Another Glorious Day

It is clear and crisp, cool enough for a light wool in the mornings and evenings, and a light long sleeved shirt when working outdoors during the day. This is my favorite time of the year, after it cools off, but before it gets cold.

The Asian Pear Marmalade was made yesterday afternoon. It took forever to cook to jam consistency, but it is thick and a beautiful golden color. The 3 pounds of pears and an orange, filled 4 half pints plus a quarter pint jar with just enough left over to enjoy warm on a biscuit remaining from Friday night’s dinner.

Last week, I began a ferment of some of the small Eggplants that I had gotten at the Farmer’s Market. It has been sitting on the back of the counter all week with the ferment weight and ferment lid, all covered with a small towel. I hadn’t even peeked at it all week and decided to check it this morning. What a gorgeous color it turned and the ferment is so good. I have to thank a local friend for introducing me to fermented eggplant many years ago, and a distant online friend for reminding me of it now that I ferment so many good foods. I bought zesty salad mix and radishes at the Farmer’s market yesterday and a block of goat milk Feta cheese last week. I think a salad with those items and some of the eggplant and a tomato if I can find a ripe one will be a nice addition to dinner tonight.

As soon as the morning sun and wind dry the garden leaves, I will pick beans and any other produce ready to come in for the freezer. Soon, the remaining beans will be left to mature and dry to save for planting next year. I have planted this variety for a couple of years and they perform very well here. Last year I didn’t save the seed and had to purchase seed, but bean seed is so easy to save. When the peas start producing, I will harvest to enjoy and also let them mature and dry for saving. Some packages of seed I use have so many seed in them that the package will last two or three years, and some seed is so tiny and difficult to save, I just purchase when I need more. I suspect I will have volunteer tomatillo all over the place next year and have in the past, dug them and relocated them where I wanted them to grow.

Since my newest spindle arrived during the week, I have been spinning mostly on it to get used to it’s size and weight and because when it spins, the wood grain of the figured Bigleaf Maple makes the most interesting concentric circles, very mesmerizing. This is the second turtle of fiber on it. It would hold a lot, but I am trying to keep the colors of the braid consistent enough that the plied yarn will be similar to the first half of the braid that I finished last month.

Another week gone

Where do they go, it seems like yesterday that we went to the Farmer’s Market, yet today was market day again. This week we arrived about 10 minutes before opening time and I stood in line with about a dozen other people to pick up my preorders and see if there was anything from other vendors that I don’t have pre-order info for and who aren’t on the market’s pre-order site. Several of the vendors were still setting up, but I came home with goodies for the week. I hadn’t pre-ordered figs this week, but still purchased a half dozen to just eat and enjoy and while talking to the vendor, she said there would be more later because of the late frost last spring, so I came home and checked my fig and it has about a dozen figs growing on it! I’m very excited, and to protect it from the midnight marauders, I decided the flimsy wire fence ring standing loosely around it was insufficient and set about to build the mini greenhouse to protect it this winter, but alas, the corrugated plastic sheets on the chicken tractor are too brittle to reuse. Not to be thwarted, I had some green erosion fencing and step in posts and with 8 posts and the erosion fencing cut long enough to hang over the tops toward the center, it is now well protected from the deer. Grass was cleared back away from it again and a new layer of hay mulch put around the base.

This structure is more stable than the wire ring, so I may just wrap it in heavy mil translucent plastic for winter. Maybe the 7 foot tall posts I used for the tall tomatoes can be arranged in a way to make a teepee shape that can be wrapped.

When you still don’t have mowers, but you have to be able to get to the coop and gardens without getting wet to the knees by the tall grass, you just do what you have to do. The line trimmer to the rescue, again.

I can get to the coop, the gardens, and the bird feeders. Maybe the mowers will come home this week. I actually went all the way around the house and walled garden and most of the way around the vegetable garden as well, all on less than one battery charge. That trimmer was a good purchase.

At the market, I found Asian Pears and bought enough to make some Asian Pear Marmalade. I will have to go scrounge jars to can it, but that is on my agenda for today or tomorrow while the daytime temperatures are in the low 60’s (mid teens celsius).

Also taking advantage of the nice day, the little rose was given an in ground permanent home. If necessary, I will cover it with a feed bucket if a hard freeze is threatened until it is fully established by next summer.

My second string of Thai peppers was started for drying. The first one reached the end of the doubled floss and is hanging on the end of the kitchen cabinet until the peppers are dry and needed. There are hundreds of them out there and each day another dozen or so have ripened red and come in to be strung.

I received an email that the fall garlic was being shipped, I will keep an eye out for it and keep it cool until it is time to plant it here. I think I should thin the salad mix I started in the house and put some of the seedlings in the a garden.

I’ve had a break, an apple and goat cheese, now back to work. I love the cooler days, but dread the cold of winter.

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.