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Enjoy the sights and aroma of the fall harvest season

September 30, 2008

Tomorrow is the first day of October and even though autumn officially started Sept. 22, most people associate October with fall. It won't be long before orange pumpkins, colorful mums and corn stalks will be decorating countless front porches and lawns.

In addition to autumnal beauty with fall comes harvest. The county's fields will soon give up their bounty. Looking around, you can readily see the changing colors of foliage of not only the tree but of the corn and soybeans. This is all indication of the ripening of the crops and their pending harvest.

While the fields give up their bounty, it does have to be taken. Which means many large machines known as combines will be combing the landscape and reaping the rewards.

There is what some people see as a downside to harvest and that is these slow moving combines cause traffic backups. It is important to remember that living in an agricultural county has its benefits and its costs. A little slow traffic is a small price to pay for such beauty.

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Slowing down is a good thing; most of us need to slow down and learning patience is a side benefit of slowing down. Remember those slow moving machines help to deliver your food. Be appreciative, not impatient.

The second part of the fall cropping season is the planting of next year's cereal crops such as wheat, barley and rye. In addition to the sowing of seeds, there is the application of fertilizer; which in many cases is manure.

The second privilege of living in a rural county is the smell of country air. Recycling manure as fertilizer and soil amendments is a responsible and civic act. In today's society, the environment has become a focal point, and recycling bio solids such as manure is a green act.

So enjoy the beauty and bounty of the fall season, and remember, be patient and enjoy the sights, sounds and smells of rural living.

Jeff Semler is an Extension educator, specializing in agriculture and natural resources, for the University of Maryland Cooperative Extension. He is based in Washington County. He can be reached weekdays by telephone at 301-791-1404, ext. 25, or by e-mail at jsemler@umd.edu.

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