Friday, August 14, 2009

My Sally in the Fields

After readying garlic, Frumento, Arabian Blue Barley, Fava di Carpino, and shallots for the market I make my way through the rows, roads and mounds of Ayers Creek Farm. As the summer wanes, the fruit blooms in rapid successions. Tens of pounds of Triple Crown and Chester blackberries ripen daily. Greengage plums show off their dusty bloom while tight clusters of yellow Mirabelles weigh heavily on bowed limbs The sweet smell of ripening grapes rides the warm air pockets that drift through the fields.

The cooler weather comes for a brief visit, the light is soft in the fields and the air blankets the valley in worn flannel. The wildlife responds to the shift. The voices of the young Acorn woodpeckers in the oak stand more consistent. The babies are now adolescents and the adults have given way to more freedom. The bees at the marble watering hole are less in number. Perhaps the cooler temperatures require less drinking water or maybe the rich fallen fruit in the orchard provides them with seasonally necessary nutrients. I don't know. But the frogs have moved upland.

The Pacific Tree Frogs, hyla regilla, congregate late winter through early spring in the wetlands and waterways of the Pacific Northwest for breeding. In the summer they retreat to a more solitary existence on land to dine on spiders, beetles and other insects. Because the Pacific Tree Frog is an indicator species it responds quickly to the health of it's environment. In exchange for a good home and plenty to eat, hyla regilla provides pest management services for the farm. Unfortunately, there is no cost benefit analysis of these services into the overall economic profile of this organic farm. For now, these partners get the goodness of caring for the other's best interest and that is not a bad thing in community relations.