Farmer plodded through Sunday morning paperwork. Rain drops wetted the sandbox outside. Navy clouds hung in a sunny sky throughout the afternoon and sprinkled on his opportunity to bale wheat straw.
So no baling happened. Instead, he replaced the alternator on the combine and wrestled with another hydraulic cylinder. Princess and I dug, washed and bagged carrots. It was cold when I closed the chickens up for the night, but still overcast. I didn’t see stars until I laid on my back, gazing out the north bedroom window.
“Frost,” I said.
Farmer asked whether I’d set up the sprinkler. That might help, I agreed.
When he woke for work Monday morning he announced: zero and frost on his windshield. I turned on the sprinkler and went out to feed chickens: the morning of first frost.
Something is changing in me because this frost I’m not frantically harvesting pepper and tomatoes. I’d picked all turning tomatoes a few days before but left everything green. Hundreds of pounds of them. Still, no panic, and the hose in the south garden was frozen already so only tomatoes, peppers and zucchini against the house got sprinkled. So what.
Don’t I care? It’s green tomato relish and ketchup on our shelves this year. And no cucumbers.
This is the earliest frost for us in years too. It’s usually October when a killing frost hits my garden but again, what surprises me is the absence of drama here.
“It’s that time of year,” is how I was going to begin this column. That time of year when, if you look up when you hear the sound, you’ll see one or two helicopters dangling ropes and hockey bag sized packages that fall on the fields.
It’s not Santa’s elves, but seismic crews who’ve been working feverishly behind harvesting farmers, staking out and drilling the land to see what’s under it. Black gold?
They’ll drop a fair bit of coin and farmers will gladly take what they can get because they’ll need it in their fight to keep farming.
Farmers aren’t generally alarmed that their numbers are shrinking or that foreign ownership of farmland is growing while family farms disappear. They’re too busy working, fighting to survive. Nobody seems really alarmed here, but American embassies worldwide are being stormed in response to an ugly video that went viral, attacking a major religion. Another oil war? This concerns me.