MANHATTAN, Kan. — As my family is in the depths of the fall harvest season, the landscape all around us is beginning its annual preparation for winter. The colors surrounding our farm have begun their yearly transition and serve as a visual reminder that we have entered a new season: Fall.
It’s as if overnight the leaves on the trees have yellowed, the morning air has become crisp, the sun sets earlier, the moon rises sooner and the fall crops around us continue drying down.
The sights in town are reflections of this annual transition as well. The gorgeous mums now being prominently displayed at a greenhouse, the bright orange pumpkins lining the sidewalks at the grocery store, the newly posted signs advertising the latest seasonal coffee flavor and the school-aged children wearing sweatshirts or light jackets to school in the morning all serve as proof that fall has arrived.
As we continue our fall harvest— while also sowing wheat — it’s easy to overlook these seasonal changes. While we hurry to move equipment to the next field, scurry out the door with meals to deliver to the crew or drive the kids out to the combine operator for goodnight kisses, it is possible to miss this annual transition while driving down the dirt roads on a mission. Nonetheless, the changes are occurring.
It seems like it was only days ago that the Monarch butterflies briefly made a pit-stop in our area while migrating south. The Monarchs seem to have left, continuing their journey south.
It seems like it was only days ago that my mother-in-law and I were planning our harvest meals menu, noting options needed to be cool and refreshing for the crew. We now discuss options that will warm them up.
It seems like it was only days ago that the air conditioner was running to cool us down, whereas now we contemplate turning on the seat warmer every morning when climbing into a vehicle.
It seems like it was only days ago that we’d go to sleep with open windows and the sounds of crickets and frogs. We now wake up with extra blankets wrapped around us.
While I try to make mental notes of these changes daily — hoping I can bottle up this season — I know I’m also missing things I only realize once they no longer occur. I’ll tell myself that I have to be ready next year to see or smell or taste or hear an element of fall I missed. It happens every year. And every year I tell myself that I must be ready because it always seems like overnight it immediately becomes fall.
“Insight” is a weekly column published by Kansas Farm Bureau, the state’s largest farm organization whose mission is to strengthen agriculture and the lives of Kansans through advocacy, education and service.
— Kim Baldwin, McPherson County farmer and rancher, Kansas Farm Bureau
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