We had a crazy windstorm at Lava Lake in October, along with some early snow. One of the old cottonwood trees in the yard at the main ranch was uprooted, which is a shame – we will all miss its shade next summer in this sagebrush desert where trees are few and far between. The fierce wind that uprooted our cottonwood also shook hundreds of apples from our two trees. They are old varieties, and one in particular is really tart and delicious. I look forward to those apples every year, and was obsessed with a need to pick them up off the ground and do something with them. So my daughters and I spent a day sitting under the trees in the thin fall sunshine, gleaning many pounds of apples to be made into pies and apple butter. Phoebe brought her horse out and he munched companiably while we talked and worked.  Fiona wanted to know why we didn’t just feed them all to the chickens and horses, and I agreed that would have been sensible, and easier, but I was compelled to gather those apples and do something with them. As I considered this I realized it was my inner farmer speaking – some genetic programming coming from many generations of farmers in my family that just couldn’t stand to let those perfectly good apples go to waste. It’s the same impulse that makes a farmer save odd bits of metal and wood, scraps of leather and old nuts and bolts, saying (as my dad still does), “I might need that some day.” Farmers are the ultimate recyclers, composters, pack rats.

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It’s November now and the harvest season is drawing to a close. I hope you have a chance to celebrate your inner farmer, whether you live on a farm or in a high rise. Order the seasonal special at your favorite restaurant, make jam, pick herbs from your window box or save something you might have thrown away for some future use. Or just say a prayer of gratitude for the beauty and abundance the earth provides us every day. That’s your inner farmer speaking.

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