Spin, knit, cook, read, walk, and vote

The bulk of my time with the garden in Autumn decline is to spin on my spindles.

Knit on a project I can’t share yet, as it is a gift.

Cook at home. When you want Lasagna and it makes way too much for two, get creative. If Stouffers can do it, so can I.

One for the oven, three for the freezer to be enjoyed on other nights. Made with local cheese, my pasta sauce.

Re-reading for about the 10th time my favorite book that recenters me each time I read it and reinforces my belief in buy local, eat local, grow it yourself if you can.

Take walks at the pond, there is always something new to see. The wildfowl have been absent for the summer, but there was a pair of ducks, an 18″ long garter snake, the usual plethora of turtles, and lovely light play in the woods.

One of these causes seasonal allergies, one does not, do you know which?

We had decided to vote absentee ballot this year due to the pandemic, but today when they came, we drove them straight to the county seat unopened and voted early in person.

No crowd, no line, two masked workers behind a shield wall, so safe and no chance that our ballot would be dismissed for whatever reason. Then we got home to find an article from Forbes on how the Trump Campaign is actively considering how to bypass the results if he doesn’t win. What happened to free and fair elections in this country? What will happen to this country?

Autumn is upon us

The sunflowers are gone, the tomatoes have stopped producing with a few green ones left, the corn stalks are browning. The asparagus ferns have been cut back and the bed weeded, to be burned after it has all dried and nothing is growing near that bed. Peppers, beans, peas, and ground cherries are loving the cooler nights. Most of the locals have already plowed under their summer gardens, I’m milking mine for every veggie and fruit it will provide. The Autumnal Equinox is in 3 days, meteorological autumn arrived 18 days ago. This time of the year is bittersweet as by now, I’m tired of weeding, but not ready for the end of fresh vegetables from my own gardens. We are facing 5 or 6 days of cooler days and chilly nights.

Ground cherries forming
The sole pumpkin found when the corn patch was cleared.
The pile of cornstalks, sunflower stems, and asparagus tops to be shredded or burned.

The hunters are beginning to ask permission to hunt on our farm. This I also have mixed feelings about. I enjoy seeing the wildlife and the safety of not having hunters walking about our property, but good community relationships are important too and we often get small tasks that I can’t do offered in return. One of those tasks is to repair/re-level a sagging gutter in the back of the house. I won’t go up a tall ladder any longer, I can’t risk a broken hip or worse if I have an incident.

We still haven’t gotten our mowers back and I am afraid the grass is so tall that they won’t be able to handle it. I may have to wait for the first real frost to hit it before it gets mowed down again, unless we get the replacement brush hog. I will just continue to line trim paths and around the foundation and gardens.

The chickadees, tufted titmouse(s)/mice, and cardinals are returning to the feeders with the finches that have continued to feed. The hummingbirds are still visiting their feeders and checking all of the remaining flowers. They usually leave by the end of the first week of October, then their feeders will be brought in washed, sanitized, and stored until spring.

When it isn’t raining, we take an evening walk, usually at the pond as it isn’t as crowded as town. The wild Asters are blooming, the one below was much more lavender than the photo, fungi of various shapes abound, and I love the reflection on the water.

For now, we will enjoy the cooler weather, safely but sadly alone.

Arrrgh, mowing equipment

After I posted yesterday, I went down and put the new belt on the mower deck being very careful not to get it twisted and to follow the installation diagram. The engine started right up, I pulled out of the garage, engaged the mower, got about halfway around the front yard once and it ate the new belt. Something must be misaligned, a pulley, unlevel deck, something. So I pulled out the gas push mower to finish the front and mow a path to the chicken coop, yard hydrant, and garden. It hasn’t been started since April and it wouldn’t start. I thought I was going to dislocate my shoulder trying to get it running. Finally, I pulled the new line trimmer down, weed whacked the paths to the coop, hydrant, and garden and came in totally frustrated. A call to the local reliable repair shop to see if they worked on that brand of riding mower and they do, so the trailer was hooked up, the mower loaded and since we were headed there anyway, put the push mower on the trailer too and delivered them to be checked out, adjusted, and hopefully repaired without costing us a month’s retirement installment. Until they are returned, I will just keep paths whacked to the cars, the coop, and the garden.

We are due more rain today and tomorrow, but since the weather is cooling off, hopefully the grass won’t grow so much it can’t easily be mowed.

The reuseable lids arrived yesterday. I have placed an order at the Natural foods store and put pears on the list. If they have any, I will make my marmalade. If not, I will check the Farmer’s Market again on Saturday when I go to pick up my pre-ordered goods. I am still hopeful that since pears are a fall fruit that I will find some variety to use. I have moved some dry goods to old salsa jars and empty tins to free up a few more of the half pint size jars and with the ones still in the basement and a handful of quarter pint sized ones, I have enough for a couple batches of jam or marmalade, and enough pints for another batch of diced tomatoes or pasta sauce. I have combined some quarts of brined jalapenos to half gallons, so I can use quarts for tomatoes too. There are still a dozen wide mouth pints on the shelves as well, so there are enough jars and lids to finish the season’s canning. The beans from the other night added 3 more gallon bags loosely filled so they don’t become an unusable block of blanched beans in the freezer. I wish there was a more environmentally friendly way to store the frozen peas, beans, and corn. A sandwich size container is just about the right size for the two of us for a meal, maybe I should buy a stock of that size container that can be put in the dishwasher and reused year after year. I tried glass jars a couple of years ago, but you have to pack the beans or peas in water and risk jar breakage in the freezer.

Signs of summer fading away.

Wish we could share this out west.
Autumn Joy in bloom.
One Stella amidst the the faded Calendula which has generously self seeded there.
Enough Zinnias for a tiny bathroom vase.
Zinnias with ragged leaves and fading blossoms.

The garden is winding down, the flowers are fading, the leaves on the trees are dull and on our walk last night we could see the beginnings of color change and thistles blown.

Blown thistles and cockleburrs against the reflection on the pond.

Soon walks will require layers and starts before, not after dinner as the days shorten, the nights lengthen. And the seasons move on as we continue to distance from family and friends. Stay safe everyone.