A much needed respite, but not far away. Grandson 1 suggested to his Dad, Son 1 that they go to bike the Virginia Creeper trail together and that perhaps hubby and I could join them. We had ridden it with one of his cousins and him in the summer of 2021. Between the scheduling and locating an Air B&B to accommodate the 4 of us, the medical nightmare occurred and we were unsure if we would be able to join them. By mid week, last week, we decided that it was doable, but hubby couldn’t ride, so I chose not to also, perhaps a good thing because only 1 bicycle was available when son called several outfitters. Since he was bringing some things to our house in route, he picked up his bike here and the outfitter took his to the top too on Saturday. As soon as they got back to the outfitter yesterday afternoon, they scheduling a second ride this morning. Son 1 decided to ride up the 17 miles, 1900 foot elevation rise this morning and meet his son who went up on the shuttle and they rode down together. We brought his bike that lives here back today. He has a nicer bike he uses to commute to work.

I walked some in Damascus, sat on the porch and spun, knit, and read. We explored some of the dining options in Damascus and last night in Abdingdon and arrived back home safely around an hour ago.

An abandoned house on a ride in the countryside.
The dam at an old mill, now hotel and restaurant.
Fall color and a spindle from the porch of the cottage.
My guys, this weekend, before we headed home.

The fall colors were perfect, the weather delightful ahead of a cold front coming in today with rain and colder temperatures. It did us good to get away from the house for a couple of nights, though it wore hubby out. It was great to see Son and grandson together for a weekend. Good memories.

It’s Done

The frost bitten garden was visited and cleaned up. Hidden in the burned foliage were a couple dozen more decent sized peppers that were brought in to use up quickly, or be sliced and frozen for later. The peas were left in place so the birds or other garden denizens can feast on the remaining small peas. The garlic bed was planted out with 36 cloves of garlic, hopefully to produce 36 decent sized bulbs to dry for next year’s use. This year as I didn’t plant garlic, all we have used was purchased from the vendors at the Farmer’s Market.

Once planted, it was covered in old hay, some erosion fencing, and two heavy garden posts as the chickens often get garden time in the winter and I don’t want them digging up the bed and garlic. The greenhouse will protect the greens, but the blueberry bed still needs a shield around it before the chickens can get in. If I can get a proper fence ring around the plum, there is enough erosion fence temporarily, but not effectively protecting it to protect the blueberries from the chickens digging out the mulch that has been used to thwart the weeds in that bed. The berry barrels still need to be moved. I haven’t attempted that task yet, but it will be easier now that I can take them through the long bed once the stakes are pulled. The overwintering of the stakes is always a problem. There is a galvanized can in the garage that leaks, perhaps it can be secured in a corner of the garden and the posts and stakes stood up in it until they are needed next year.

The chickens appear to be having pillow fights now. They have more feathers in the coop and on the ground than on their bodies. Molting hens sure aren’t pretty birds, but they will be so clean and fluffy when the new feathers grow out. They start with their heads and necks during molt and that really makes them unattractive.

Crafting this week has been very sporadic. Very little spinning has been done. Some knitting on a hemp spa cloth and on a gift, but little else.

With tomorrow’s day time temperature being very spring like, the hives will be opened one last time for the season, checked for brood, stores, and given sugar cakes. Some sugar was added a couple weeks ago when the orifice openings were reduced and the bottom boards added. With nights in the freezing range, they needed all the protection they could get. Whatever happens this winter, happens, I have done all I can. In the spring, I will take the beekeepers class, so hopefully I will go into next year better prepared.

I continue to go through “stuff” making donation piles, reducing files of no longer relevant paperwork, closing down parts of the cottage business as it dwindles away to non existence by the end of the year. Life needs to be simpler, and as I said before, we need people in our lives, not possessions.

Right On Time

Our first average frost date is October 10, and early this morning, it happened. We awoke to heavy frost and frozen fog that lingered until very late morning.

Tonight is the Hunter’s Moon and last night when I went over to lock up the hens, the nearly full moon and Venus were lined up over the garden and coop.

Yesterday, I hmmm’d and hawed about whether I really wanted/needed all of the hot peppers that were still on the plants, knowing they would be lost if I didn’t harvest them. A basket full was brought in, mostly green Serrano’s, a few each Thai, Ancho, and jalapeno. The basket sat on the counter last night as a decision was made as to what to do with them.

After a dizzy, shaky walk, while hubby watched football, the basket was addressed. Son 1 will get a quart bag of them next weekend. A sheet pan of peppers cut to dehydrate in a slow oven were done and put in the oven. They will take days of turning it on for a short while and letting them sit in the warm oven. I don’t have a dehydrator and don’t really have enough use for one to buy it and store it.

Another quart were cut and frozen to use in chili and casseroles over the winter, putting a second quart in the freezer.

The plants need to be pulled and put in the compost pile, the bed weeded out and mulched down for winter.

There is another threat of frost tonight, then slightly warmer nights until a week or so. It is definitely the end of the gardens for this year.