The old dog doesn’t greet me. He hasn’t all summer. Instead, he lies on the cool cement floor in the barn. I walk pass, he opens his eyes, glances upward then closes them. His ribs, hipbones and the cogs on his spine are visible. Until this year, he’s always met me at my car for a head rub. Then he’d escort me into the barn. I mention this to the farmer. He looks down at the dog. “Well, I’ll tell ya, he’s an old guy, slowing down,” he says with a southern drawl. And I think: How come I’ve never noticed that he’s from the south. And how did he end up on a farm in Ontario?
Today, I’ve made the trip for peaches, and a watermelon I saw earlier in the week. None. “No peaches or melons?” I ask.
“Nope, two busloads of people showed up early this morning, so that’s the end of the peaches and melons for this year.”
I pick up three large beefsteak tomatoes. I eat a lot of them this time of year. Every week when I go to the farm to buy more, I ask, “how much longer before the tomatoes run out?”
The answer is always the same, “two, maybe three weeks, all depends on how many busloads show up.”
They come in droves to the farm to, ‘pick your own’ vegetables of all types, colours and sizes. In the spring: strawberries and blueberries. In the fall: apples and pumpkins. After Halloween, the farm closes. “Open maybe June or July next year, all depends,” the farmer says.
I look down at the dog and say, “See you next year, old guy.”
“All depends,” the farmer says and scratches the dog’s head. “All depends.”