***A reminder: Our farm stands are closed for the summer – but we’re planning to reopen both of them the last week of September/first week of October…depending on what Mother Nature throws our way in the meantime. The following is a little farm story for your reading pleasure (or not!):

As temperatures begin to hover around the century mark, we’re warned by media folk to stay indoors whenever possible. “Whenever possible” is a little different for us farm workers than it is for most of the population, but we do try to take precautions. Farmer John and I encourage everybody on the farm to drink lots and lots of water, and to feel free to come into the house for air-conditioner breaks when it gets too stupid out in the sun.

At 3:30 each day, everyone (except Farmer John and me) climbs into their air-conditioned cars and heads toward their air-conditioned homes. Shortly after, you’ll find John and me basking in the cool comfort of the Great Indoors ourselves… yet there’s no escaping the farm for us. Not completely.

Back in 1997, when we were drawing up house plans for this place, my first priority was to include plenty of windows. From almost every room we have a clear view of the farm. Looming. Calling to us to come work. Farmer John has a hard time ignoring that call (I’m much better at turning my back on it) except during the most oppressive heat of the summer. We do have window blinds, after all. One yank on the cord and the hot, hot farm magically disappears.

Sometimes, however, the view is just too darned cute to turn away from. Like when our six hens parade up to the front porch for one of their preening parties.

This is always a late day event. They come; they preen; they poop; they lie down for a while.

And we watch it all through windows. (The pooping part isn’t our favorite, but peeping toms – in our case, reverse peeping toms – are forced to take the bad with the good.)

The exterior side of two of our windows have become homes to Black and Yellow Garden Spiders. One big girl took up residence on the window above John’s sink in our master bathroom, and the other hangs in similar fashion on an impressive web at the lower corner of our largest great room window.

Notice she’s having a little afternoon insect snack. This is why we love these garden spiders. There are many beautiful ladies like her throughout the farm now, so unlike the dearth of garden spiders we experienced in last summer’s horrific drought.

While we take great pleasure in peering through the glass at garden spiders, it’s like a slap in the windowpane when a squash bug crawls up the side of the house and stops at eye level from our position at the kitchen sink. I think they do it on purpose, simply to taunt us.

Obviously there isn’t much room for brain matter inside that teensy head, but somewhere in there it must recognize what it’s doing to us. You can almost hear its tinny little high-pitched snickers, knowing we’re not about to leave the comfort of our artificially-cooled home to walk out and smash it.

Same with grasshoppers.

We don’t hesitate to pull the heads off these monsters when we’re outdoors covered with sweat. But once inside, once showered, we’re not eager to go back out for the kill.

We do have to go back outside eventually, of course. Now that our farm stands are closed for the season, everyone has set to work tearing out spent summer crops, and we’ve started planting in earnest for the fall. The greenhouse is filling with flats of soil blocks freshly seeded with broccoli, chard, fennel, cauliflower and much more. Already, young pepper, eggplant, tomato and basil seedlings are in the ground.

With August just beginning, we know we’re in for some brutally hot days, and many more afternoons spent indoors. Yet soon enough, as the days get shorter and northern breezes come to cool us down the natural way, there will be no more peering through windows.

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Thank you, and we’ll see you in the fall!
Jo Dwyer
Angel Valley Organic Farm