Winter begins

October 5th, 2009

And suddenly, after a burst of energy, the harvest is in* and the fields are bare. Two weeks ago it was the potatoes, three-and-a-half days of digging the potatoes, the rented machine, my parents-in-law cooking tables and tables of food to feed the people they hired to help with the harvest and sending us plates of lunch every day (since they were cooking anyway); the following weekend the corn, my brother- and father-in-law driving load after load of corn to the Genossenschaft (farmers’ coop), my father-in-law taking Small Boy up in the tractor for a round or two; last Thursday the sugar beets and after the digging is done the boys and I comb the fields for the broken and crushed bits to bring to the horses. Better than apples, chunks of sugar beets for the horses. We come home with a wagon-load and my father-in-law laughs at how these boys, the Boychen in particular, spoil those horses. (Every day it is “Lady. Apple. Lady. Apple.” They perk up their ears now, and reach their long necks out of their stalls when they hear the Boychen’s voice. The Boychen means apples.)

The crops are in, there is a last flurry of work putting the garden to bed and then, although it is October, winter will begin on the farm, season of resting and waiting.

* I want to be perfectly clear that I am a passive observer in all of this; we live here but are not active farmers.