Fall Color in Kansas


| 11/4/2008 9:24:00 AM


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It’s Election Day, and the grass is still green. The animals are all grazing contentedly, and the trees that still have their leaves are pouring on the color. I don’t think I have ever spent the first full week of November with my sleeves rolled up basking in what appears to be a full-blown Indian summer … just one more reason to like Kansas, I guess.

Burning Oak Tree

Last Sunday, after I finished moving the chickens to their new quarters … their temporary billet was in the garden … I noticed that the large oak tree in the backyard had turned flame orange. That change happened rather suddenly after the hard frosts early last week. And frankly, the explosion of color in the low morning light took my breath away.

Fall has always been my favorite season. I like the way the dried-down corn rustles in the wind. I like the dusty, earthy smells emitting from the vegetation whose only remaining purpose is to condition the soil. When we were in South Dakota, I enjoyed the distant whoosh of grain driers located on neighbors’ farms in the sections adjacent to ours. The three days of bawling calves and cows after we separated them, while stressful at times, was something I looked forward to. 

Burning Maple



Fall in the country is a great time to take stock. Once the harvest is in, the community breathes a collective sigh of relief. The uncertainty associated with yield is over … price uncertainty might still be there, but at least folks know what their beans made, good or bad. Gone is the worry about timely rains or drying winds. Faces appear less strained. If it was a good year, farm stores bustle with entire families getting fit with new boots, coveralls and shirts. If it was a really good year, that Kitchen Aide mixer changes from dream tool to working partner.