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Fall Colors on the Farm
Growing up in eastern Virginia, I always heard people talking about going west to the state’s mountains to see leaves change in the fall.
Now that I live in North Carolina, I find that people still travel to the western part of the state for the leaf change. It’s so popular, hotels book up months in advance.
I was thinking about that this week, as fall weather finally found its way to eastern North Carolina. I thought how I had never gone to see the leaves change and maybe I should. Then I realized I see the leaves change throughout our growing season and never have to leave the farm.
I’ve been watching leaves on our soybeans change every day as I drive down our driveway. The bright green leaves have matured to a beautiful yellow. Eventually the leaves will fall off, leaving just the pods. Even the pods, which hold the soybeans, have been changing colors from green to yellow before ending up brown – a sign that harvest will be soon.
Fields of cornstalks looked like statues of green before the plants matured and turned brown, a signal the corncob was ready and the combine would soon be in the field.
Our flue-cured tobacco is raised for its leaves. They mature at different times starting with the bottom of the stalk. As the leaves ripen, they change from a deep green to a lighter shade. The color change continues as the plant is cured, taking the leaf from green to gold to finally a shade of orange.
We don’t grow cotton, but I love watching our neighbors’ fields throughout the growing season. I can remember the local newspaper running a photo of the first cotton bloom of the season. I still scout fields from my car as I drive by looking for cotton blooms. What makes cotton unique is the flower starts out white, then changes to yellow, pink, and finally red before falling off and leaving green pods. These pods, called bolls, will open up to expose the white fiber. Driving by fields of mature cotton can look like snow has fallen, which in my part of the state may be the closest we get to actual snow.
What fall colors are you enjoying on your farm?