….. the ground cover was so green in the spring.. now it seems way brown..
Green and brown each have their place. The green provides food for the soil organisms which provide food for the plant to make food for the soil. When it gets too dry or cold the brown provides cover for the soil organisms so they do not die. As the brown is consumed by the soil organisms the black carbon is left behind which provides homes for the soil organisms. So when you find black soil you know this prosses has been going on for a long time.
I hope that helps you connect your observation with the conversations you may have heard during the PDC.