Saturday, September 4, 2010

More Garden Pictures

Here are some more pictures of the garden. I took these not more than ten days ago, and now the difference is almost night and day, as we've had several nights in the forties and both the trees and ground cover are turning from green to more vivid fall colors. For several days I found myself pausing to scan the woods for the first blotch of yellow, not wanting to be taken by surprise and finding myself suddenly in the midst of autumn. Yet despite my attempts to prepare myself for the season, the woods did in fact change overnight. We woke up and fall was here and not only were there a few blotches of yellow, but it was everywhere, along with fireweed and currants turning crimson, and yellow leaves already dotting the ground.

There is so much to write about, but I'll save going in depth on some of what we've been up to for another day. We butchered the Cornish Cross this week. We've been enjoying roast chicken, bbq chicken, chicken soup, chicken salad, chicken burritos and at the moment I'm canning chicken stock. When the chicken stock is finally on the shelf I'm moving on to making and canning applesauce using local crab-apples from a friend.

Dustin has finally had a break from his busy summer work schedule. He has been cleaning out the doe pen with a skid steer. Today he cleaned out the Cornish pen and is now working on the Buck stall- I'm thrilled to announce. He has been cleaning out the woods, cutting up and stacking firewood from trees we brought down last year. Other priorities include digging some holes for root storage, putting a door on our milking area and installing a wood stove to heat our new addition.

Today I brought in bunches of garlic and onions that have been curing on the front porch. I also brought in all the tender houseplants that have been enjoying the summer outdoors. I've been packing away summer clothes, sandles and sun hats and have been replacing them with hats, gloves, boots and jackets, as I come across various bags of winter gear. We've been starting and ending the day in sweatshirts and hats, shedding layers in mid afternoon when the sun is shining. I've been making time to sit on the porch and bask in the sun in late afternoon when the day is at it's warmest - sixties and sunny - I'll take it.

Tomatoes in the greenhouse. Almost time to pull all the plants and stack boxes of green tomatoes in the closet to let ripen.

Just waiting on a storage option to pull the carrots and beets. We are talking about burying a few metal trashcans in the ground and then insulating the tops. Our first idea had been to dig into the hillside and frame out a root cellar - much more time intensive, and our days above freezing are numbered.

I've been picking sweet peas and bringing them into the house where they perfume the air with their intense and fabulous fragrance.
Sadly, my biggest winter squash, Sweet Mama. I've got a few more smaller ones, along with a small Sweet Meat, and one nice size spaghetti squash. I wish I had a couple dozen winter squash. They store so nicely in addition to adding nice diversity in the middle of winter. One of these years....

Leeks...mmmm.. Not one of the more cost efficient crops beings that I bought a bundle of transplants. But I'm excited about leeks for fall soups.

I think this week will find us pulling out the squash vines, tomatoes and green beans. We will probably pull most of the onions since they are mostly growing above the ground at this point. I've got greens under row fabric, in an attempt to discourage the moose. I may rig up some plastic covering as well to protect from frost once a hard freeze is expected, surely in the next couple weeks.

We harvested a bunch of raspberry leaves, dandelions and stinging nettles this week, that are now hanging under cover of our front porch. I'm planning on feeding them to the goats this winter. Other herbs I'm looking to harvest for medicinal benefits are plantain, wormwood and comfrey. We are still picking and drying chamomile and calendula although they are slowing. Several sunflower heads are going to seed, so I'll be saving those for the chickens and goats as well. I should be writing more now that the weather is getting cooler and we are spending more time indoors.

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