Last Monday, it definitely felt like the beginning of fall on the farm. The mornings were dark and chilly, and the lack of interns made some parts of the day feel empty. But fall weather brings new and different activities. Some of these may be a little drudgery, but just the switch from weeding is welcome.
Some of these activities are sheer pleasure, like picking apples. Mendota Mental Health Institute has a small orchard, and Troy has been charged with upkeep, most of which is done by community gardeners. In years when there is a bumper crop, Troy gets to reap the benefits. So we went over with ladders and buckets and picked a couple hundred pounds of apples. It was warm and breezy and it was fun to climb high in the trees. Most of the apples were perfect, with really very few worm holes. Last year was not a bumper crop, so this was a new activity for me.
We finished our harvest quota for Monday pretty early, so we spent a large part of the afternoon hauling rocks from a pile in the parking lot to the floor of the greenhouse. The rocks will hold pipes in place under the soil. The pipes carry warm air from the ceiling down to the ground. Once we got a layer of rocks in, we sifted soil from another big pile onto the rocks to create the first layer of soil. Next goes a layer of compost, and finally another layer of soil mixed with compost. This is a very long, slow process. It takes 2 people 2 hours to get one layer in one section down. At 3 layers per section and something like 22 sections, it's going to take a while. So Claire has designated Saturday, October 2nd, from 9-3, as a volunteer day to try to make some headway with this project.
The other sign that summer is over is the tomatoes. We harvested the last of them--green and red--for the share this week. The trellis will be coming down shortly.