In the mornings, when we start working, the temperatures hover in the 40s. We bundle into fleeces and warm our hands on mugs of coffee. Our attention turns to take-down and break-down tasks, away from the mainstays of harvesting and weeding. This morning, we took down the electric deer fence. Our pant legs were quickly soaked by the dew on what's left of the leaves on the pumpkin plants. We wore gloves. The seasons are definitely shifting.
What finalized it for me was harvesting the giant pumpkins. Thirteen of the big-bottomed beauties kept us busy all afternoon. We heaved them into the bucket of the tractor, three at a time, then unloaded them onto the stone wall near the barn. Several of them would best me in a pound-per-pound competition. (Though I like to think I could beat them in a speed-reading contest.)
I remember planting the giant-pumpkin seeds into plastic cell packs, back when the weather was cool on the other side of summer. They were transplanted into a bed in a low-traffic corner of the farm, and they've been sucking up water and nutrients ever since, out of sight and mind.
In the next few weeks, there will be a weight-guessing contest, and the lucky winners will somehow hump the fatties home. The pumpkins will adorn 13 front porches until the neighborhood kids throw out their backs trying to smash them. By then, there will have been frosts. We'll be in jackets. Summer a memory. That soft thud, a giant pumpkin landing gently on a stone wall, sounds like the end of summer.