Notes on the Grippe

Being an accounting of the recent and continuing pandemic and its various circumstances, from the perspective of an inhabitant of the regions lately called the Lost Quarter. Dates unknown.

Day Five Hundred Thirty Three

Harvest is in full swing in the Quarter. With the sweltering June and July and no rain to be seen, the crops are ready early, what little there is. Driving through the countryside one can see the swathed fields and busy combines threshing the grain. I remember those long days. A hot lunch would be brought to the field, eaten on lawn chairs set up in the stubble, so that there was no need to drive back and forth to the house. Dinner would be sandwiches and cucumber and tomatoes from the garden stuffed into an ice cream pail, picked up by whoever was driving the truck hauling the grain to the bins. It would be eaten while working and the work would go until it was dark and dew started forming on the swathes.

As a child those days always felt momentous. Everyone on the farm was focused on the task at hand and every moment was given to it. I remember the agony of equipment breakdowns that stalled the harvest in good weather. Having to race into town to get this part or that, hoping it didn’t have to be ordered. Or the despair when it rained, stalling out the harvest while waiting for the crops to dry so that they could be cut and combined. Every day of delay was another where there might be frost at night and the quality of what was being harvested would be ruined.

My love and I have had our own harvest this past week as we journeyed to a farmers market where the Hutterite brethren sell their wares. We bought peaches and nectarines from across the mountains, and beans, corn, cauliflower and more from the local brethren, all of which we then spent days cutting and blanching and freezing. Laying in supplies for winter. In my own garden the tomatoes are beginning to turn, though it is a small crop this year despite all the heat. The smoke seems to have affected the germination. We have plenty of herbs though and chard and kale. Soon enough I will be drying the herbs and picking all the tomatoes before the frost sets in, leaving them to ripen indoors.

Autumn remains one of my favourite times of year. Many dislike it because they see it only as harbinger of winter, a sign that warm days at an end. But for me it will always be a time where the fruits of our labours are realized.

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