Yes, it’s that time already. The winding-down time. Equinox, the elusive point on the calendar when we tip over into autumn. When nights grows longer than days. When it’s time to harvest what has been so carefully grown, and then to can, freeze, dry, and otherwise store foodstuff and supplies for when it’s time to hunker down and wait out the cold.
Nights here in my part of New Mexico are already in the 30s (F) and any day now I expect a hard freeze. I’m surprised there hasn’t been one already. Maybe I’m to blame — I’ve been carefully covering my tender plants (still waiting for my first tomato, darn it!) and bringing potted plants inside every evening. It’ll happen though, and soon, and then after that we typically enjoy a whole season of glorious weather — crisp nights, for sure, but also warm days that allow a few more garden crops to be grown. Or at least so I’ve heard — I don’t seem to be too successful at it.
Mid September already!
I don’t need a calendar to know what time of year it is. Endless summer suddenly — almost overnight, it seems — became the end of summer. In a matter of mere days the blindingly green grasslands turned various shades of tan. Most flower blossoms have faded. Practically every wild plant has produced thorns, prickers, needles, burrs, or other pain producing devices to lodge in my shoes and the dogs’ feet, all in the name of spreading their seed. The few deciduous trees have long left behind the exuberant chartreuse and shamrock of May and are now deep green, sated with chlorophyll, waiting for the mysterious signal to release leaves turned yellow-red-brown to the soil below.
The ravens have scattered and squawking flocks of pinon jays have moved in. The cliff swallow families have finally abandoned their mud nests under the barn eaves, though they’re still flying around, speedy silhouettes against the evening skies. Bull elk have been bugling for weeks, cow elk deigning to reply every so often. My horses are starting to grow their winter coats.
The air is clear and crisp, the night sky so full of stars that it’s hard to separate them into constellations.
I’m so blessed to be able to live here.
By the way, I’ve decided to start using my Google account’s photos storage rather than storing them on Facebook. You might want to check out this year’s batch of around the ranch photos when you’ve got a moment.