The warm red, orange, and yellow tips of the leaves on the trees that were at first subtle, are becoming louder. They are reminding me that it is the time of year when we need to put things back, to store them for the long cold winter that is waiting quietly to look down at the piles of colorless leaves that will slowly decompose. They are finished with the hard work of making food for the tree they emerged from, and so the tree is done, and it releases the leaves from the branches, letting them drift slowly to the ground beneath where they will become skeletons, and eventually disappear back into the soil.
And we, the gardeners and farmers, do the same thing. We spent the summer using the abundant soil, light, and water to grow our food, storing carbohydrates in roots and fruits and leaves. But the days are growing shorter and colder, and we are pulling the carrots, turnips, and potatoes from the soil, and the cucurbits from the withering vines, and putting them in our basements for later.
We celebrate the end of the growing season with harvest parties and with the satisfaction of an abundant summer. But as the fields grow quiet, we at The Land Connection are ramping up for a season of new beginnings. This month marks our 10th year of preparing new farmers to start their farm businesses, and we welcome the incoming Central Illinois Farm Beginnings’ students.