Autumn dropped by early this year. It’s not the usual Autumn. It just got cold one afternoon dropping from the 70s to the 40s in just a few hours. It stayed that way for a few days. Today it’s warmer but with the crazy, unpredictable weather, there’s no avoiding the harvest. If we wait, there’s a chance we’ll get a hard frost and that will finish it. You can delay many things, but not a harvest. We’ve seen frost lying on the ground. While we may get some warm days, the nights are cold. We had a harvest to bring in.

Photo: Garry Armstrong

I never wanted to be a farmer. It always looked like massive amounts of work for painfully little reward. I can understand those who love doing it, but my back is nicely broken already.

But Owen and I were out there with the scissors and buckets, trimming and separating. Some stuff will be dried, more will be jarred. I found a wholesale jar and bottle company (Fillmore) with good prices and even with high prices for shipping (if you aren’t buying in quantity, shipping is expensive), it’s still cheaper than Amazon. I also discovered this is a bad time of year to be ordering 32-ounce jars and lids because everyone else is ordering them too and a lot of them were out of stock.

Corn being cut in the fall

Now, I have to go back out and continue the harvesting. It’s not a fabulous harvest. It’s early. Everything needed a couple more weeks of growing to reach full size, but I don’t trust the weather. I promised to make banana bread tonight, but I think I’m too tired. It will have to wait until tomorrow. I have the bananas and in one more day, they will be riper and better for bread.

I think of all the movies I’ve seen of aging farm women, past my age who are still out in their fields cutting and trimming and storing food for the winter. This has been a bad year for growing. We haven’t had even a light rain and are 10 inches too  low in water, making us an urgent drought area. As we worked, we kept hearing the crackling and banging of huge falling acorns.

So now, I have to go and finish today’s harvest. Sunset doesn’t come late anymore. No more 7pm sunsets. We are at the Autumnal Equinox, so if you want to get anything done, you need to get up early.

Author: Marilyn Armstrong

Opinionated writer with hopes for a better future for all plus a big helping of cynicism.


  1. Those farm women (I’ve had a great many as neighbors here) are tough birds. They’re USED to all that hard work and have a very hard time gearing down as their own personal Winter approaches. One neighbor (since moved away, much to the chagrin of her non-farmer status neighbors) could not sit still for five minutes. She HAD to be up and doing something. She pickled and preserved, baked and even made home-made candy (her business when she was a young woman). She was raised on a farm in Star Valley and said time weighed heavy on her hands after she didn’t HAVE to go out and harvest the crops, or work at preserving it for the coming winter. Her whole family was raised the same way. It’s a dying way of life sadly, and grim for those of us who realize that farming is essential if we’re to survive. Thanks for sharing your story of the harvest and the beauty, even in drought, around your home.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I often think most people understand very little of what farming means and how critical is is and was for a community. A lot of the older farmers around here are giving up. Their land is too valuable to use for farming and the kids don’t want to do it. They want white-collar jobs in air conditioned offices. A way of life is vanishing.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The “Husband” was in high gear today. You didn’t see his quick, fluid moves? He still has “it”.


  2. I didn’t know you had ‘a’ harvest. Of what? What food can you dry, what store in jars?
    And yes, the weather has been equally crazy as the government nearly everywhere…. Good luck my friend. And yes again, the mornings as well as the evenings are no longer what they were only a short moment ago, it’s far less inviting to get up in the dark and put on the lights at 4pm. And we have presently still the summer time.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Grapes, cherries, cranberries, cucumbers (sun pickles, yum!), pickled peppers, peaches, pears (really, almost any fruit). I used to have a very enthusiastic pear tree and all the neighbors would come with baskets because there were SO many pears, no many how many ways I found to can, poach, pickle and preserve them, it was an awful lot of pears! I learned to make brandied pears, pear preserves, pear pies and turnovers … and of course, we ate a LOT of pears. We’ve had apple trees like this, too. And grapes. And strawberries. In Israel there were oranges and apricots. If it’s edible, you can dry it, turn it into chutney or jam, or even decorations.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. WHAT fascinating info – and yes, there are MANY ways of preserving the goods nature gives us, I just never realised that YOU had access to harvest stuff too. Thank you for those details. It’s a way of getting to know people better…


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