Life on the farm is slowing down. It usually slows down this time of year because the weather forces us inside, but this year, the weather has been unseasonably warm. We've tried to keep pushing ourselves to do all the things we want to do, like building a potting shed. It is just not happening. We're tired. I am beginning to understand the wisdom of the seasons. We work, then we hibernate. Even though the climate is changing, we're not. We still need our rest, our hibernation. It's hard to explain how it feels to keep trying to push ourselves. Somehow our bodies or our subconscious minds just know that the working season is past.
The leaves are finally starting to change. Normally they change much earlier. The first week of October is usually a beautiful golden, red, and yellow display of color in the woods. Here we are, almost three weeks past that time, and we are starting to get a few brownish-yellow leaves on the hickory trees. The leaves on the oak trees are still green. A couple weeks ago, temperatures were hitting 90 degrees, and this weekend is supposed to be in the upper 70s again. We still haven't had a freeze. The part of me that loves fresh food from the garden is happy about that, but I know there is a much bigger picture here. Climate change is happening, and I'm seeing it on my own little piece of the earth. Every year our pond is frozen for fewer days, but seeing the change in fall foliage is more startling.
The drought has also caused problems. Our hay field pretty much died. At least everything useful died. It is now filling up with weeds. If it had a good fence around it, it would be a perfect place to put goats. They love weeds! But there is an old rusty barbed wire fence around it, so it's worthless as a pasture. The price of hay has gone up, but I should consider myself lucky that I was able to find grass for $3 a bale and alfalfa for $4 a bale. More than one person told me that they've heard of $6-7 a bale. Just a few years ago, it was $2 a bale for alfalfa.
A couple days ago we got our second rain in six weeks. Remember, six weeks ago we had two floods in one week -- or was it eight weeks ago?