A row of flowers begins the cultivated part of our field; Sunflower, Cosmos, Zinnias and Dahlias. Beautiful! (Thanks Mom!) There is always insect activity here. I was bustling about trying to complete a harvest for CSA when a flash of orange caught my eye. The orange floated above the flowers and drew my attention. I stopped to watch for a moment and realized the attention drawing orange movement was a Monarch Butterfly. It visited the Dahlias and Zinnias before moving on.
I have seen so few Monarchs this year. There are always patches of milkweed left in our fields for them. We used to observe the lifecycle with the kids. Now they rarely pass or lay eggs. Only occasionally one catching my eye. Nothing like the plentiful sightings we became accustomed to. So disappointing…
This is such a busy time of year. Not just on the farm but at home…Even a day not spent on normal farm work is filled with much to do. Over the last many years the Labor Day break begins the mental shift to the coming year. CSA plans, keeping field documentation up to date so planning and fall work will prepare for the coming year, and seed saving. I try to select strong seed lines to build diversity and local adaptation. I really needed to re-invigorate my tomato group. I lost a few varieties to diminishing quality, and poorly maintained seed. I also made an effort to isolate a few cucurbits with new seed. Saved seed should show fewer rogues.
The focus on the coming year is part of preparing for the SW Michigan Harvest Fest http://www.fairfoodmatters.org/harvestfest/ . A great time to spend a day in celebration of the current harvest and look to next year. Stop by and say. “Hi” if you make it to the festival. This festival happens on home territory here at Tillers International. Couldn’t be any easier.