I’m sitting on the back veranda this morning, cozy in a flannel shirt and blanket as I watch the sun come up over our farm. Our lamb, Kebab, hears me moving and bleats his disapproval that he’s not allowed to join me up here. I wouldn’t mind his cute little self hanging out with me, but if he thinks it’s OK now, he’ll think it’s OK when he’s a full grown ram and that, luvs, would be pure mayhem.
I can feel harbingers of Autumn on mornings like this, when mist snakes across the fields and sunlight shimmers through leaves starting to crisp and change color. I can see it in my gardens as flowers that wilt in the summer heat come into their full glory, standing tall and straight, their blossoms jeweled with dew drops. I see it in the orchards as our grapes plump and the apples take on rosy hues.
And I feel it in myself as I look forward to packing away sundresses and hauling out my stash of sweaters and scarves and cute boots that make me feel sassy. I’m pining for campfires and creamy Stilton soup and hot apple cider fragrant with star anise, cardamom, and cinnamon.
I’ve set out books on home preserving and cheese-making and ham-curing, ear-marking recipes that sound especially marvelous for making as cold Autumn winds blow. And stacked up other books that I want to read once I finally have my gardens harvested from Summer and planted for Winter.
We’ve got some hot Summer days to come, but it’s fun to dream in the meantime.
I’ve been going out to my gardens every morning at this time, reveling in magical light and the quietness of a world just starting to waken.
I’ve been pulling out spent tomato plants and harvesting chilies, mustard greens, Red Russian kale, rainbow chard, scarlet snake beans, and even asparagus. I’ve never know asparagus to grow as long as it does here, and I love it!
I shuffle through my seed collection over and over again, somehow finding treasures I missed the day before. I’ve dug 15 new small garden plots, bordering them with the rocks I pull out of the soil, and have been planting all sorts of marvelous things: watermelon radishes (they’re fuchsia inside and white outside!), coriander and dill, crimson carrots, purple topped turnips, yellow and striped beetroot, more kale, mustard greens, and Swiss chard, red cabbages and Brussels sprouts, leeks and garlic chives, and tomatoes, bell peppers, chilies, and cucumbers to winter over in my greenhouse.
Soon it will be butchering time on our farm as we fill our freezers with good meat for Autumn and Winter, and make room in our paddocks and pens for all the baby goats, ducks, and chickens born this year. We also hope to get turkeys within the next few weeks, a couple more lambs, two hives of bees, and, if we’re lucky, a pig or two.
Until then Bear and I will continue to work steadily building pens, mending fences, covering our orchards and vineyard, adding a new water tank, bottling the apple and plum wines we made this summer, and planning little adventures so we don’t get too tired and run down.
Now it’s time to put my hair up, find my hat, start up the tractor, and get to work. xo