June 20, 2016

Velvet Antlers of Summer


Our farm has very telling signs of the season. It is interesting to note how easy they are to forget, but the first sight of a new season is so obvious. The turkeys by the farm’s creek have settled down. Gobbles in the evening and morning are no longer heard, and the presence of male turkeys with their tail feathers out for display is no longer part of an every-day farm experience.

Now a new set of season signs has arrived to remind us that summer is officially here. The hills behind the farm have dried into a golden yellow that will stay through the summer, and their oak trees stand tall with leaves that have lost their bright green spring look, but now stand with a deep, dark green that will endure the sun until the fall.

By the creek, an occasional deer buck can be spotted. Growing out of his head are antlers that are covered in velvet that appears to be ever so soft with a color of browns and reds that match the deer’s body. All of my attempts to touch the soft head ornaments have been met with flight in leaps and bounds away from me.

The orange trees are drinking water as fast as we can give it to them. Hanging from their deep green sets of leaves are little oranges, the size of a larger marble, hard as a rock and green as oak tree leaves. I am hopeful that all of the fruit will hang on and make the transition from little, green oranges to mature, sweet oranges.

This is the season we in the citrus business call “June Drop.” For some reason, this time of year oranges drop much of the fruit they set in the spring. Each June, I wait to watch the little guys start falling off the tree and hope that the orchard floor is not littered with too many of the little gems.

Yes, summer is here. Tomatoes are tall and beginning to yield ripe fruit. Melon vines are spreading out and making melons bigger.