22 October 2011
A benchmark of change
One of those rare definitive seasonal changes has occurred this morning in the pastures of Stratheden - a complete coating of thin frost. If ever there was a harbinger of the onset of colder weather, this would be it. At this very moment, early rays of the sun are now raking across it, simultaneously highlighting and destroying it.
The forecast was for a low of 29F so the dining room floor is covered by potted plants brought inside for protection. In theory, this is the coldest night for the next week so they will go back outside today.
Yesterday, hastened by the frost warning, Mr. Fuzzy cut and hung the tobacco crop along with some mullein (used by the Cherokee in their smoking mix). The tobacco was planted very late but has done well; the leaves and stalks are considerably more robust than last year, attributable, methinks, to the improvements made in the soil. Hundreds of pounds of compost await being tilled into the garden once the growing season has totally ceased; with luck and perseverance, next year's yield will be even better.
Autumn has literally been blown in by the winds of change; there have been periods as long as three days wherein the air has never been stilled. Brilliantly colored leaves have danced all about the farm and have now provided a richly textured ground cover and insulation through the cold spells. Very few trees managed to retain their modest coverings; the maples, which gave a fine display of bright reds, have somehow maintained their glory, and most oaks as well. The walnuts were the first trees to be totally divested of their raiment perhaps three weeks past.