Tuesday, June 30, 2009
I can't help it: I feel the excitement of harvest when I see the brigade of windrowers marching down the highways, headed to the rye grass fields for cutting. It is in me. I'm a bit like Willa Cather or John Steinbeck; I get attached to land and place, home.
When I lived away from these fields of my childhood, I would call my parents and find out what was happening. Had they started cutting? When would they combine? Was harvest going to be early or late this year?
When I'd visit, I'd feel a sense of personal injustice if I missed windrowing. My inner farmer needed to see the grass begin to ripen and bend, turn from green to brown.
The "in" thing is to live seasonally, to eat only local, ripe foods. I think farmers are most in tune to this way of life. I just made fruit smoothies with our last gallon of frozen raspberries. I timed it just right, raspberries should be ready any day. I also ate our last loaf of frozen zucchini bread, soon I'll be digging my way out of the pile of garden grown squash.
I walked through our orchard in great anticipation: peaches, pears, apples,and grapes. My excitement was deflated. There wasn't much on the trees this year. I panicked. My canning cupboards are almost bare. The jars are washed and ready for local fruits and vegetables. We had so many apples last October that my husband literally made apple crisp almost every night after work. I was going to start saving all my milk jugs for the gallons upon gallons of fresh cider. Guess not.
But this is the way of the farm, some years are bunmper crops, others...not so much. Last year we didn't get that many green beans, this year, not so hot on the apples, but we've had plenty of Swiss chard, the corn is looking impressive, and I have high hopes for my berry jams. Oh, and there is always the ever dependable lettuce and squash.
And so I live my seasonal life, and that is why my heart is happy when I lay in bed at night and I hear the hum of the combine outside my window, the lights of the large machine keeping the farmer company in his season of work.