When you dream to be a farmer, you look out upon your fields and there are no weeds; all the plants are healthy; your crops are full of blooms, produce, fruit. The farm animals graze on green fields, healthy and happy, all the fences are perfect, their water is clean, there are no flies, fleas, mosquitoes or bees that bother you as you walk among all this splendor.The weather is great to be outdoors; and everyone wants to buy from you, whatever you grow or have to sell.
Yes, it is a dream and if anyone thinks that is what farming or ranching is all about, don't even think about being one. But I have to say, each and every day when I look out around our Windmill Farm, that is what I WANT it to look like, That is what we strive to make it look like.
Today was an exceptionally beautiful day here at Windmill Farm. The air was clean and crisp and I wanted to see these perfect rows of vegetables and beautiful blooming rows of flowers. But the reality is nature was telling me it was time for a change. The leaves on the fruit trees are turning colors; the grass between the rows is now brown. Pretty much everything has either gone to seed or on its' last hurrah. I really don't want it to end, I have been putting off cleaning up the gardens for several weeks, but farmers have to think with our brain, unfortunately, to be realistic.
I still have tomatoes red and green on my vines. I still have egg plants blooming and the plants are full with small, medium and full sized egg plants. The sunflower seeds that fell in August, found a good spot and started growing new plants that are 3 feet tall. The watermelons are blooming again off the same plants that yielded great melons in August and September. The lemon tree has ripe Meyer lemons that I have been picking but half the tree has blossoms.
And in my flower beds, the zinnias, dahlias, cockscombs, fennel, and Queens Anne Lace have bloomed again.
My heart wants to leave them all to enjoy them just a bit longer. But the weather and my brain tells me today the weather makes it a great day to work outside and clean them up. That means, cut them to the ground. That means pull up the weed cloth and drip tape. That means pull up the scare crows. And it means all the tomatoes that are left, either ripe or green, need to be picked now before it rains again and they will all rot. It means, get down dirty and hard work.
As I go through row after row, pulling, cutting, raking, I find a little treasurer nature has left me. Little blooms of cockscombs, straw flowers, gomphrena. I even found a row of beets that I missed pulling up. And the tomato vines are still so green, lush, full of small to large green tomatoes that I will still need to pick every last one of them. One last time to smell that wonderful tomato plant smell on your hands, nothing better-or maybe fresh basil scent on your hand. Each row I work on, the chickens are right next to me so happy that I have unearthed new soil for them to do their job. Even our dogs Annie & Bella were right there with me digging frantically, they found some mice to chase.
Frank came out with the 1947 Ford tractor with the rock rake on the back to drag up the piles of dead plants I have stacked everyplace and take them to the compost bins.
As he was pulling the big pile of large plants next to the greenhouse, I spied a few straw flowers still alive and fresh. I just HAD to cut them and bring them into the house.
My body is ready to have a few months rest from the garden work, but my heart doesn't want to give it up, mainly because the weather has been perfect to be outside. Well, there is always raking up leaves, cutting the last of the hydrangeas blossoms, cutting the fall roses and we will have to start pruning all the fruit trees soon.
Dreaming of being a farmer, means looking forward to hard labor each and every day-nature doesn't have Monday-Friday work schedules with weekends off; or 8-5 times to work in. Animals need to be fed, watered and looked after every day and sometimes several times a day. You work all the time, every day because it needs to be tended and because you love it, you look forward to it, you enjoy the rewards, and sometimes the failures. It builds character. I think I am a better person since I have become a farmer, I know I have never met such wonderful people involved in our farming community.
I heard it is supposed to rain on Sunday. I think I will get out my 2016 seed catalogs and start dreaming of what I want my vegetable and flower fields to look like next year.