Part of a Tradition

When you are weighed down by your garden’s summer squash, wondering what to do with the voluminous supply of tomatoes, and reeling from a bumper crop of peaches, it’s hard to think of cold nights and crisp mornings. But the bounteous harvest is a sure sign that summer is winding down.

That makes it a great time to visit the local farm stands and the Wednesday afternoon Derry Farmers Market, to take advantage of the close-to-home purveyors of fresh fruits and vegetables, farm fresh eggs and locally raised meat.

There’s much to be said for the new focus on local food – grown close to home – but we’re especially fortunate in our towns, where farms may be hundreds of years old and part of a tradition that is too easily taken for granted.

Farming is a struggle, and its unpredictable nature makes it a gamble at best. So patronize the farms that contribute to the rural beauty of our towns – they’re local businesses, after all – and discover for yourself how fresh, local food easily wins out over store bought.

And while the calendar may still say August, before you know it, you’ll be figuring out where to tie the cornstalks and how big a pumpkin to put on display.

Meanwhile, the late summer signs – yellowing of leaves and yellowing of the light – tell us to get ready. You may still be driving to the beach, but if you haven’t done so already, it’s time to consider how much fuel for the furnace to pre-buy. It’s time to start hauling the firewood closer to the house, and getting the furnace or the chimney checked. The message, of course, is get prepared.

Batteries? Lamp oil? Extra water? It’s never too early to prepare for power outages, a New Hampshire fact of life.

Summer takes so long to arrive, and lasts such a short time. Even as we complain about the heat and humidity, we know the days of ice and snow will inevitably follow.

But look at the positive side – we’re fortunate to have a chance to experience all four seasons, each unique and special and intense. And none of them are boring.

It’s still summer, still time to wear white and fire up the barbecue and lounge in the water. Still time to sit on the screen porch with the Red Sox on the radio. Still time for the pumpkins to turn orange and the apples to ripen. And still time to preserve our local crops to enjoy in the cold months ahead.

So enjoy the last weeks of summer. Fall will be here soon enough – and then comes winter.

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