From Pipi’s Pasture: Signs of fall approaching
August 8, 2014
I love the fall season, and it seems to me that there are already signs of the seasonal change. Mostly it's a feeling, I guess, but I've been trying to pinpoint the signs.
For one thing, there's sometimes a weather change as fall approaches. It's been known to occur around fair time. When I was a kid in 4-H, the fair was held a little later in August, pretty close to school starting, and we almost always had a big rain then — a flash-flood-type rain. I can remember hearing the rain beat on the roof of the fairgrounds barn during the junior livestock sale. One year, at the end of the fair when we were taking breeding heifers and maybe sheep home, we had to maneuver carefully to avoid rocks and mud that had come down onto the highway not far from Hamilton.
Well, we had a downpour here at Pipi's Pasture a few days ago. It came with pea-sized hail that piled up around the fences and buildings and turned the ground white. It stripped the failure-to-thrive corn in this year's garden, made holes in the squash leaves and left my flowers looking pretty bedraggled. There's still a pond of water standing in the back corral where it ran off the roof of the loafing shed.
Since then, there has been a cool-down, leaving daytime temperatures pleasant and more fall-like. At night, it's been cool enough to leave the fans off and be able to cover up with a blanket, making sleep quite delicious.
Not only that, but I have been hearing the crickets in the late afternoons when I do chores. Perhaps they "sing" all summer, but I have always associated their sounds with fall time, and I love it.
A couple of days ago, I drove up the Morapos road to the cows' summer pasture. It was a cool, sunny morning, reminiscent of autumn. Hay meadows, freshly mown and harvested, stood ready to be filled with cattle in the not-to-far future. And then I drove past the old Morapos School and teacherage (where the teacher stayed). It's not that it was a different sight as I drive past the school every time I go up the road. It is located on our childhood ranch.
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Anyway, since I was thinking about fall, I remembered those days when school was about to start. In late August, the parents gathered to get the school grounds and buildings ready. Since then, I have associated the smells of the vegetation around the buildings with fall. I remember particularly the scents of the sagebrush and rabbit brush plants, even more so as they were being cut back from the buildings and playground.
All of this triggers thoughts of getting ready for school during those childhood days, too, but that will have to wait for another column. In the meantime, enjoy the transition from summer to fall.