Morning on the Homestead

>> Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Good day fellow gardeners! Today I awoke to a brisk fall day (25F), just the kind we all know and cherish for its refreshing coolness. Yeah, Right! It was downright cold!

The plants do look beautiful though, in their frosty garb. The Dianthus especially looks like it was made for winter. Sedum turns yellowish-brown as if trying to compete with tree and shrub leaves.

Fall colors aside, the frost adds so much more to the overall beauty of a garden.

I grew up in Indiana ans always looked forward to the fall colors. We lived near a large corn field, who doesn’t in Indiana, and it was always bittersweet to see the skeletons of corn stalks standing as reminders of the wonderful ears of corn they always gave us. And fall always brought out the most gorgeous reds and yellows, especially southern Indiana around Morgan-Monroe State Park. Here in Utah, we don’t get much of that spectrum of color. We have the golden shimmering leaves of Aspen as our color guard. But their large swaths looked like gold veins running through mountain sides.

Every morning the Mourning Doves look so peaceful sitting in their high perches atop the trees gathering up the suns warming rays. I always feel so bad when I walk out to the backyard and they all leave their warm, sunny perches as I approach to fill the two birdbaths with fresh water. I have to do this to break up the ice from the previous evening thus allowing them to drink. They soon come back as though to forgive me for disturbing them.

Every morning, at 8:45, the elementary school, which sits the other side of a row of houses from me, plays a song to get the children’s day started. They play a wide variety of songs, from ‘Good Vibrations’ by the Beach Boys to ‘Good Morning Starshine’ by Oliver. And then one of the students recites the pledge of allegiance. It’s a very pleasant way to start a school day.

The birds are constantly singing and vying for a perch to sit and eat. They can never sit for very long as there is always another bird waiting its turn, and they are not afraid to push each other off so they can eat. All in all I guess it is a system that keeps them all fed.

I noticed the Dark-eyed Junco has returned. They don’t sit on perches as the other birds do so they eat off of the ground with the Doves.

I have been suffering a head cold and sore throat for the last couple of days so I don’t feel real cheery but the these morning sounds and rituals are comforting.

I have been reading ‘Animal, Vegetable, Miracle’ by Barbara Kingsolver about one families attempt to escape our dependence on industrial-food to the rural life where they vow to buy only locally grown produce, grow it themselves or learn to do without. The book serves to enlighten us to how corporations are replacing America’s once thriving, diversified family farms with mono-cultured acres of corn and soybeans to feed ‘food animals’ who spend their entire lives stuffed in pens and loaded with antibiotics and growth hormones to fatten them up for market.

The book has really awakened, in me, the need to get back to celebrating local farmers by buying our produce at farmers markets instead of supermarkets and shunning the out-of-season produce, with its bland taste and questionable nutritional value. Growing our own is much more healthy and would help cut back on the vast amounts of petroleum required to transport produce from thousands of miles away.

With the cost of fuel rising so rapidly we may for forced to return to the local farmer for our produce out of financial necessity. Wouldn’t that be ironic? To have to buy locally because fuel prices are too high.

We have become spoiled by having out-of-season fruit and vegetables at our fingertips. The price of that luxury is far higher than we know. Read this book and you’ll be surprised at how much it really costs us.

Well, I have chores to get to and miles to go before I sleep. Good day!


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