We received our first heavy frost Monday night, and it is somewhat bittersweet. It has been threatening for a number of days, so I have been gradually gathering things in and preparing. Last Thursday I gathered buckets of Zinnias and Ageratum, and they are still sitting in my kitchen. We have removed the last of the winter squash and pumpkins out of the field, and on Sunday I mowed the field to prepare it for cover crops. I have moved propane heaters into the hoophouses and caterpillar tunnels to protect the tomatoes, peppers, and ginger a bit longer. And in a flurry of activity Monday, Chloe and I covered many cold tolerant crops that are still outside with row cover, to protect them from possible freezing temperatures. At the end of the day, we picked the last few pounds of green beans, which I will probably freeze for myself.
We've been "rescuing" Swallowtail caterpillars from the carrot tops as we are digging them, and moving them to the parsley. They seem cold and slow. A couple of days ago Chloe found a Monarch caterpillar, and took it down to the caterpillar tunnels, but it's probably just a bit too late to be able to make it. As the Monarchs continue to fly past, I've been encouraging them to fly south fast! And so that cycle too, is drawing to an end. (As I'm sitting at my desk, I just glanced up and saw a blackened Monarch chrysalis attached to my downspout!) As the outdoor season draws to an end, I find myself starting to think about things other than farming, as my mind seems to become more expansive: the trip Adrian and I will take in December to visit Jordan, the knitting project that awaits me from last year, the books I want to read, the hikes I would like to take, the cleaning projects that need to be done. And I also begin to think about what I will do differently next season and the planning I want to do. So while it is sad to say goodbye to summer, I am savoring the final vestiges of it, and looking forward to the changes that this shift in seasons brings with it. (Including my wood stove which is now making things quite cozy!)