Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Last of the garden, Cornish, first goose and more cranberries

 Asia, our newest moma, and new milker.

 Tomatoes, finally.

 Lavender and herbs moving in.

Flowers drying for winter cheer and crafts.

I've been thinking that life is about to slow down anytime now. Now that the garden is harvested I'm feeling better. Although, I'm coming to the conclusion that as ready as I may be for slower paced days, I'm never going to get everything done that needs done before the ground freezes solid and the snow comes for good. I suppose I shouldn't say never, maybe when the kids are grown and out of the house? - not that I even want to think about that. Today the beds in the garden were feeling pretty crunchy- approaching frozen solid. I'm accepting that once again that I am not going to get around to pulling weeds once more, adding compost and turning the beds as I would like to.

I am proud to say that I haven't let much if anything go to waste this year. So I didn't blanch all the beet greens, but I did feed them to the goats. There is one more bed of kale I plan on eating through over the next couple weeks. I've already frozen as much as I want in the freezer. Today I pulled a few stray carrots and beets that had been overlooked, picked some partially frozen shelling peas, chamomile flowers and last of the lettuce and cilantro from the greenhouse. I think I might even get around to turning the bag of nasturtium seed pods I picked into capers (nasturtium capers). 

This time of year is full of goodbyes. Each time I pick a bouquet of sweet peas, cut another sunflower, find a plump shelling pea, I think this may be it, the last time I do this. I imagine gardeners all over Interior Alaska bringing in armloads of the last of their cut flowers, lining their hallways with squash and boxes of ripening tomatoes. I am so ready to turn inwards and begin meal planning with fervor. As much as I absolutely love simple summer meals, I spend just enough time in the kitchen to get it done. Keep it quick and simple. Well, I'm ready to have time for specialty breads, time to make my own crackers, tortillas and noodles. Yesterday the kids ate ice-cream (strawberry rhubarb goat milk ice-cream) cones on the south porch. It was only in the forties, but with the sun shining on the porch it felt at least mid fifties; another small goodbye.

This week we butchered the last of our Cornish and one male goose who bit me when my back was turned. We had seven Cornish leftover from several weeks ago who we should have butchered then but it just didn't happen. They were huge. I cut them all up into pieces, yesterday, made a pressure canner pot full of stock and tomorrow I am going to can it. I roasted the goose yesterday. I should have saved him for a special meal with family, as my family would really appreciate the meat. It was very good, more like red meat than poultry. He wasn't very crowd presentable. It was a pain to pluck, and so he was a bit hairy for company. I saved the feathers and down for a small pillow, and the fat for cooking. We've been picking cranberries the last two days. We had a hard frost last night, so this morning the cranberries were coated in frost and partially frozen. They looked like the fake fruit that adorns holiday tables, plump sugar coated grapes and such. So now I've got three more gallon bags in the fridge full of cranberries to dehydrate.

In other news, we've sold a few more goat shares, so we are up to seven paying shareholders which sure helps out with the feed bill. A young lady stopped by to look at buying a couple milkers or doelings yesterday. So it looks like we might drop our numbers a bit going into winter which would help out a lot. As of now the doe barn is going to be too crowded come the cold days.

Ah, October.


Ginger said...

It's nice to know you've accomplished so much, I had been wondering and knew that if you couldn't blog, it was because you had so much to harvest!! I look forward to seeing your food pics this winter, enjoy the slowing down season!

Sarah Rachele said...

Just found you blog through another blog I follow! and I see you are as goat obsessed as I am. :) Looking forward to reading more of your posts.

Plain and Joyful Living said...

Just wanted to stop and say hello. This is a nice time of the year isn't it?
Look forward to reading more about your goats as we still have to breed our two young does.
Warm wishes,

Emily said...

Tonya, I'll be writing more about the goats soon - when things finally slow down here. With the doelings, I try and hold out as long as possible to breed them, but start looking for heat signs and keeping track early so you don't miss it. Some goats are more obvious than others, mine are generally very obvious but then I've got bucks up the hill. Congratulations on your new baby. She is beautiful. and what a perfect time - I think, to have a new little one. Best wishes, Emily

Homemade Alaska said...

Your tomatoes are beautiful! Would you mind sharing some information? I again only got a few. What varieties did you grow? Do you plant outdoors or greenhouse? When did you put them out? I had asked you about varieties before and the Sun Gold were wonderful, the 3 we got anyway :) Thanks!

Emily said...

Tomatoes, well, I start them from seed the third or fourth week in March in sixpacks. Then I transplant them a couple weeks later, planting them deep so their stems are not so leggy. I tend to put them out too early, usually the first couple weeks of May, into the greenhouse or if outside, into Wall O waters. I always think they are hardened off well enough, but they sure take a while to get going, so I should wait, as planting too early sure doesn't help.

This year wasn't a very good year for me. I didn't ammend the soil in the greenhouse because I thought there should be enough compost and goodies in it by now. Apparently, I need to add in compost every year. Sometimes I work in some dolomite lime, maybe some bone or blood meal, but lots of compost or horse/goat manure is great. Last year I planted a fish carcass under each one and last year was a much better year. Then I just hand water, usually just with water. but a bit of fish fertilizer startup early, then grow and switch to bloom when they start blooming, wouldn't go amiss especially if they don't have enough goodies in the soil to begin with

I have had determinate tomatoes do almost as well outdoors in Wall O waters in a sunny location, as they do in an unheated greenhouse. If anything my greenhouse gets to hot mid summer. The cukes did great this summer and they like hotter temps. Varieties I grow, Early Bush Girl, Early Wonder, Black Krim, Slietz, Oregon Spring, Mr. Stripey, Early Cascade, hybrid Orange was the orange I believe, I've grown some others but those produce the best for me. The sungold is the only indeterminate I've been growing. I prune the tops mid/late summer to encourage fruit development rather than more blossoms. And early in the summer, sometimes i find the time to hand polinate the first blossoms with a paint brush. Best wishes with your tomatoes next year. Emily

Anonymous said...

Emily, Frost hasn't hit us (yet) and I wish I had not wasted as much as I have (although I think I'll pull up the pea's that are too far gone to put up, and toss them to the goats). I trust the bees are put to bed for the winter... (I didn't see where you noted any surplus honey...)

barefoot mama said...

I love all the color on your blog and the name is GREAT! I am too tired to read now, but I will come back in the morning:) Barefoot mama, TX