Around The Farm: Frost, Fallen Leaves, And Fungi

After a stretch of confusingly-warm weather, Fall has landed like a ton of bricks: last night, temperatures were only slightly above freezing. Along with the precipitous drop in temperature, the trees are rapidly shedding their leaves, birds have migrated (goodbye, hummingbirds – see you next year), and even on sunny days, the light has a soft, muted quality that murmurs that Autumn has arrived.

We still have some young cockerels out on pasture, and they’ve been enjoying the many grasshoppers, crickets, and other insects living in the greenery, and fertilizing the ground as they go. Soon, though, they’ll move into a hoop tractor in a different part of the pasture. This morning saw frost in the areas where they had been.

The tulip poplars and maples have been dropping their leaves, assisted by the high winds that accompanied the storms of the previous few days.

This has been an unusually wet start to Fall, and I’m hoping we get a dry spell so that the ground can firm up. With lots of clay soil, the ground becomes treacherously slippery after several days of heavy rain. And I’ve yet to find a farm boot (and I’ve tried many) that can withstand the rigors of typical work here, so am constantly looking for cues that a boot has sprung a leak. I often seem to discover a leak while spraying out water buckets. 🙁

Steam swirls above the water buckets as the rising sun heats them

The fungi have seized the opportunity to fruit in the humid, wet weather, and mushrooms of all colors, sizes, and shapes have sprouted…everywhere. Though I enjoy foraging, I steer clear of the mushrooms because I don’t (yet) possess the knowledge to confidently identify edible ones. Nonetheless, I can – and do – still appreciate their unique beauty.

There’s a calmness to Fall that isn’t present in Summer. It’s as if the intensity of the season has been dialed back, and the searing heat of past months has been replaced by comfortable, if not slightly chilly (and invigorating) temperatures. The biting bugs have mostly disappeared with the cooler weather, too.

This is a time of change, inexorable and unapologetic, as Nature gently and beautifully reminds us.