Sunday, August 29, 2010

Moose in the garden

It's a hot cereal kind of morning. Cool and wet out, overcast and dreary. There has been a lot going on around here. Our backup fridge is overflowing with vegetables. We had our first Moose in the garden - ever.  For most Alaskan gardeners, Moose are our biggest pest. Amazingly we have never had a Moose stop by our place in the summer or fall. I guess we've just been lucky, but we were beginning to think that the smell of our buck goats was keeping them away. We have been planning on putting in a fence, but it is a serious undertaking cost and time wise and until this week did not seem pressing. To keep the moose out, we are going to put in an eight foot tall electric fence, with woven wire mesh fencing along the bottom four feet to keep chickens and smaller critters out.

One visit from a moose can be catastrophic. Fortunately I had some moose favorites in multiple locations, so I lost a few cabbages and Romanesco, but also a few were overlooked. The biggest disappointment was the celery. I had several beautiful celery, ready to harvest, just waiting to be eaten - completely gone. Almost all the broccoli got munched down, I'd harvested all the heads and have been enjoying side shoots. The moose munched on most the beet tops, so now I need to harvest the beets, which I'd been waiting for a couple frosts first, and a root cellar, or a better storage setup. The snap peas took some damage, the carrot bed trampled but mostly unscathed, the kale nibbled. Needless to say, as I was content to pace out the harvest, we kicked it into high gear this week. I went ahead and brought down the rest of the cabbage and romanesco. I harvested a bunch of greens and made and froze green soup this week. I covered the remaining greens and kale. I also put row covers over the remaining beets to try and discourage any more damage.

I went ahead and pulled all the garlic this week. A couple had root maggot damage, and only half of what I planted came back this spring, but there are some nice size bulbs. I went ahead and placed an order for some more garlic for planting. Last year I planted Northe, Siberia, Killarney Red and Chesnok Red, with the Chesnok Red the clear winner in size and hardiness, although it was also planted on the higher side of the bed, so was less exposed to the cold temperatures. I've been pulling onions as they topple over at the base. The beans and peas have slowed down significantly, but we are still getting some, so I'm not pulling the plants yet. A decent amount of tomatoes have been ripening on the vine. We are enjoying the fresh flowers. Currently I have a small vase of lavender, a jar of sweet peas and a bouquet of sunflowers on the counter.

We killed a few Cornish cross this week, and plan on harvesting the rest this week. The new black Sexlinks are beginning to lay. Dustin brought home a meat grinder this week, just in time. We think we are processing a pig this next week. The grinder is one horse power and can grind 9-11 lb. of meat a minute, and it has a sausage stuffer attachment. I'm planning on grinding up pork, a turkey, a few chickens and some duck this fall. When I get the grinder up and running, I'll take some pictures.

At the beginning of this week, I couldn't see any yellow in the trees. After a couple cold nights, getting down into the forties, now there are gold splashes everywhere. The fireweed and ground covers are turning orange and bronze. It is finally looking like fall. Today is our first wood fire of the season. The boys are bringing in firewood as I write this. So it is looking, feeling and smelling like fall.


Anonymous said...

Well, your moose to my rabbits. So far we have been lucky with the bunnies. A neighbor shot all the coyotes so the rabbit population has exploded. Some are bigger than our largest cat. But so far, they have stayed out of the garden...

As far as firewood goes, we have enough dry to get us till Christmas, and the alder that I will drop this weekend will get us till April, and should be dry enough by Christmas... About 5 cords total. I know a family who lived in Quebec for a time, he claims to have gone through 70 cords in one winter. How much wood do you put up for the winter?

Emily said...

As far as firewood, my husband isn't here for me to ask him and he is much more knowledgeable about that. But I'm guessing we try and put up around six cords or so. However we are putting in a new larger wood stove in our new addition as the primary source of heat, so surely we will go through twice that much or more. We also heat with fuel, we go through about six hundred gallons a year. Our house is very well insulated, our walls have an R value of 40. 70 cords in one winter! Sounds like he is heating a tent or a huge poorly insulated house. I can't imagine!

Anonymous said...

I believe he said the place was a two room log cabin. I am guessing it was a fireplace, not a stove, but i might be wrong on that. Love all the photos in the last post.

I wish my job were more seasonal, or maybe not... I would love to have a few weeks to spend around the farm getting it ready for the winter.