Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The shift of seasons

It is cold, again.

I woke up this morning and felt, for the first time this season, the fall chill in the air, enough to make me not want to leave the warmth of my bed. For real, what is up with the early fall, or the entire lack of summer. I feel like summer took a summer vacation this year.

The squash is not happy about the down turn in temperature. Neither are the beans or the corn or the tomatoes. The squash has shriveled it's gorgeous large leaves and hasn't recovered. The fruit of the plant is also looking sad, and I fear now that my forecast of a great squash harvest is going to fail. I fear too that the tomatoes will not rebound from another cold snap, they are taking forever to turn red, yellow or purple, given the varietal.

Tomatoes are one of my most favorite things on Earth, ever. And more than disliking the slow uptake of summer, I dislike a summer without tomatoes. How can this even be called summer without a rich harvest of tomatoes? Err. It is like going without raspberries or corn on the 4th of July or without mashed potatoes on Thanksgiving. Sometimes I think about how our climate is shifting and that we are being slowly (or in this summers case, drastically quickly) moved into a shift of what our seasons mean to us. Will we continue to have the late summer harvest of sweet corn, or the large, hot sun indulging, pumpkins that sit and wait for Halloween to come? Or, will that now happen in August because the hot weather only lasts for a few weeks and the fall starts sooner?

I grew up in southwest Colorado, way up in the mountains (10,000 feet above sea level), in a tiny ski town called Crested Butte. It snows there from the end of September through early June (and several times it snowed on the 4th of July's parade). The summer happens in July and lasts, maybe, into early August, the fall happens in late August, leaves fall off the trees in September and then it goes back to winter. We, according to the locals, have 3 seasons; winter, summer and mud season. And even there the harvest of raspberries came in strong, the tomatoes ripened nicely in late July and the pumpkins were popping in October, despite the calculated snowfall that would always happen on Halloween night. So, I think if we are to suffer the shift of shorter summers being the norm then we may be able to make it work, we just have to adapt. Luckily we are quite adept at doing just that. I will plant more radishes, carrots, lettuces, kales, onions and garlic in the next few weeks, gearing us up for that early autumn growing season, even though it's the first day of September.


  1. you grew up in Crested Butte!?

    I spent a summer in Gothic doing research with columbine flowers. that is amazing! we are trying so hard to get back to that little patch of heaven.

  2. I sure did. This time of year I miss going hiking up by Judd Falls around Gothic and looking at all the trees just starting to turn colors. Were you at the RMBL?