the music of the night and the blanket of stars

Although much of our attention as of late has been focused on the time to come-the gray skies, the wet ground, the cool and the cold–we‘ve also been taking the time to enjoy this warm weather we‘ve been having. Whether it is because of the time we had to devote to some unexpected side projects right in the thick of summer’s madness, or simply because we are now coming down the backside of the warm season’s growing hill towards shorter days and settled veggies just waiting for harvest..whatever the reason, we are now enjoying the fact that there is still some beautiful weather around while we have the time and the frame of mind to relish it. Our fire pit had seen but one fire this summer, at our eldest’s birthday party, until this past week. Now it has been lit every night, and after dinner cooked over the fire and eaten out of doors, we are found sitting around the fire either mesmerized in that way only the dance of flames will do or making music as a family in a way that warms my heart even more than the end of summer air and blazing fire. We made a point to have fun this summer, to make this special time in an otherwise wet clime about more than just working hard on the farm. We did get to the beach more than once, we had many a breaking of bread with friends and family…it was a wonderful summer and a great growing season with only minor stumbles in the field. Still, to know that any of these last warm days could be just that, the last warm day before the chill sets in–this makes our nights by the fire even more delightful.
Still, farm business is never locked too tightly away in the folds of our minds, and we have had a lot to hash out and work on as we get ready for the changing season. Farmer’s market will end in just five short weeks. This will mark the beginning of the changes we wrote to you all about, and we know that it will bring changes to some of the faces we see each week. It has been difficult for us to find a balance between finding what will work best for the farm in order to provide vegetables year round and what will be considered reasonable or doable to all of you who have been nourished by the bounties of summer and wish to continue to enjoy the freshness, health, and taste of local food through the fall and winter. These worries, as well as the planning of a new season, of harvests all the way into March and April, these thoughts are always close at hand. We are really, really excited to be making the switch to a year round CSA, and now that we have been through these Oregon seasons almost four times round, we are still thrilled at the ease of eating seasonally in this temperate climate. As much as I will always have the season’s of the Midwest to call to me with memories of a certain air at the onset off fall, of a thick blanket of snow, of hoar frosts in the morning, of nights hot enough for swimming and firefly light shows….as much as those memories of place are what I was raised with, I look forward to the time when years here bring me the memories of these seasons and with them a much more distinct association of foods. Here, we don’t even get too carried away with putting summer’s treats by for later, because there is so much that will still be growing in the winter it is not as necessary. We still do some, and the pickles, the salsas and sauces are a good way to round out an eating style that differs so greatly from what we were raised on. We have 7 gallons of pickles fermenting now, and will probably need to do some more before the cucumbers fade away. We are finally getting into heavier tomato production, and we planted a lot of heirloom paste tomatoes because they make the best sauces and dried tomatoes, things we are sure to enjoy on a cold winter night.
The passing of time, of seasons, is something that can happen very quickly. Quicker, it seems, once you have children or get older (I am not sure which was the direct cause, so I will credit both!). We are blessed to have the opportunity to slow things down if we make a concerted effort to do so. Farm life can either be very hectic, or by will, made very calming and centering–a simple routine of living that we share with our community. Right now, we have seen that difference. Maybe it was a little out of our hands when we were thrown extra work, but these nights by the fire are all a pleasure we have simply made the time for. Last night, as we pulled out the blankets and made a bed in the grass, the music of the night and the blanket of stars slowed time down as we let the warmth linger a little longer. When the rain comes again, and the warmth on our skins or the thought of sleeping outside is just a memory of a different season, we will be just as tickled with the change, we always are. But for the moment, we’ll stash away some of this summer in both its physical outpourings as we make our sauces and in its intangible joys as we make memories on this farm.

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