It finally happened here in western Massachusetts - a killing frost. It was late this year and some odd bits are hanging on here and there but Monday morning when we awoke, the grass and fields outside were covered with white frost. My beautiful colorful garden is done for the year. It is such a bittersweet day - but there is always next year if you are a gardener.
The normal gorgeous autumn color in western Massachusetts has been lacking this year. We have experienced massive amounts of rain constantly which has made haying very difficult. Mold and fungus have been rampant on the leaves of the trees and in people's homes. I do not remember another season like this. Two years ago drought, now rain rain rain. Finally the other evening when I was working in my pottery studio, I witnessed a brief glimpse of gorgeous fall color. And it was brief as the sun set onto the horizon.
A killing frost signals the end to the growing season. It means that the sheep will soon need to be moved to their winter barns but we will wait on that as long as we can because there is still green grass growing. We have found it necessary to supplement some of the sheep with big bales of hay. They do not particularly want to eat it - they prefer green grass but if they are hungry enough they pick at it.
When I say "we" I usually mean "The Farmer" or me but this year has been so challenging. Luckily we have a couple of Farm Angels - Jason and Ryan - who have been helping us out this year as Mark tries to get over his hip replacement surgery. Last week I had to rush him to the hospital at 5 in the morning. He was in severe pain and could barely breathe. After a day in the ER, he was admitted to the hospital with a pulmonary embolism in both lungs. He is out now and recuperating at home but he isn't able to do much at all.
All these setbacks and so called recovery are making me think more and more about how we are going to carry on this farm this year through the winter lambing season. The shearers are supposed to come at the end of November. Mark won't be able to do anything and I'm thinking we should put it off a bit. Yes we could pay people to help but that is expensive and lambing is a tenuous time with life and death happening every day. Someone who isn't experienced with lambing would not be a lot of help.
And so it goes at the farm. I don't want to be a downer but as you all know - everyone in the world goes through challenging times and this is one of those times for us. The only thing that is keeping me sane is the making I am doing in my pottery studio and at the sewing machine hemming tea towels and seeing my kind customers at the two farmer's markets I have been doing this year in Amherst and Northampton.
On a positive note, I have decided to again host our 4th Annual Holiday Open House here at Leyden Glen Farm on December 1/2 from 10-4. As per usual, I am doing this with some of my local artist and textile friends. I'll be posting more on that subject soon. For now - here is the flyer that I worked on yesterday.