Sunday Morning

A blogger friend challenged to begin Sunday morning with a 25 second video from the front porch/door to show the changing season from Autumn to Winter. Here is this morning, a mostly clear, sunny, but chilly 43 f (4.1 c), quite the change from the past few weeks. We aren’t getting the pretty fall colors this year, most of the trees are yellowing or browning and the leaves dropping already. Some are already bare or nearly so. I don’t seem to be able to link it as a video, this is just the opening shot. The video can be viewed on my Instagram if you follow me there at spn_knt.

The last time I mowed, I had hoped it would be for the last time this year. The mower needs an oil change and the blades sharpened or replaced. I picked up a chunk of erosion fence in the blade last time and it was quite the challenge to get to free from the blade it wrapped around. Day before yesterday in late afternoon, I brought the mower and line trimmer out again and though I didn’t do all the acreage I usually mow, I got around the house and coop and trimmed around the flower garden in the back. The chickens love when I mow and run into the area I have just passed, gorging on newly clipped grass and the insects it disturbs. I am always amused when the Perdue chicken commercial comes on TV and the actor tells the family what chickens from other breeders are fed and to go down to the Perdue booth, that Perdue chickens are given only clean grain feed. If you have ever watched chickens, they are Velociraptors, they will eat snakes, mice, frogs, bugs, grass, seeds, and just about anything, they are definitely not vegetarian and chickens fed that way are not healthy.

We have two aging pups, the younger of the two has never been a healthy dog and for the past three mornings, I have had major accidents to clean up while they are outdoors and before I can feed them. That is not the way I prefer to start my day and though I really dislike scented candles, I have had to use a wax warmer with a sliver of eucalyptus scented wax with a chunk of beeswax to clear the air.

Our daily schedule generally involves a walk after lunch, today we are headed out this morning, so hubby can watch a football game and I can prepare Sunday dinner for Daughter and her kiddos. I think this will be the first walk of the season where I don my jacket that hubby gave me for my birthday a few years ago, maybe a knit hat as well. At least it is sunny and not wet and windy.

The End is Nigh

The past few days of early summer like weather is in the process of ending as we speak. A strong cold front is moving through with rain, some wind, and much lower temperatures. Last night’s low is today’s high and by next weekend, we will begin to see night time temperatures in the 30’s. We have passed our average first frost date, but it is rare to see frost yet.

The garden still hasn’t been fully cleared, some tomatillos and tomatoes are still out there, some dry standing corn stalks and a single Hubbard squash still on the vine, the rest have been brought in. The winter greens bed has nice rows of seedlings of radish, spinach mustard, spinach, and lettuce. They will be covered with row cover by the end of the week and later by heavy plastic as real freezes are forecast.

I decided to bring the spider plants in after all. There are two hooks in the utility/panty room with north and south facing windows, though heated only by leaving the door open to the main house. There is a wall installed space heater, but it is noisy and expensive to run. All of the baby shoots were removed from the plants and a flat of Jiffy Peat blocks started with a dozen tiny spider plants. They will be planted in the hanging pots to fill them in once they have roots. I figure they won’t all take. If they do, some will be potted in one of the various empty pots around the house and they can adorn a step or table next spring.

I couldn’t resist bringing in the begonia that has sat on the front porch table since the porch was restained and decorated last summer. It was just too pretty with it’s sunny yellow blooms to not enjoy for a while longer.

The jungle of succulents joined the pothos and Thanksgiving cactus that spent the summer on the shelf at the end of the kitchen counter, with the second shelf they had spent the summer sitting upon on the front porch.

The large Dracena that also summers on the porch is in a less sunny part of the living room.

The hydroponics are already producing salads and herbs, though the spinach and the rosemary are not germinating. The rosemary in the herb bed outdoors generally survives the winter tucked up against the southwest facing stone wall and I can cut from it as needed.

The season is ending, always a relief and a disappointment. The garden is in good shape to start next year. The paths that I so carefully covered with cardboard and mulch are mostly grown over with grass again, but the paths are wide enough now to use the line trimmer to keep it short. The coop needs another clean out once the rain ends and that spoiled straw will be added to another bed to hold down weeds and feed the bed during the winter. That will be an ongoing project all winter as they spend more time in the coop. The shortened day length is beginning to show in egg production. Last night there were only 8, the least I have gotten from the hens since they all began laying in early summer. They may stop altogether for a while, or maybe there will be enough to keep me in eggs through the winter, we will see.

A Break, or is it.

The past weekend Newbern Fall Festival was a success on all levels, except soap sales. The town, museum, and I all felt good about the traffic and sales. I took soap, stain sticks, salves, yarn, and some knit and woven items and spent two day behind the old quill wheel talking about the history and process of spinning. I added a quill full of finely spun Jacob to my bobbin and left about a half a quill full on the wheel. Of the yarn I took, about half of it was sold. Also a hat and woven scarf/shawl of the same yarn.

It is always a mystery as to what will sell at an event. Sometimes the soap sells as fast as I can reshelve it, this time, not a single bar (but my soap and salves are also in the museum giftshop, so some may have sold there). Often hats and fingerless mitts are the item, rarely yarn, but I sold 7 skeins this time. It allowed me to make a generous donation to the museum fund.

At any rate, my breed for the spindle blanket challenge is spun, plied, and knit into it’s square and a second breed is spun, plied, and 1 of two squares almost complete. I’m not really stressing over the October/November challenge, so I put my spindles aside, except for the one I carry all the time, and pulled out my wheel that has been so idle for many, many months. I have a 4 ounce braid of pretty Pohlworth wool and I am spinning it on the wheel. I purchased a skein of linen yarn in a compatible color and I am going to weave a lindsey woolsey shawl from them. I don’t have a plan for it; personal use, gift, sale, who knows, but I wanted to weave and had nothing but cotton available for the loom. Perhaps I should warp the loom with some cotton and weave a dishtowel or two to knock off the rust from my skills before I use the linen and handspun wool.

If I like the outcome of the shawl/scarf, I have another 4 ounces of sapphire colored wool that could be handled the same way, spun on the wheel, woven with linen or a tightly spun mill spun wool as the warp and made into another scarf or some cowls for the Christmas markets.

Yesterday, I received my personal property tax bill for my craft equipment and inventory and it was the most I have ever been billed. I look at my sales for the past two years and the expenses and question the wisdom of maintaining the cottage business. I do enjoy the demonstration and lessons I can provide at the events, and vending can be rewarding when someone really seems to like something I made, but most people don’t realize the time that goes into spinning the wool, knitting or weaving the garment, and thus my prices end up being only my cost without labor, so I am doing it for the pleasure rather than the profit. I guess there is nothing wrong with that, it does keep me in supplies.

Now to figure out how to market more than 50 bars of soap.

After the weekend, both hubby and I were able to get both our flu shots and a Covid booster. We are hoping for a healthy winter ahead.