Last night I was on my laptop with the real estate listings open in one window and Google earth open in the other, so that I could zoom in on houses for sale to see if the yards had enough space and sunshine to plant a garden and a little orchard. That's just my nuttiness in action, but it also made me think of a larger idea about the fall season. This is the end of one agricultural cycle, but nature is already preparing for the next because fall is a time of maturing seeds, and seeds inevitably imply spring rebirth. I was reminded yet again that agriculture—as a subset of the larger natural world—is a cycle without end. Virgil wrote in his Second Georgic:
The farmer's labor circles back on him
As the seasons of the year roll back around
To where they were and walk in their own footsteps.
In my present gardening mood, I want to mention Crimson Carrot, a sweet new website based in the northern Virginia suburbs that focuses on growing, using, and preserving the output of a backyard mini-farm. Whether you just want to plant a few seeds next spring, or if you're ready for chickens, bees, and cheesemaking, Crimson Carrot intends to position itself as your online resource. They have a good book selection, too.
Winter may be nigh, but spring lies beyond its far edge. Start planning your garden soon!