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By Staff | Jul 23, 2010

The early signs are here and they are, well, early. The early signs of what? Those early signs that summer is winding down and fall is on the way.

Swallows have started to swarm collecting into the flocks that will migrate south.

The grasses in the ditch have formed the seeds for next spring and started to dry down with their seed heads turning brown. Their year is almost done.

An occasional combine can be seen having emerged from the shed where it disappeared late last year. It may be parked near the fuel barrel where the fuel delivery person can top off the combine’s tank after filling the fuel barrels for fall.

Corn tasseled completely about 10 to 14 days ahead of normal. Does this mean harvest will start early by those same 10 to 14 days?

We are enjoying freshly harvested potatoes that are plentiful in size and number. The potatoes are a week or more early. Does a bounty of potatoes mean a bountiful crop is waiting in the fields?

The days have shortened by a small amount, small enough to be barely noticeable. However, our longest days are behind us.

I have not been in a store to see this, but I bet you can find back-to-school supplies on display and the swimming suits are now in the back room.

The push to empty bins ahead of fall harvest is underway. Making room may take on more importance than waiting for a better price.

The fields of oats and wheat are no longer green. The deep dark dusky shade of gold is their color now.

In just a few days the grain will be combined and the straw baled leaving a field looking like it just received a fresh haircut.

The wildflowers of late summer are in bloom. The tulips whose appearance we rejoiced about last spring are long gone.

A trip to the grocery store produce department is a treat and a person could have a delicious meal just from stopping there only.

Servings of fresh plums, nectarines and peaches to go with watermelon and sweet corn seem like a reward for making it this far in the year.

It is as if all creation is pausing to catch its breath between the rush of spring’s and summer’s growing season and the approaching fall harvest.

It is time to see how far we have come, where we are at, and what will be underway in a mere 60 days.

It has been another interesting year with some surprises, both good and bad, along with the occasional disaster to let us know we are not as much in charge as we like to think we are.

Maybe, just maybe, 90 days from now we will be looking at harvest’s completion, thinking about fall tillage and fertilizer application for next year’s crop.

Much of the crop will be stored in bins by then with a few fields already prepared for next spring.

That would be a welcome change from harvests of recent years when winter descended on us before we were ready.

Our corn crop is here and the soybean crop will be made in the coming weeks. While we wait for the crop to finish, we will enjoy the first harvest of garden produce and mow the lawn. Again.

Rye is a Farm News staff writer and farmer from Hanlontown. Reach him by e-mail at crye@wctatel.net.

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