Tuesday, September 22, 2009

First snow and frost

Yesterday we woke up to large flakes of snow coming down from the sky. A quick glance at the thermometer reassured me that the snow wouldn't last long. The snow continued to fall most the morning but melted as it met the ground. We dawdled in the house as long as we could, making banana cranberry muffins, drinking tea and tidying. By late morning all that was left was a muddy mess.

This morning there is a light layer of snow and frost over everything. The lavender daisies on the back porch are still open as are the vibrant orange yellow gaillardia blossoms, but they are encrusted in a layer of snow and ice, frozen and still. The herbs and plants are still vibrant green but as the day warms and the plants thaw, I'm guessing many plants will wilt and turn to mush. The birch are looking rather bare and exposed. Only the most determined orange leaves still hang by threads. I would be more inclined to embrace this beautiful and exciting time of transition if we were more prepared for the snow and cold. Instead this time of year has us panicked and running around in circles trying to decide what takes priority; harvesting the garden, building the new goat barn, chopping wood, building the hearth so we can bring the wood stove back indoors or tidying up anything on the ground that we don't want to lose till next spring.

Fortunately I harvested most the garden this past weekend. We pulled the rest of the tomatoes and brought them indoors to ripen. Picked the last of the cucumbers and snipped all the herbs. I spent all day sunday blanching and freezing herbs and kale. I cut all the cauliflower and cabbage heads, they are filling our back up refrigerator at the moment. I picked the beans, peas and zucchini plants one last time before putting the plants in the compost pile. On monday Noah and I harvested a row of carrots and a row of potatoes. So far we have three two gallon bags of carrots and have only harvested a third of the crop. I pulled and scrubbed beets yestereday and prepped a bed for planting garlic. All that is left in the garden are carrots, potatoes, a few remaining broccoli and kale plants, and some swiss chard and hardy greens under row covers. I think we'll get to the rest of the potatoes and another row of carrots today. All in all, feeling pretty good about the garden harvest.

Dustin is about to have a couple extra days off. We are hoping to get the roof and walls up on the goat barn. We'd also like to get the wood stove hearth ready for tiling. These are the mornings for wood fires but the stove is sitting on the front porch. So much to do and so little time. I remind myself that one fall we were living in a tent and trying to get the roof on our house this time of year. Most years since we've been building some animal housing last minute. We've got the foundation in and the rafters up so I think the goats and chickens will be settled in their new homes within the next couple weeks. For now as I sit here looking out the window at the cold blustery day I remind myself that the sun is sure to come out again and temperatures will warm in the afternoons. There are at least a few more days of thawed exposed ground. The cool weather has me looking forward to the end of big outdoor projects. Lounging around in a warm house cooking soup and watching the kids play is sounding more enticing every day.

No comments: