In prepping the field for winter, we had pulled the irrigation pipe from the row. It was stacked in the center of the field. Euphemistically, I’ll call it “staged,” awaiting the gaskets and risers to be removed before it goes to its winter home, the rack at the field edge. Luckily, we had not gotten to it, because on Friday we hauled the pipe back into the row for the cole crops. Next, we’ll hit the dahlias. I’ll move it once or twice to give the cover crop a drink, and by then there will have to be rain in the forecast.Such a funny season, from beginning to end, like Mother Nature was tolerating us but not interested in helping us. Sure, she has provided the underlying core, the fertile soil, Sagg’s own black gold, but this year she didn’t send much feel-good weather.
Fall is here now, extending its August stay. If you look far off enough, if you’re not boxed in by a hedge, you’ll see some of the trees are seared yellow. I look that way and know it was once a ditch row; now it’s a driveway and somewhat more homogeneously cared for. Two more house lots wait below with 2×6 towers to emphasize the master bedroom view. A master bedroom, I can attest, will be more loved by the carpenters who build it than any man who owns it. In my case, it is not the loss of a view I protest, it is the loss of a resource by a culture whose ethos is remarkably short-sighted.
When you have a funny season, it gets people talking about winter. Everyone wants to know what to expect. It is possible that mankind was once able to read animal signs and thus know how hard to work for his winter storage. This era, if it existed, is over, and yet we do try.
Squirrels make great subjects, because they think we are great subjects. So there is no hard time in coming in contact with this representative from Nature. We delight in the way he diligently, dexterously pats the earth back into place. The number of nuts he buries correlates to the severity of winter. Indeed, everywhere you look, you can find a squirrel in the act of burying nuts. It looks like a hard winter is coming. We prefer that old wives’ tale to the other possibility, which is that there are just a lot of squirrels.
The average Hamptons manse provides the most upscale habitat of ease for the mischief-maker. He’s got great arbors to romp in and fruit trees that no human hand harvests. There is a copious serving of bulbs by the tennis court. If he wearies of this fare, a farm field is usually still nearby. Here, he’ll get seeds and grain.
Sometimes you’ll catch a squirrel running with a whole ear of corn, running back behind the auto gates, back behind the hedge, back to his house—the one that just sold for $20 million, and he doesn’t even have to move.