Farm Friday, October 27th, 2023

Winter is coming

Andrew Gaertner
4 min readOct 28, 2023

It has been an unusual autumn. There have been exactly two very light frosts, and it is almost to the end of October. Our typical first frost is on September 15th. That puts us about five weeks behind.

We have had some amazing fall produce: great Brussels sprouts, arugula, lettuce, kale, cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, beets, turnips, radishes, and more. But, because of the unseasonable warmth, we have been picking peppers, tomatoes, zinnias, and eggplant. Weird.

The season has also had some of the slowest change in leaf colors that I can remember. Every day the the landscape looks different. When I am driving as the sun is setting, I get overwhelmed with the beauty and I consider stopping the car. Usually, I am too much in a hurry to do anything so rash, so I just stay amazed as I drive. But it is a lot. It is like living in a painting.

Tomorrow the cold air finally hits. We will be in the low 30s and high 20s all next week. We unhooked the garden hoses and drained the outdoor water system. Today, a friend and I washed 400 pounds of potatoes and stored them in the heated woodshop in the barn. We picked the last of the apples, peppers, and tomatoes. And we moved all the onions, garlic, shallots, pumpkins, and squash to a place that won’t freeze. The kale, leeks, Brussels sprouts, and carrots will not mind the cold.

Bring on the snow and ice!

Random beautiful maple leaves
The oak tree behind our house
The wind and rain blew most of the oak leaves off the day after that photo. Many landed on the greenhouse
Protected squash and pumpkins
The sink where we wash apples for cider. I like the colors and light.
The blueberries are on fire
Guinea fowl on the pumpkin wagon
The school at night
A chicken was watching us care for our sheep
Our sheep, Merry, has some cracks in one of her hooves and has been limping. We have been doing foot soaks.
Franny snuggles.
I did stop the car to take this photo. On the week before Halloween, this farmer has an unharvested field of pumpkins. This is a mystery to me. Thousands of perfect pumpkins.

In writing news, I published two stories this week. Woohoo!

One was a piece about my policies for following people on Medium. It was rejected by New Writers Welcome because I spam-tagged a bunch of people. Oops. I seldom tag more than one or two people in an essay, but I legitimately wanted to show appreciation for these writers and I didn’t want to leave out any of my favorites, so it ended up looking like spam-tagging. Oh well.

The other piece was my monthly genealogy column. This month I wrote about ancestor altars, Halloween, and my grandfather. Everything is connected to everything, so the story also hits on non-linear time, Christianity, and Ojibwe Treaty rights.

Tell me how much you love the Netflix show Sex Education. My partner and I are watching season three right now, and I think Otis should not have broken up with Ruby, Lily is amazing, and Hope is out of control. Great show that gets better each season.

Thanks for reading, as always.



Andrew Gaertner

To live in a world of peace and justice we must imagine it first. For this, we need artists and writers. I write to reach for the edges of what is possible.