If you think of farming as some sort of dance with the elements, this time of year is the tense and highly-charged Latin pas-de-deux between grower and the nightly low. The weather entered our corner of river bench this week with a new, more serious rhythm, and tapped our unsuspecting shoulders with the first notes of frost. There is no choice but to join that dance, listening to that sky, that wind, that rising breath of air up from the river. We make careful circling steps now, especially as night falls and we try to match every move of this new dancer. Every inch of skin feels the touch of this weather partner that can turn crazy at any moment this time of year. Last night we met it close in, face to face, felt the breath of cold and unfurled folds of remay. The white row-cover cloth billowed under the full harvest moon: a flourish and twirl to wrap basil, pepper, eggplant, against that frosty pass. We left the garden under that cold moon, uncertain what how close that frost might come.
It made its own flourish while we slept, and morning, though sunny, showed the moves: black tips of basil, lower stems left green; topmost squash leaves with a new dry rustle. It was a light pass, just a quick kiss of frost, not the big one yet. But the dance has started, and we lock eyes on the weather, feeling that exchange, the push-pull of sun, cold, cover, and harvest; seeking the last hours of growing when it all counts so much. Summer ends in just two days, and it only gets more dramatic from here on out.