We are now just over a third of the way through autumn, and for the majority of it, we have been blessed with beautiful weather – blue skies, bright sun, and while they remained on the trees, bright coloured leaves that made our part of the world look like living proof of Ian Tyson’s song, “I think I’ll go out to Alberta, The weather’s good there in the fall…”
That, of course, doesn’t include the days when it was seriously foggy, or showery, but we all know we have to take the bad with the good, and when it was good, it was very, very good.
Thanksgiving weekend, for example, was beautiful, even if the farmers barely had time to eat their turkey and pumpkin pie before they climbed back on the combine and take care of a few more rounds before dew upped the grain’s moisture content.
The following day was another day of thanks, not only for a plentiful crop yield, but also for all those many, many people and companies who made it happen, as Elk Point’s Acres for Ice canola was gobbled up by a pair of combines, who dumped their final loads just in time for a barbecue supper sponsored and prepared by one of the two machinery dealerships that provided combines for the harvest. Getting that crop off, all between lunch time and suppertime on the same day was the perfect wrap-up for this major fundraiser that will help our town’s A. G. Ross Arena to obtain a replacement for its aging ice plant, and keep our Avalanche, Oil Barons and Elks on the ice.
This year’s Thanksgiving weekend was a far cry from its 2017 version, when we sent plates of turkey dinner out to the field as combining went far into the night, and shut down as the first flakes of snow came down, with several inches on the ground the next morning. That certainly surprised our family members who came for the weekend and mushed back to Lacombe and Sylvan Lake in the snow, but was not a surprise to us. Our first Thanksgiving in the north, 40 years earlier in 1977, saw all our crop, which had been swathed before Labor Day and rained on repeatedly through September, buried in close to a foot of snow. That the snow all melted and the swaths dried out enough to combine in the weeks that followed was truly something for us to be thankful for.
This year, almost all the area’s crops are in the bins, or in some cases, in piles in farmyards, and straw bales dot the fields until the farmers find time to haul them in. Yes, autumn has been good so far.
What can we expect in the second and third months of the season? For sure, falling temperatures and falling snow, at least at times. The new almanac, for those who believe its predictions, says flurries and snow showers after a warm and sunny start to November but ‘frigid’ for the week when we will shiver around our cenotaphs for Remembrance Day. December has more of the same, only with some mild temperatures mixed in. Overall, the almanac calls for a ‘cold, snowy’ winter, which sounds relatively normal to me. That is what winter is all about.
But that’s fine. All our garden (except for the broccoli, which finally decided to produce, and is generally frost hardy) was harvested before anything could freeze, and our planters are indoors for the winter, with the petunias still blooming like mad and the two big spikes still trying to take over the world. They live in front of our downstairs windows in the wintertime, although the petunias rarely make it through November or December. I even have some surprise petunias, their seeds must have been in the soil I put around a new Kalanchoe I bought in the spring, They too are still blooming beautifully, apparently totally unaware of the changing season, and a potted mini rose bush that I had given up for dead now has a whole new set of leaves. I wouldn’t be surprised if I have a rose blooming for Christmas, when autumn finally turns to winter.