What a magical discovery it was. My home field is banked on both sides by ledge (hence the “hollow”) and there on the sunnier side, under an outcrop in the stone, are three glistening monarch cases. Just hanging there, a few feet away from Asclepias c. “Silky”, waiting. I know most of you know already, but just in case you don’t there are actually tiny drops of gold on these cocoons. If it’s not real gold, I don’t care; it looks like gold.
    
The cocoons are a manifestation of what I feel this time of year. I am ready to curl up and rest for a bit, ready to renew myself and re-emerge in a new form, hopefully more beautiful and productive than the year before. I have a little while to go before that is an option for me, but the cocoons held out the promise of my winter season.
    
It seems as though the Northeast region dodged the weather bullets that injured so many others this year. Most of my farming friends did fairly well production-wise, despite the dry spell and generally cool season. Thanks to those of you who were able to take a day and come to the Regional Meeting. We had great weather and good food, and my colleagues who hosted tours really enjoyed talking with all of you. Also, it was wonderful to see those of you who made it to the Portland Conference.
    
If you didn’t make it out to the Northwest, I fully expect to see you in 2009.  Long Island here we come! Preparations are underway for the end of September next year. We’ll need some help as well, for this to be best conference it can be, so if you’re interested, let Judy or me know.  Mark your calendars now, and please do yourself the favor of a couple of days off to rejuvenate and reconnect with other growers who really understand your business concerns and joys.

Have a successful rest of the season and a refreshing winter.