Moon Dog Farms

Certified Naturally Grown family farm cultivating fruits, vegetables, flowers & pastured eggs in the Texas Gulf Coast

MoonDog Farms is dedicated to stewardship of the land, reinforcing a healthy community and producing great food.  

Autumn Love.

"Come ," said the Wind to the Leaves one day.

"Come over the meadow and we will play.

Put on your dresses of red and gold.

www.moondogfarms.com

For summer is gone and the days grow cold."

-George Cooper

 I get it.  It's a little sappy and not lacking in silliness to pine for leaves wearing read and gold when you live on the Texas coast. This time of year wears a vastly different wardrobe and doesn't sit around moping for Walden Pond.

But there is something so beguiling about the Fall. It's tempting to say it's owed purely to the fact that growing up where I did, the Autumn season was a near mystery.  A unicorn comprised of weather patterns and cozy firesides that a central Texan can rarely catch and certainly never quite keep a hold of.  Yet from what I can tell, everybody loves this season, no matter whether you're lucky enough to enjoy it for 3 days or 3 months. It's colorful, magical and pregnant with the promises of family, tradition, good food and stories.  

Here in Galveston County we're fated to never claim the leaf-peeping phenomenon of our New England peers, but I never stop waking to each chilly morning with a bundle of child-like excitement.  Bring on the oatmeal, bring on the cider. 

 

Blue honeybee lovin' up some basil blossoms.

Blue honeybee lovin' up some basil blossoms.

This week had us catching up after the heavy rains of the previous week; four inches of rain equates to a moat of a vegetable field and the threat of getting irreparably stuck in mud for days afterward.  Maybe I know someone who's had to call a certain bearded McFarmer for physical assistance in removing herself from the tarpits between cabbages and broccolis a few times.  Maybe I know her.

  The firepit filled up completely!

 

The firepit filled up completely!

This wouldn't be the first time we thought about rice-farming.  Here the sunflowers, baby's breath, nigella and more all stand submerged.

This wouldn't be the first time we thought about rice-farming.  Here the sunflowers, baby's breath, nigella and more all stand submerged.

We removed all the okra and basil from the old summer beds, preparing to sow in covercrops of cowpeas and buckwheat.  I didn't have the heart to pull up all the basil, as the honeybees were swarming all over the few remaining plants, rooting out those last sacred nectar sources as it gets colder and closer (hopefully) to a freeze.  Sowing the cover crops feels perfectly Autumnal, draping the bare earth with a blanket of green for a well-deserved rest.   

...getting rid of that old woody okra in order to spread some covercrops

...getting rid of that old woody okra in order to spread some covercrops

To the left is the okra we pulled out this week, and the sweet potatoes are the big bushy green row. In between are the former sites of lima beans, tomatoes, cucumbers, etc that were just tilled in.

To the left is the okra we pulled out this week, and the sweet potatoes are the big bushy green row. In between are the former sites of lima beans, tomatoes, cucumbers, etc that were just tilled in.

The sweet potatoes are dug and curing in the warmth of our office, slowly sweetening up so we can serve them at market as Thanksgiving fodder.  We hear owls more and more often at night, which I'm not entirely certain is thanks to Fall weather, but it feels as if it should be.

Here's the same spot a few weeks later with the covercrops bursting forth and protecting the former bare ground. 

Here's the same spot a few weeks later with the covercrops bursting forth and protecting the former bare ground. 


And huzzah!

There is one Autumnal activity that we can absolutely share with our Northern scarf-clad neighbors.  The burning of brush is the perfect Fall chore; in fact, as soon as I finish this ode to Apple-Picking Envy I' off to help Alex burn piles of prunings from the orchard.

 Incidentally, this one true Autumn staple that we can share with the rest of the country reaffirms the romanticized picture created in my childhood.  I've had a fuzzy memory of What Fall Should Be for years now, and with the help of --guess who?--- he internet, I've located the culprit, sourced from an old book of children's poems that I once had long, long ago:

I don't know where the requisite adult might be, but ignore that for now.

Bingo.

Thanks, Robert Louis Stevenson.  And while I don't condone children doing farmwork without adult supervision, here's to Autumn, foraging bees, and to stretching those few chilly days into a year's worth of Fall love.

 

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