In four days it will, according to the calendar, be the first day of autumn.

Although of course there is an alternative school of thought which has the first day of autumn kicking off on March 21...astronomical reasons or something.

I'll go with March 1 because it is easier to remember.

Also, it has been a time of great rains recently so the sooner we accept that autumn, and the traditional showers of autumn, is here the better.

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And by accepting that March 1 is the first day of autumn means it will likely be a pleasantly warm and sunny day...like summer.

It's called Murphy's law.

This seasonal time of the year is dubbed by many as the "cyclone season" as they tend to start flaring up way up there in the tropical north.

And after they lay to waste some poor community's tropical isle roofing and moorings they drift south...either to Australia or down to us.

The eastern seaboard is one of the favourite locations for these wandering wets and winds as there's lots of sea out to the east where they can hover and create rain and send it toward the land.

While this latest burst of rain wasn't part of the cyclone which had been threatening to come and visit it was sparked by low pressure systems which were in turn aided, in terms of their location, by the movement of the cyclone.

At least that's how I understood it to be.

So yes, it is the season of the cyclone, and the timing doesn't quite fit for us.

For it is also the season of the apple, and other fruit of course, although it's the apples that capture most attention as there are so many of them in great fields close to main roads and as we pass by through the summer we see them bloom and ripen.

Going by what hammered down on Sunday night and yesterday they will need little washing once removed.

Ah yes, the removal of the apples from the branches.

This pursuit is not exactly a simple task, for while it is simple to pluck an apple from its spot it's finding the resources to actually be able to do that — in the time frame of ripening.

That's where it gets tricky, and challenging.

Because there's a lot of apples out there.

More apples than pickers.

This has become an annual dilemma, to the point where workers are drafted in from other lands to boost the numbers.

Meanwhile, the number of reasonably fit but unemployed local people sort of just keeps hovering around the same numbers.

Sigh.

But hey, it's always grand to see chaps arrive from distant places who are eager and willing to work, and who accumulate their earnings to send back home to their families.

However, there are still rumblings about a potential and serious shortage of fruit pickers, because as we know, there's more than just great fields of apples growing out there.

How do we find another few hundred, and more, pickers?

I have the answer, and it is very simple...which means it is probably daft but hey, it's an idea.

It would however require some governmental approval, and therein lies a slight impediment, as the groups charged with giving approval to something are all well versed in using figures to suit their ultimate decisions.

I suspect all aspiring politicians have to go through a course which embraces the manipulation of figures.

They can then talk themselves out of anything.

So, the picking plan.

What you do is you get the calendar out and you make a few inquiries about the timing of university terms.

You also make some inquiries about the heart of the picking season, and give it a four-week span...effectively the heart and the height of it.

Then carve up the uni terms and introduce a month-long break timed in with the picking season.

Send the students home, and off to the orchards, where they will achieve three things.

They will get the fruit in on time, they will solve the labour shortage and they will earn some much needed cash to help keep them afloat.

And it beats having a break in mid-winter.

Everyone's a winner.

Would it work?

In theory yeah, but the paperwork required in altering term schedules and things would be too daunting.

There would have to be commissions and working parties set up and public submissions and...and...ahh forget it.