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What’s your favorite season, Mom?

Erica Louder for Progressive Forage Published on 07 October 2020

My front window faces south, toward the highway. Between the house and the highway is a field they just chopped for corn silage. It was a strange year with a cold June and an early frost, and the corn didn’t yield as well as expected. I am sad about that, but I am glad to have my view back.

To the southwest is a beet dump. It’s the first part of October, and this morning was the first time I had to wait for beet trucks to turn into the weigh station before I went up my driveway. The trucks will continue, nearly around the clock, until they fill the mile-round beet dump. It will take about ten days. Then, almost just as quickly, the beet dump will empty as Trans-System trucks haul the beets to the factory.

The neighboring farm just finished its fourth cutting of hay. We only get three from our hay fields, but we put up our hay all dry, and he does the first and last as wet feed. We turned the water back on our alfalfa last week. We’d like to get some good growth out of it, and then, once we have a hard freeze, we’ll put the cows out on it for a few weeks.

We planted sudangrass on the forty behind the house, after the cows grazed the triticale down. Sudangrass is great for fall grazing, and it has a regular place in our rotation. With our early freeze, it is shorter than usual. When the wind blows, I hear the dry stalks rustle, and it provides a soothing backdrop to a fall morning on the farm.

I covered my tomato plants again last night. I don’t think it got quite cold enough to kill them, but I apply the cliché of “better safe than sorry” when it comes to tomatoes. Sometimes, I don’t know why I bother with the garden, but most of the time, I find the work deeply fulfilling. There is a shortage of canning supplies right now. Without anything else to do or apprehension about the future, the nation planted gardens in the spring. Now, everyone is preserving that harvest. I am glad people realize the work it takes to grow food, and I am glad I bought several extra boxes of lids last fall.

Potatoes are being dug in earnest right now. With so many potatoes dumped in spring when foodservice demand dropped to non-existent, prices look good. I always think about cheesy country songs when I am stuck behind a potato digger as it moves up the highway to the next field. I don’t mind much, and I always wave to the “man up in the tractor” when I have a chance to pass.

My seven- (almost eight-) year-old daughter likes definitives. Earlier this week, she asked me, “What’s your most favorite season, Mom? You can’t pick more than one.” Before I have a chance to respond, she says, “Mine is the fall because my birthday is in the fall.” I think mine is too, but for an altogether different reason.

If you’d like to see some of this fall’s harvest, check out the hashtag, #iharvest on Facebook and Instagram.  end mark

PHOTO: Photo by Mike Dixon.

Erica Louder is a freelance writer based in Idaho.

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