From the Fields - Thaddeus
The air is brisk and refreshing – big breaths let me fill my lungs in a refreshing way. There are millions and millions of leaves on the farm. They are everywhere just not on the trees. The lawn in front of the house is covered in the brown leaves from shade trees. The apricot orchard is littered with a beautiful, yellow carpet of leaves, and the fig orchard has big brown leaves. Between the leaves, our cover crop is beginning to poke through. The oak trees on the hills are mostly naked, but there are pockets here and there that still have rusty brown leaves. I wonder what it is about those trees or that soil or that spot on the hill that makes them different from the rest?
The mandarins and lemons still have their leaves. They always have leaves and if they don’t, then somebody killed them. The leaves are still different. They are a darker green than normal and more sturdy. The largest difference is that there is no new growth. The tender neon green new growth will not be back until the spring. For now, the trees have one mission: stay alive. As frost comes in, we monitor how cold it will get and may choose to turn on the irrigation to warm the orchard up a degree or two, but we really don’t have much control over this part. All the control we had was when we selected the location of the orchard.
Every December, I am struck by the crisp colors of the apricot trees. Their bark is a fresh, new color, a color that has clearly not seen direct sunlight, but was hidden and protected over the summer by leaves. Now, for the first time being, the bright, rusty red color of the branches stands out and shouts the most beautiful fall colors. Beyond them, the hills too are beginning to paint a new picture. The oak trees stand tall and dark, but beneath them, the golden, dry grass is beginning to show the new green of fresh grass.
Our farm is slowing down. It works out well with the holidays. Our most hardy crops like butternut, leeks, carrots and kale are still being harvested, but they are not growing very much. The harvest is tricky. We don’t want to have people working in the rain and mud, so we work around the weather schedule trying to harvest when we can to be sure the cooler has enough product to fill the rainy day orders.
I can’t believe it is already Christmas. The end of the year is knocking at the door. I hope you all enjoy your holiday season, and thank you so much for your support this year.