds and spent snap bean plants wait to be mowed so aged manure can be applied.

We empty and clean up beds all while nurturing smaller crops of stand-by vegetables like kale, swiss chard, spinach, and hardy lettuces, along with rutabagas, turnips, radishes, carrots, and beets that will thrive in cool night temperatures. We survey our stash of protective row covers, assess needed greenhouse repairs, and ready the packing shed for winter production. We also whittle down the number of livestock that will be wintered over.

And even though our work won't end since we grow year-round, I can feel the gears slowing down. We get in earlier at night with more time for the five of us to hang out. We talk, tell stories, and make plans for winter house projects. We spend more time in the kitchen playing a rambunctious board game at the island while the comforting smell of baking squash fills the house. It feels almost decadent to take this time for our family, but I refuse to feel guilty. Instead I tell myself the time is right to I just enjoy it.

I hope you, too, are finding more time for yourself and loved ones.

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