A Cool Start to Fall | CraigDailyPress.com

A Cool Start to Fall

Diane Prather
Pipi's Pasture

It never fails. It’s hot and summer-like, and then, all of a sudden, sometime around the equinox, a cold front moves in and ends with a freeze warning, and we all scramble around to drain hoses and cover garden and flowering plants. Sometimes there’s even snow. Even if the plants don’t freeze, they look pretty frazzled after all of the covering, and there are tarps, plastic sheets, gunny sacks, and other plant covers all over the place that eventually have to be picked up. Then the weather turns warm again, sometimes for quite awhile.

That’s what happened this week — the cold front and freeze warning, that is. I was so grateful for the rain, because here at Pipi’s Pasture we hadn’t gotten any in quite a while. As usual, the cold was a bit of a shock. I don’t have any garden plants this year, only the potted cherry tomato and pepper plants that I brought inside, but I did cover the potted flowers even before the rain was over — just in case it frosted early. The wind was terrible so I had to keep covering the plants. One time, when I turned on the porch light, the little skunk was eating out of the cat pan, not letting the rain stop him.

That was Sunday night. Monday morning everything was wonderfully damp. The wind was no longer blowing, and I actually found some puddles of water behind the loafing shed when I went down to the corral. I also found thin ice on a little rain water in one of the feed pans.

It was 48 degrees at 11:00 A.M. Water drops glistened on the tree leaves and grass. It wasn’t terribly cold in the house but cool enough to be uncomfortable as I sat trying to write. I finally gave up and turned on the furnace, the first time since spring. It was cool all day, and before evening I covered the flowers again. This time there was no wind, so the job was easier. I also disconnected the hose from the house and took the short section of hose I use to fill the stock tank inside the shop so it wouldn’t be so stiff in the morning.

As I sat watching television Monday night, I couldn’t help but feel the chill in the house. I had turned the furnace on that morning, and I don’t know why I resisted turning the heat up — maybe not to give in to coming winter. Anyway, I finally turned up the heat and left it turned up for the night.

The cool weather is the beginning of things to come. Soon I’ll have to put the heater in the stock tank and roll up the hoses. There are other signs of the seasonal change, too. I can hear cows and calves bawling in the distance, which means weaning and marketing of calves is underway. More trucks than usual, with livestock trailers, are running back and forth on the highway next to Pipi’s Pasture, and hay is stacked up at neighboring ranches. There’s still more cold weather to come.

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