A woman for all seasons, but especially fall

By: 

Leah Lehman, Leader Columnist

Not only have we turned our calendar to September, but now the Shawano County Fair is also past. For some unknown reason, the temperatures have dipped lower than one expects for this early in the month.

Most of the weather in 2017 has been quite unusual. Only a few blasts of cold in the winter affected the ice and curtailed some winter sports enthusiasts. It has been a lot of years since I ventured out onto the ice for fishing, and I never ice raced. I know people who love it and couldn’t do it as often as they liked.

The warmth of spring was sluggish in coming, and winter coats and blankets were needed at softball games. Also, many games were postponed due to rain, which has come in abundance for most of this year.

Years of drought are not to be desired, but at times the rain was too much of a good thing. Farmers were delayed in planting the field corn, and now, with the cooler than normal weather, these last weeks before a frost are also worrisome.

Corn needs some heat and humidity to ripen.

While I no longer live on a farm, I still have a heart for farming and those who put in so much time and effort to feed the people of this nation. I have often thought of them as unsung heroes, trusting each year that if they work the soil and plant their crops, there will also be a harvest to meet expectation.

With thinking of farmers, it reminded me to look at that Farmers’ Almanac that I got in the mail last fall. For Labor Day, it sports a poem by Helen Hunt-Jackson (1830-1885).

“The goldenrod is yellow;/ The corn is turning brown;/ The trees in apple orchards/ With fruit are bending down.”

I recently spoke to an apple grower in the area who told me his crop is way down, and other growers he has spoken to told him the same.

I didn’t need to know about the goldenrod. I see it everywhere, and my stuffy nose and burning eyes know it is there also. So far, I haven’t seen any brown corn as yet, but still, it is a sweet poem.

Grandparents Day is on Sept. 10, and the calendar encourages grandparents to encourage their grandkids to garden. I know I have had mine help me care for things and get the beds ready for planting or for putting to bed in the fall.

The Autumnal Equinox falls on Sept. 22. Henry David Thoreau wrote: “Live in each season as it passes; Breath in the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit.”

I really agree with the “Live in each season as it passes” part;. I recently told someone that I love and hate all of the seasons. Whatever season it is, I am always longing for it to leave and the next one to come. I will admit, though, I have always loved autumn the best.

You may notice some monarch butterflies back in the fall for the last of the life-giving nectar from plants and flowers before making their way south to Mexico. Some favorite plants for them are asters, purple coneflower, verbena and butterfly bush, among others.

It is becoming rare to see a monarch butterfly in our area. I should keep these plants in mind next spring.