While this past weekend’s early low temperatures with Saturday morning hovering around freezing was another sign that summer is ending, there have been many more signs for several weeks.
The later sunrise and the earlier sunset have made getting jobs done with reduced daylight more difficult.
Our garden is done growing and we can enjoy fresh vegetables at a meal that only minutes ago were connected to a plant.
The green of summer is being replaced by the earth tones of fall with its tan, yellow, red and orange colors.
Birds are flocking to prepare for their migration and humming birds have been regular visitors at our feeder as they move south.
The barn swallow nest that raised two broods of five swallows each is empty. Will they return next spring?
Farm equipment that has sat still since last spring or maybe even last fall is emerging from sheds where they have been stored in anticipation of harvest.
Last week we made our annual pilgrimage to what I consider the last public summer event, the Clay County Fair in Spencer.
Frosted over windows will soon have to scraped for anything that sat outside overnight.
One big change was last week when we moved the thermostat from cool to heat.
Working outside means you start the day with a jacket and depending on the day, the jacket either stays on or is removed when the sun warms things.
Standing in the sun feels good where last summer we sought the shade.
Those outside projects that have been delayed take on more importance as time to get them done is getting to be in short supply.
For me, there is one task that means summer is actually over and it is a job that can go unnoticed.
In fact, it is almost imperceptible for anyone not paying close attention.
When I disconnect the garden hose from the faucet and put the hose away in the garage, then summer is really done. It is the final act of summer.
When the hose is disconnected, those warm summer jobs such as washing the car and washing most anything, watering the garden or lawn, filling the dog’s water bowl and the bird bath are over.
We had hoses connected to three different faucets to provide water where it was needed.
One hose watered the garden and another was used in front for watering and washing.
The third was in back near the deck where it provided water for plants, animals, and people and later in the summer, it rinsed the dirt off the newly dug potatoes.
Over the Fourth of July, the garden hose was used to fill the grandchildren’s new wading pool. We filled it a day early to qallow the sun to take the chill out of the water.
In addition to using the wading pool, they ran through the lawn sprinkler, laughing and squealing when the cold water hit them.
Certainly, once winter is over, the hoses will be reconnected to the faucets as a rite of spring when these little grandchildren will be another seven or eight months older.
That means there will be more development in their speech and physical skills, along with a little loss of the innocence that we enjoyed this summer.
However, they will have the same job to run and splash and it will be our job to sit and enjoy.
Then we can look forward to another summer of watering growing things, be it plants or grandchildren.
Rye is a Farm News staff writer and farmer from Hanlontown. Reach him by e-mail at email@example.com.
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