Hurricanes Irene and Lee came and went last month and ripped through the farm with blustery, sodden winds and a muddy swill of rain that’s still running down the drive.
Newly planted seeds of Fall arugula, snap peas, and mesclun greens were washed out of their beds, heading toward the Hudson. Chickens stood out in the wind and rain, transfixed by the chaos, their pouffy feathers matted like leaves. Bees hummed in damp confusion around the hive.
Harvests have been bountiful, despite the rain, although the heat lovers like tomato, pepper and eggplant are beginning to grumble.
I was away on a book shoot in Maine, and was texted regularly by my neighbor assuring me that the farm hadn’t been swept off to Oz, and that none of our geriatric trees had tumbled out of the sky, although some are looking precariously frail; just a puff away from oblivion. There’ll be some tough Kevorkian-esque decisions to be made with the chainsaw, but safe open sky to follow.
Two white pines, in particular, are standing too tall and frail and barely fleshed with needles at the crown. A few years back, a massive spruce fell in the middle of the night, it’s brittle bones splintering across our gate house roof like glass. Only the gutter was damaged, but our tenants were jittery for months.
It’s a miracle that anything edible has put up with a month of relentless rain and hurricanes. True, the tomatoes have been reduced to puckered globs, and eggplant and pepper are hanging hard and obstinately unripe on their stalks. Nobody likes to get his feet wet, much less stand in water for weeks on end. Bad for the posture.
These sweet Hungarian peppers have produced non-stop since July, even with their feet wet.
What a bore, to prattle on about weather! But it matters more when you’re farming and feeding others. If this is the new normal, I suppose the farm can either founder under increasingly erratic weather, or learn to suck it up. As a true Darwinian, I think I’ll adapt. There’s always aquaculture. - Mb