The End of Summer


Our much-anticipated summer with the grandchildren has passed. Even though it was a month of full-time entertainment, it seems like they were here for just a fleeting moment.

After spending some time returning our home to its pre-summer condition, it is time to return to the real-time farming life. We’ve got gophers to trap, weeds to hoe and irrigation to manage, among many other tasks. Although we won’t have our first crop until next year, we still have to make sure our vines are given everything they need to develop strong root structure and proper vine architecture.

The leaves on the trees, although it’s only mid-August, are already looking weary. The English walnuts are fully ripened and being feverishly harvested by large grey squirrels, whom Jake is working furiously to keep at bay. The persimmon trees fruited well, and the persimmons are gradually swelling toward their own harvest in a few months. The redbud tree is in full bloom and the late season four o’clock flowers (aka Mirabilis jalapa) are opening reliably every day at around 9:30 a.m.

I find myself dreaming fondly of the beauty of autumn, with the myriad beautiful colors and the snap in the air. I’m anticipating rich stews, hearty bread and lovely fruit pies. Crackling fires and long, cozy nights are looming in my future.

This kind of thinking is as inappropriate in the bright heat of August as open-toe shoes after Labor Day. With crops still ripening, our fellow farmers are counting on more dry, warm days until harvest later in the fall. Next year, which will be the first harvest of our 3.5 acres of Pinot Noir fruit, we’ll be right there with them. I wish all our neighbors the best for a great harvest season.