Wednesday, September 18, 2013

September Harvest

Harvest time is winding down. Here are some pictures from the past few weeks. We picked enough crab apples to make 12 quarts of applesauce, several sheets of applesauce fruit leather,one fabulous but labor intensive crab apple pie, about a gallon of dried crab apples and as of today, I juiced the last of them to make myself one bottle of experimental cider.

 I love both these pictures. Noah did ALL of the food mill cranking. And as you can see he took his job pretty seriously.

It took me all summer, because I never made the time to just get the job done - I'm sure most knitters would have busted these out in a couple sittings, but I finally got these cute little booties in the mail. I hope to have more time for knitting projects this winter.

My brother dropped off a front and hind leg of Moose for us. I was pretty proud of myself as it was the first time I've cut up a bunch of meat without my brother around to guide me. It was simpler than I thought and considerably easier than the goats, a lot more meat and way less bones. I had a lovely time. I escaped from the house for a couple hours in the evening, turned up Rising Appalachia, cracked a cider, wielded a sharp knife with confidence and at the end of the night packed a lot of Moose into the freezer. I kept some of the most tender meat to cook fresh all week long and it was like eating tender beef steak without the marbling. Then I packed my canning pot full of bones and cooked them throughout the days for a few days in a row, resulting in some nourishing bone broth. After straining and chilling the broth it was a mound of very stiff jello. I froze several quarts of it and have been using it to make Moose Harvest soup; a cross between Minestrone and garden vegetable. Thanks to my brother we should have enough Moose to get us through at least a year from now, and that would be if we ate a package a week - which is more than we'll eat unless I start keeping us stocked on jerky.

Tomatoes that ripened indoors. Better late than never. This is just the start. I'm cooking them down to a thick paste and freezing them to pull out for sauce later this winter. I'll probably dry some and make some fresh chutneys as well. I made one of the last batches of fresh salsa tonight, unless I suck it up and buy some cilantro, as I've only a little left. I have been using my own jalapenos and green cayenne peppers. Tonight I made the best fish tacos (with salmon) that I've probably ever had and I think it was because I sprinkled extra green cayenne pepper in my taco. Other than that I pan fried a salmon fillet that I'd generously coated in cumin and lightly sprinkled with salt, pepper and chili powder. Served it with lightly fried sprouted wheat tortillas, salsa, tartar sauce with homemade pickles, scallions, cilantro, lettuce and salsa. I think other than all the good ingredients, not cooking the salmon until it is well done or dry is key.

 Digging the first potatoes. I can't believe this was just a week ago, as our weather has turned cold now and I can't imagine being outside in a t-shirt right now.

 Dustin working on building a more permanent outside coop for the lower chicken coop. He and Noah stayed up late last night finishing it and moving twenty seven young chickens into their newly finished home.

 When I'm looking for garden chores for Noah, anything that involves a knife is usually something he'll do with enthusiasm, here he is cutting all the cabbages.

 Bringing grains down to the house to dry out. We have had so much rain lately that the grains and soup peas were sprouting. Craziness!

Avery turned five last weekend. We celebrated with friends at our local playground. On her birthday she wanted to dress up and go out to eat. So we had a fun day primping then we went out to eat at our favorite Sushi restaurant with family.

The kids and I hiked and picked late blueberries with friends at Wickersham Dome this week. It was cool and windy, but at least the sun was shining. This is our last week before we start up our school routine, so we've been enjoying being spontaneous and having a relaxed schedule.

Today we woke up to snow. It was in the forecast, but I didn't want to believe it and was still surprised when I woke up to a good inch on the ground today. This is early even for us. Most of the trees still have their leaves and we are in peak gold season. Usually our first snow doesn't come until October and doesn't really start sticking around right away. I usually think by mid October we'll have snow. I think this snow may melt, but not for a while. Fortunately I've harvested everything but the potatoes, some kale and some greens under row cover. This has been a good harvest for me. I started earlier and have been less stressed out as a result. I've been able to go back over some of the empty beds and weed them and add compost. I think by the end of this weekend I'll be done with the garden completely and done cleaning up outside; ready to turn inwards and have more time for family, crafts, lessons and cooking.


PatsyAnne said...

Emily, you and your entire family make me wish I had chucked it all and moved to Alaska with my baby girl when I had the chance. Its too late for me now but I enjoy my daughter's organic garden and 6 RI Red Chickens... its sad, they can't free range anymore because the other day a fox was standing right next to their pen eyeing them for dinner. When scared away all he/she did was walk to the edge of the tree line and hunker down trying to look invisible - he/she was chased further away but, as I told my daughter, she should have her husband put on better latches for the pen and a lock for the outside egg recovery door. Their pen isn't that large but its one of those "chicken tractors" so will be moved more often for them to find bugs and scratch. I can imagine the hunkering down inside now that the first snow has fallen - I'm a silly old lady because I don't get "cabin fever" - having once spent a winter out on a tiny island off the coast of RI. I loved it, cooked, baked, knit, walked the beach and road my bike into the tiny town once a week for mail and some groceries. I long to get that back again and possibly in 1-1/2 yrs after my 4-yr-old granddaughter goes to 1st grade, I may try it again. Now she comes to me every Mon & Wed after preschool and that's our special time.
Take care, enjoy your snow - I remember from you blogs the last couple of years that it is really early for a 1st snow - and an inch in depth, not just a dusting... Living up here on the Hudson River we were told that this winter would be brutal with freezing cold and a lot of snow - we shall see. Since I don't have to commute down to NYC for work anymore, I'll be content to bake cookies and make soup.

Anonymous said...

So cool to see you pulling off grains in AK! Is any of it for the goats?

Emily said...

I don't plan on giving any of the grains to the goats this year. But in the future I would love to grow more of their food. This year I'm thinking I probably have enough grain for a few weeks of bread and pancakes. Maybe I'll be surprised and have more than that.