September 23, 2008

Beginning of Autumn

The autumnal equinox (Sept 22, 2008; 11:44:18 A.M. EDT), the Sun appears to cross the celestial equator, from north to south; this marks the beginning of autumn in the Northern Hemisphere.

This signals the end of the summer months and the beginning of winter. The days have been growing shorter and now the nights will be the same length as days. The sun will begin to shine lower and lower on the horizon until winter’s arrival in about three months' time.

This is my favorite time of year!

I love being up early, before the sun. Haven't changed the morning schedule yet. I am not sure I want to. The farm is so peaceful. I enjoy the quietness. The random crow of the rooster, the early birds' song, sitting on the back stoop watching the sunrise with all things seemingly right in my world.

I tip-toed around the house to snap a photo of the sun rising on a peahen sleeping on the porch railing.

The early morning bloom on the squash plant.

For me, Fall is when I feel most at peace with the farm. I don’t seem to be working against time or myself, am not hurrying to finish the daily chores to beat the heat of the day or needing to keep a constant vigil on baby watch and kidding. The days routine seems effortless and enjoyable. The cool crisp mornings lead to warm sunny afternoons and picture perfect sunsets. Our weather has been unbelievable! Absolutely perfect weather.

Here on the farm we let the seasons and Mother Nature guide us through the year. Believe you me, you can’t fool the old gal and it’s best you don’t try. She sets the natural rhythm of the farm, be it with the animals, plants, even for the humans.

The cooler temps, shorter days are signals that effect animal behavior. If you watch your livestock the changes are obvious. With the chickens, you start seeing molting and a slow drop in production that continues until the shortest days of the year in December. There are a few weeks in the year you will possibly go without eggs. We don’t stress over this and allow the chickens to follow their natural rhythms. There are ways you could fool Mother Nature and force your hens to lay, such as installing lights in the hen house or nest boxes to have them believe there are more day light hours. We don’t do this, we believe the birds deserve a much needed winters rest as nature intended. Your birds will live longer, healthier lives if you don’t force productivity.

The gardens and produce require less work, though we still see a few offerings through Thanksgiving. The majority of the summer’s harvest has been preserved and put away. Soon will be time to turn the soil and prepare the earth for its winter rest also.

About the only hub bub on the farm right now is Axle in rut. This year Axle started his bucky behavior with the first cool snap we encountered about a month ago. We turned Buffy in with Axle in hopes of keeping him content.

Even though there is still much to do to prepare for the upcoming winter, for now I am going to follow my own natural rhythms and enjoy the tranquility of the farm.

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