The cold front had long since blown in when everyone got to the farm early last Tuesday morning. Such a remarkable difference from the day prior. Rather than arriving donned in loose cotton jammie pants (the farm attire du jour most of the year) and short-sleeved t-shirts, each person was bundled up to the hilt.

The boys sported hooded sweatshirts while they dismantled old hoop houses,

and Mary took it further still by adding stylishly striped gloves to her multi-layered ensemble as she harvested cucumbers (a crop that prefers warm weather just as much as she does).

If we really want to talk style, though, we need only look to Dana. And her hat.

Don’t let the photo mislead you. Although she appears to be sheltered from the elements inside the garage-slash-salad-shed, it’s chilly in there; all the more so when rinsing greens in sinks of icy water and then bunching those greens with frozen fingers. A jauntily tassled ball hanging off the back of one’s hat serves no practical purpose when it comes to protecting its wearer from the cold.

I suppose a tassled ball never serves a practical purpose, really. Its sole function is to be jaunty. And according to the online thesaurus, a synonym for ‘jaunty’ is ‘breezy,’ which brings me to the nuts and bolts (a synonym of which is ‘practical details,’ a close cousin to ‘practical purpose’) of this diatribe.

It was indeed breezy thatTuesday (yet not the least bit jaunty). Heck, the cold front that showed up here traveled with the same north winds that blew an enormous dust storm over top of Lubbock. We were grateful for the exclusion of dust, but those winds…they do test a person’s resolve.

After the sun finally peeked over the hill to the east of the farm that morning, warming us to a more humane temperature, the wind became more and more intense. Keeping a wide-brimmed farm hat firmly on the noggin is only one of the challenges. I’ve long since lost the strap from my well-worn hat. On days like Tuesday I can only shove the tattered thing as far down on my head as it’ll go, and hope for the best.

Luckily, fashion isn’t a big concern of mine anymore.

It used to be. I remember all too well attempting to nonchalantly stroll along Congress Avenue on windy days, dressed to the nines in designer skirts and four-inch heels, desperate to retain a modicum of poise while frantically trying to keep the hemline below my knees.

Some women handle defeat much more gracefully than others.

The hens side with me on this issue. Like most style-conscious females, they’re a bit modest about the wind mussing their feathers and try to avoid it at all costs.

The only way I was able to coerce our resident Blonde Bombshell out into the open on such a blustery day was by tempting her with what is widely known in henhouse circles as a girl’s best friend.

I’m not talking diamonds here. I’m talking cucumbers, cut in half lengthwise. Splitting them makes the scrumptious seeds that much easier to peck out — and that’s a practical purpose if there ever was one.

* * *

We have great quantities this week! Even we’re amazed at how beautifully everything is growing. For Wednesday’s stand we’ll be bringing:

The first of the fall season lettuce mix; Euro salad mix (French lettuces, curly cress, baby chicories and arugula); “bunching” green onions; beautiful chard; bunches of Asian mustard greens; Brussels greens; Purple and Golden beets; oodles of summer squash — zucchini, Zephyr, yellow squash and Cousa (with the weather soon to be much cooler, these won’t be around a whole lot longer!); Asian cucumbers; bags of arugula; three varieties of eggplant; and some odds and ends.

Jo Dwyer
Angel Valley Organic Farm
Farm stands:
Saturdays 9:00-1:00 in Jonestown on FM 1431 at the blinking yellow light; and
Wednesdays 10:00-2:00 in NW Austin at the Asian American Center, 11713 Jollyville Road (1-1/2 blocks north of the intersection of Jollyville and Duval)