Changing Seasons

The transition from summer to autumn on the northern Montana prairie can happen almost overnight.  It's often a drastic shift in the weather.  The hot and arid days of August turn colder.  On the farm,  Seth and Charlie are wearing their jackets in the mornings and my travels take me away more often. 

In the orchard, the changing of seasons fits the more traditional expectations with the onset of fall.  The apple trees are ready to harvest and the leaves on some are already changing.  The bushes and vines will start turning brown, red and yellow soon.  Ideally, our summer green orchard will be bare and brown before the first snow but if the last couple of winters are any indication, our trees may not have the luxury.

A few cool rain storms have finally cleared the last of the wildfire smoke and looking out over the prairie there aren't many trees to mark the oncoming autumn but the fields are a patchwork of burnished gold and dull yellows from the stalk stubble left over from the harvest.  In between are the smooth rows of cultivated soil where Seth is hard at work planting winter wheat and winter peas.  Charley's indian corn and sunflowers will be ready to harvest very soon.  

As the summer comes to a close, the transition into fall is always a contemplative one.  There are so many things to consider based on the past season while planning for the next.  It is one of the most satisfying opportunities in farming,  looking back at all that was accomplished and working out how to improve for the next year.