Here in Wisconsin there have been a few signs that our season is about to change. Crickets magically appear in the basement. A few leaves have decided that they've had enough of chlorophyll. Kids are back in school. Football has started. The nights are cooler which means I've been digging in my closet looking for forgotten sweatshirts. And sitting around the fire pit with an Oktoberfest beer in hand is the highlight at the end of a long week.
We've had an unusually hot and humid summer. I've lived in Wisconsin my entire life and I don't ever remember a summer that could cause you to sweat just by breathing. I love summer and gave it all I could to not complain about that gosh darn humidity. But it was oppressive at times. It was a challenge to dry our cranberry seeds with so much humidity in the air. It felt as though we were working in a sweat shop. We do have labor laws about that right?
I'm not sure I'd be happy living in a state that doesn't experience the 4 seasons. There is something so refreshing, so renewing, about the change. Each season brings it's own to do list and a menu of activities to choose from. We also get a host of chores that must be done before the next season appears. We are hardy as Wisconsinites and we know that we have to be prepared. I spent today putting away a few pieces of outdoor furniture, painting the front door, washing windows and hauling firewood. I also had the urge to make chicken noodle soup. Strange things happen when the thermometer barely reaches 70 degrees.
Things are happening quickly on our marsh as we prepare for harvest in just a few weeks. We've been interviewing for harvest help, taking water and berry samples to be tested, checking on harvest equipment, talking with brokers, and preparing for our food safety audit.
Sunshine and cooler weather help the berries turn from green to red. But this also means that someone has to stand guard and make sure that the berries don't freeze. Once it gets to about 35 degrees we fire up the irrigation to protect the crop from frost. Luckily, I've never been burdened with that job. A wise woman once said "never learn to drive the tractor". In this case, I never learned how to turn on the irrigation. Probably similar to how my husband doesn't know how to run the dishwasher...
So now we sit and wait on those little berries. They will let us know when they are ready by turning bright red. I guess it's when they have had enough of this season and are ready to take a long winters nap.