Each evening there’s a dancing art show: swallows soar and weave higher and higher, snapping up insects, following the intersection of sun and shade as the sun slowly dips behind the ridge across Molino Creek. The disappearance of the sun takes more than an hour to make its way across the farm; the last light glows a deepening gold from the west-facing ridges studded still with many tall black spires of the trees burned by the 2020 wildfire.
I sit at the end of the days watching sunset transitions, noticing the many familiar but always fascinating evening routines. The world slows down and the stage provides each actor enough time. The raven pair trade an intermittent ‘caw’ tracking one another’s whereabouts as if to say ‘almost time’ before following one another with noisy slow powerful wingbeats, as they sneak off to their mysterious and distant night roost. Clouds of tiny beetles dance silently in dense clouds on the cooler sides of shrubs, backlit by the sun, lighting shiny wings. The flicker family swoops in for one last drink at the bird bath. First one, then the next and soon a hundred crickets are chirping- more when its warmer than cooler. With the increasing crickets, more and more stars shine. The western sky glows long after the sun has set.
The long days are fueling burgeoning crop production. The peppers and tomatoes are deep dark green with suddenly stout stems and elongating root systems pushing farther out in the rich, dark, beautiful soil. Two Dog Farm’s padrone peppers have fruit and are lighting up with constellations of bright white star-shaped flowers.
The warm days have been followed mostly by cool nights. Plants that wilted slightly during the day return to vigor as the sun rides lower in the sky. At night, those same plants are tall upright and luxuriant. Apples are still small, now 1 ½ inch across; the plums are growing quickly and starting to color. The tops of these trees rise up into the warm summer air; under the trees it is cool and slightly humid, no scent yet from any of the fruit- its too young! As its too soon to have enough food to take to market, Judy’s delivering the season’s first zucchini in neat small paper bags to farm neighbors, and we welcome these tasty treats as the first sign of summer. It’s cool enough to still have some sweet garden lettuce to be combined with geranium and salvia blossoms, baby kale and other greens, for a wealth of home-grown salads.
Thank You, Friends
We have deep gratitude for the various skilled community members that help our Farm along. Most recently the incredibly talented duo from the Last Chance community, Steve Barnes and Ian Kapostins, have been piecing together a bunch of new water tanks- 30,000 gallons worth- to replace some we lost in the fire. Their artistry and skill combine with nice equipment to create a much-needed bank of drinking and firefighting water. These guys have been sweating out the days with pipe and saws, glue and wrenches, on the side of a hot hill and in and out of dirty dusty trenches. How lucky we are that they are willing to help us way out in the country in less than favorable conditions! It takes a community to afford us the possibility of living and farming in this beautiful place. Thanks, guys…we really appreciate your work!
The sunrise dawn chorus has been mysteriously quiet: is there a hawk near the yard? At 3000’ in the Sierra last weekend, I awoke on several mornings to a signature dawn chorus filled with sweet, almost liquidy flycatcher song, so different than our sometimes sharp-peeping orchestra. Each place has its song. There, the chorus was short- half an hour before and up to dawn then quickly quieter. I’m hoping that our dawn chorus song returns soon.
Over to You
I’m hoping you step outside, leave your windows open, turn off anything noisy, and immerse yourselves in these long transitions of dawns and dusks. What is unfolding around you? Whose watching you listen for them? Are there repeating themes in your part of the world?
-post copied from the Molino Creek Farm website where I also publish regularly