Friday, August 24, 2012

Autumn Scramble

It is harvest time in the Interior. Low lying areas have had a few light frosts by now, enough that most zucchini, pumpkins and heat loving plants have succumbed - especially if they were not under cover. In the hills we are safe for a couple more weeks, but it is certainly time to begin the harvest, as much as we'd like to let everything just keep on growing. My bush beans, cucumbers and tomatoes were late this year and are just finally getting going. I'm hoping to make a couple batches of pickled dilly beans and pickled cucumbers over the next week or two. The peas have almost come to a complete halt, and so I should probably begin pulling vines and feeding them to the goats. One of my gardening weaknesses is spreading out the harvest. I just want to keep cutting broccoli side shoots and allow the cabbages and squash to grow bigger and bigger. And that is why I never get the compost worked in the fall - because before I know it the plants are frozen into the solid ground - oops.

This past weekend we took a short vacation. My doe who is due any day now is still due, maybe today? When we got back we killed off our bees :( and extracted honey. We had a very warm sticky kitchen and house for a night. Noah did most the cranking. I had to mop the floor the next morning before we even made breakfast, as it was so sticky to walk around. We are the proud owners of three and half gallons of our own honey - not a great yield or even a good yield, but I'll take it. My bees are still working on building their home; building wax onto their new frames - that's my excuse. I made some medicine this week with plants and weeds from the garden, tinctures of Callendula flowers, whole Spilanthes plants in bloom, whole Callifornia poppy plant and whole Plantain. We've been picking Callendula and Chamomile for tea and oil.

Our to do list is oh so long. It is the time of year where I need to harvest or put something up daily. At the top of the harvesting list are twelve very large crowing Cornish Cross (they've been on the list for a few weeks now.) I was planning on picking crab apples at a friend's today, for making applesauce - depending on how our doe is looking. The freezer is filling up, first blueberries, rhubarb and then raspberries. Next chicken followed by vegetables. It is time to make some lists so I don't go around in circles trying to figure out what to do first. The Golden leaves are falling. The Fireweed and ground plants are turning shades of red and brown. Are you guys feeling the autumn scramble?


Buttons said...

Oh you are so very busy but come winter you can relax a little and enjoy the fruits of your bounty. It sounds like things are turning out very well for you. Congratulations on a great harvest. B

adalynfarm said...

'killed your bees'? What?

Denise Wilhelm said...

Autumn scramble is full speed ahead here! Wish I had a doe to kid this time of year, but it never quite worked out. Oh well!

We don't have a garden to harvest this year, but we are having to do some major rearranging to get our bucks all set up for winter. They will NOT be coming into the barn again this year!

Lots of frost here already. Looking at the lowbush cranberries and rose hips.

Congrats on the honey! I'd take 3 gallons of my own honey!

Emily said...

Denise, I'm eyeing the cranberries too, they are pretty much ready here, I'd like to pick some this year before the leaves cover them up.

Adam, yes I killed them intentionally as I did last year and as most bee keepers do up here. I would like to attempt to winter over my bees someday, when their foundation is built up and they have a really great year, and when I have a good queen. According to the local bee expert they need 50 - 70 lb of honey to get through the winter, otherwise they will starve to death. Most beekeepers up here don't get much more honey than that per hive, so the bees kinda need all their honey to get through the winter. Some day my plan is to do four hives a year, keep the best queen or two, and winter one to two hives and dump all the bees into the remaining hives with enough honey - They have to do well enough first that I can keep as much honey as I need first though. It is too bad we can't ship our bees somewhere at the end of our season.

Emily said...

Denise, by the way, just noticed your profile picture and that doeling is gorgeous. Don't you have enough goats in milk going into winter? I thought you had several freshen this year... I'd prefer not to have goats kid this time of year, especially if I end up getting bucklings. I've got several goats for sale if you know anyone looking, yearlings, doelings and a milker or two.

Jeff said...

Question for you. What ration do you feed your goats? In one of your posts you also mentioned locally grown wheat; where was it grown and do you know what variety it is? Thanks

Emily said...

Jeff, I go back on forth on the exact ration depending on the time of year and how the milkers are looking. But basically I feed two parts whole barley, two parts whole oats, one part whole wheat berries and one part black oil sunflower seeds. I soak them for twelve hours drain for twelve, (kombucha and kelp in the water grain mixture) Then when I feed the soaked grains I add molasses and top with more kelp and alfalfa pellets. I feed about one and a half to two pounds of grain, and about a half pound to three quarters pound of alfalfa pellets. I also feed Alfalfa hay to the milkers at night- they each get about a few pounds. The grain ration is a little low on protein - I believe in the thirteen percent range? but it has been a while since I did my research - the alfalfa really helps up their protein. Let me know if you have any more questions. You might be able to plug some feeding goats or sprouting grain for goats into the search engine and get some of my older posts with links some of the sources I explored before making some of the decisions that have led me to my current regime.