Goodbye September and Don’t come back

This month has been an emotional roller coaster with hubby’s early month medical double whammy followed by 10 days in the hospital, home for a weekend then an overnight in the ER with an infection. He is weak as a newborn but slowly making his way back.

Between the days in the hospital with him, then caring for him at home, the garden was totally neglected. When Son 1 was here one week during the hospital stay, we at least picked some greens and peppers, turning a blind eye to the weeds and dead plants. Last night enough peas were harvested for dinner for two and a half gallon of Jalapenos picked. Today while the patient snoozed in his recliner, a mammoth effort was begun to get rid of the weeds and prepare the garden to overwinter. Some of the sunflowers were hacked down and the seed heads hung on the fence for the birds, the upper half of the garden was weeded and the compost pile is waist high. The Komastuma that survived the Harlequin bugs was thinned and the row of carrots sown in late summer was harvested. The asparagus are brown and need to be cut and burned, but it is too windy today to burn anything outdoors.

Yesterday, a basket of apple seconds from our orchard was made into another 6 pints of applesauce.

The fig finally produced fruit this year, two small bowls of figs have been harvested and enjoyed and if the weather holds for another couple of weeks, there are more on the tree.

The larder isn’t as well stocked as some years, but we have fruit sauces, tomato sauces, peppers, and some jam are stored for winter use.

The refrigerator has fermented pickles, a gallon of pickled jalapenos, and hot sauces. Pepper vinegar is sitting on a dark shelf until it is ready, and hot red peppers are being strung to dry for infused Olive Oil.

Late last week, the night time temperatures started dropping into the mid 40’s so the houseplants were returned to the shelve where they overwinter.

I am hopeful to get a few more greens in the ground, maybe more radishes and the mini greenhouse repaired and installed before our first frost. It went down to 39f last night, but I don’t see a freeze predicted for the next 10 days. Hurricane Ian will bring us 1 to 4″ of rain over the weekend.

The trees are losing leaves and gaining color. The summer is over, fall and winter on their way. I hope we never have a repeat of this past September. I need to make sugar cakes for the bees now that nights are so cold and move the orifice opening to the smallest one.

Weekend surprise

Early in the week, Son 2 sent a photo of him grinning ear to ear and holding a 10 week old, gorgeous, female German Shepherd pup. Then on Friday afternoon, he asked if he and his family, could come in for the weekend. He, wife, 5 kids, the puppy, and their older mixed breed dog showed up around midnight and settled in for the night in their RV that lives on our farm when it isn’t on the road with them. They eat in our house, use one of the bathrooms so the black tank doesn’t have to be emptied each time they come, and the two pups came in with them. The kids are 10 months to 11 years, so lots of activity and noise.

Son 2 is the official bee owner and he and I went down Saturday morning to see if the queens had been released from their cages. One had and was seen on the frames. The second cage had all dead bees in it except one, the queen that had not been released yet. We opened the cage as it had been 6 days and she flew. We don’t know if she flew into the hive or away, if maybe they had raised a queen and didn’t want her, but there were two queen cells about to open, so we closed up that hive. The thriving hive was very thriving and didn’t like us messing inside, though we saw bees of all ages including some just emerging, so they were closed up too. I will go back toward the end of the week and recheck the second hive.

Back in the house, our very brave (Ha, Ha) German Shepherd old lady came down to visit with the kids and their pups and the young puppy immediately wanted to play. Shadow didn’t have any idea what that little active ball of fluff was that chased her around the coffee table, the dining room table, and finally back up the stairs where she could hide out. I wish I had a video of it, we were all laughing til our sides split at the 75 lb German Shepherd running from the 19 lb puppy and going to hide.

I guess it was all just too exhausting.

The big guy because of his age and infirmities has to be locked in the utility room when they are here, out of fear that a toddler that wants to love him will accidently cause him pain and pain reaction, plus he doesn’t like dogs he doesn’t know and we didn’t want to cause him more stress. Being confined all day is also exhausting, so he is in his usual pose.

Blocks were made into towers, knocked down, and thrown; paper colored and ripped up by others; bickering refereed between young siblings; lots of food prepared and eaten; lots of dishes washed. They headed home right after lunch today just before the thunderstorms began. It was an active bit of time and refreshing to have all of that young life around. We picked apples on our farm, I made and canned my first batch of apple/pear sauce while they were off canoeing, and sent them home with a bag of eating apples, and another of cooking apples for their own applesauce. I will pick more apples when the rain stops and make us another batch of sauce for the shelves for winter.

And the week will involved making a couple more batches of soap to cure. A new label, not a shop label has been made for the bars that go to friends and to Son 1 that he uses as gifts.

Tomorrow is a holiday, we will rest, take our walk if the weather allows.

I’m spinning some, knitting mitts, working on the Sashiko sampler, but not participating much in the monthly challenge.

It was a whirlwind weekend. More cooler weather due this week. I went out to pick beans for our dinner last night and the bean beetles have made golden lace of the leaves. I will pick the beans there and consider batch two a basic loss. The peas are blooming so we may get some of them in a few weeks.

The Garden is winning

Usually in July and August, it is fairly dry, the grass doesn’t need mowing often, the weeds in the garden slow down and most of the bugs are gone. Not this year. We have had lots of light rain, not enough to fill the creeks, but enough to stimulate weed and grass growth and with it, the bugs. Yesterday evening and overnight, it rained enough to fill the 5″ deep round tub in the chicken pen and our driveway looks like it has canyons.

To add to this, the line trimmer has been acting up and either catching the line or “eating it” so with the wet grass and the malfunctioning equipment, the grass in the paths of the garden was higher than my garden boots. In some places it is easy to pull, not in others. I finally took the gas push mower over and mowed as much as I could, crawled around on the wet ground and hand pulled as much more as I could until my hands were cramped and it was time to come in and prepare dinner. Four of the tomato plants were done producing, so they were pulled. The others trimmed back of branches with no fruit and no leaves, the deadnettle, clover, and other invaders pulled from around the peppers and basil to give them a chance to continue producing, and about 2/3 of the blueberry bed was again hand weeded. I need to finish that job. I don’t know what the insidious creeping weed in that bed is, but I really need to find a solution to rid the garden of it. I don’t like plastic, but I’m really toying with using a roll of black plastic weighted down with rocks to kill it off around the edges and in the paths and then pull it back up and put down new cardboard and several inches of wood chips. I’m also considering transplanting them in late fall to the bed I was going to reconstruct, putting the berry barrels at the other end and filling it with wood chips, then shortening the garden by 6 or 7 feet on the south edge as it has just gotten to be more than I am willing to deal with. There will still be 3 squares about 4 feet each, three 4 X 6 or 7′ beds, and one that is 4 X 14′. Plenty of space for a garden for two. Plus the garden behind the house with flowers, the fig, and herbs.

Finished at dark.