Tag Archives: fall

Olio – October 17, 2015

Olio: A miscellaneous collection of things.

This week has been busy and atypical.  Last Sunday, I drove Son #1 and Grandson #1 back to Northern Virginia from a weekend visit with us.  The plan had been to work on the staining of the south and west walls of the house, but again, it rained.  This gave them some much needed down time.  Son #1 and I did succeed in getting the leg leveling hardware on the extension ladder.  I had twice decided to do it myself and the first time I was too foggy headed with a cold and the second time, realized that because the rungs of the ladder extended through the fiberglass uprails, that it wasn’t as straight forward as hoped and I didn’t want to ruin the ladder.  It turned out that we had to go to Lowes and buy more aluminum metal strap to make spacers as the package did not come with enough to do the job.

They took a hike in the drizzle and fog at the top of the mountain and took Grandson that lives with us too.  They came back wet, tired and just in time for a dinner of Empanadas and Yellow Rice that always pleases everyone.  I used some of the last of the tomatoes and peppers to make a homemade Pico de Gallo with black beans and Daughter made a roasted Tomatillo salsa that was very tasty as toppers.

Son #1 and Grandson#1 took a mountain bike ride on the neighbor’s hill and up the gravel road off of which we live.  Sunday, before we left, Son #1 and I took down a dead tree and he started cutting it into firewood lengths.  I hauled loads up in the back of my car and in the tractor bucket and now I need to split  and stack it.  He will finish cutting it up when he comes again, maybe over Thanksgiving weekend.

Monday was spent being Grandmom in charge in Northern Virginia as Grandson #1 had a Columbus Day vacation from school.  We took the Metro into D.C. and spent some time in the Q-rius lab in the Natural History Museum.  That is quite a set up and Grandson #1 loves it.  We also walked through the history of the earth, erosion, meteor impact and minerals areas which he also enjoys.

Tuesday was travel back home with several calls from Mountaingdad that the roofers had showed up to realign and refasten the gutters, fix the leaking vent stack and attach snow guards to the front and back roofs.  This brought to our attention another less than stellar installation by our original contractor in that the metal roofing was not fastened down with enough screws and some of the screws were not even secured into anything when they tried to tighten them down.  We now have a second contract with this roofer to come back and make our decade old metal roof more secure.  We do now have snow guards to try to help prevent the snow from sliding off and taking out the gutters and making snow drifts across the front of the house and piling up on the south deck.

By Wednesday, they were beginning to threaten us with our first freeze due tonight, tomorrow, and Monday, so final harvest was undertaken.  The 5 gallon bucket of peppers that I brought in are all in the process of being preserved.  Three more pints of Jalapenos were pickled.  A quart of hot pepper sauce (mostly Tabascos, but a few Habeneros added in) was made and canned in 8 ounce jars. The smaller green bells sliced or diced and frozen for winter use, the larger ones will be stuffed with rice and ground meat and eaten for dinner this weekend.  The first two pans of Anchos are in a very low oven drying now and the house is filling with the spicy aroma they are emitting.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

There is a string of ripe Anchos hanging in the breezeway south windows and at least two more pans full to oven dry.

The potted herbs and houseplants cleaned, pruned and tucked in corners and window sills to try to get at least a few more weeks of fresh herbs from them.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The garden was turned over to the laying hen flock and they are quickly cleaning it up.  They have revealed many more pumpkins that I will harvest before tonight’s frost.  If you look in the picture above, you will see our grass mowing neighbor, on the other side of the garden and chicken pens, she pays us daily visits.  I don’t generally mind her visiting, but yesterday, she came right up to the house and left two large gifts that cows tend to leave.  The dogs went straight to one and the German Shepherd did what dogs will do and rubbed her face and side in it.  That prompted an afternoon bath as it was too cool outside to hose her down with cold water.  While she was wet and wrapped in towels, we pinned her down and cut her nails.  She really gets frantic when you do her nails and it requires three of us to do her.  I ended up getting bitten before I got her head pinned down with a towel and my forearm.  The other two dogs and Daughter’s two cats also got theirs done while we were at it.  It is nice to not hear the click, click of them walking on the hardwood.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The front porch got a fall touch, the fall Welcome garden flag and the large Halloween flag hung.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Girlie Cat (the name she came with), our barn kitty enjoying the warm sun on the front porch.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Much of our fall color is already gone at our elevation, the trees already getting bare of leaves.  It won’t be much longer before the only color at all is the green of the evergreens, cedars and pines scattered about.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Though there was some scattered frost lower on the mountain this morning, we ventured to the Farmers’ Market, got what will probably be my last bouquet from Stonecrop Farms for this season and supplied with some beef and pork, greens, beets, carrots, potatoes and green beans to enjoy this week.  We will continue to be able to get some meat and produce at the market for at least a few more weeks before many of the vendors pack it in for the year until next spring.

We love our life on the farm at all seasons.  It is moving into a slower, hunker down and stay warm period of more reading, knitting and spinning and no garden work.  I do still have to clear a bed and plant the garlic next week after our three nights of freezing temperatures and it moderates again for a while.

A Crisp Late Fall Day

image

image

image

image

image

The morning is crisp, actually right around freezing right now, but the sun is warming the day back to normal fall weather after our Arctic chill of the weekend. Even on days like this when the sun is out, the little alcove on the south deck is toasty, sheltered from the NW breeze. The view from the porch swing is stunning, though most of the leaves are gone now and the trees bare until spring. It is a great place to sit with a cup of tea and watch the chickens free range and look out for deer and turkey or listen for the hawks call.
The morning chores are done, fresh hay in the coop, chickens fed, their water and the garden hose thawed. I guess I should bring it in for the winter though that makes chicken chores more difficult as I then have to haul the 5 gallons of water from the yard hydrant to their run.
In spite of the shortening days and frigid nights of late, I have another broody girl. She has plucked her breast feathers as the weather chills and I fear for her winter health. She isn’t being allowed to sit eggs, I am removing them several times a day from the coop instead of just at lock down time. I’ve tried removing her repeatedly during the day, set a bag of ice under her, removed her to a perch at night, blocked off her preferred box (she just moves). Today I will dip her backsides in cold water if the temperature rises enough and put her in the meat bird pen alone for the day.
Romeo has nearly finished his molt and doesn’t look nearly as ragged as when he arrived. His neck feathers are glossy and darker than the hens and his tail feathers are coming back in. He isn’t as beautiful as Cogburn was but still a fine looking rooster and calm and nonaggressive toward people.
The greens in the garden perked back up, a mess of them and a roasted pumpkin are on the menu for tonight.
The reknit of the sweater is progressing and last night I ordered yarns for grands sweaters for Christmas.
It looks to be a good first half of the week, perhaps I’ll finally get the garlic planted or there won’t be any next year.
Lovin’ life on our mountain farm.

Olio – October 28, 2014

Olio: a miscellaneous collection of things.

We have had two absolutely gorgeous days in a row with mild nights.  It has been windy off and on, but Mountaingdad has had two great motorcycle outings, probably the last two of the season.  Tomorrow we return to fall weather, late fall weather, if the weather prognosticators are correct we will see snow flurries on Saturday.  I am definitely not ready for the white stuff or any frozen form of precipitation.  If it does happen, the pumpkins vines will finish dying off and the rest of the harvest will be made, the pepper plants and tomatillo plants will be tossed in the chicken pen for them to pick over.  I really need to get the garlic planted and well mulched before the ground freezes.

While Mountaingdad was off riding, I was enjoying quiet time at home.  Having planned on running errands and perhaps getting lunch out, instead I read, ate leftovers and did a bit of yard and garden work.  Late yesterday, a package I had been awaiting arrived, a Turkish Spindle from Snyder Spindles on Etsy.  I learned to spin on a top whorl spindle and wish I had learned on a Turkish spindle.  After watching a You Tube to see how to set it up, I was off quickly spinning some maroon colored Merino.  I love the way you wind the single on the spindle to create a center pull ball that can then be plied with another ball or plied off of itself.  Though most of my spinning is done on a wheel, it is nice to have a spindle that is portable to take when visiting our kids.  A few ounces of fiber and the spindle take up little room in my bag.

image

As I was spinning the fiber, I realized how similar in color it is to the yarn that I am using to knit the fingerless mitts to go with my hat and scarf.  I had hoped that the mitts wouldn’t be needed for quite a while yet, but they may be welcome in just a day or two.  I was unhappy with the first one and selected a different pattern to make it over and make the second one.  I don’t really have enough done to show them off yet.

On Sunday, we were notified by one neighbor that another neighbor who we knew had been sick and hospitalized but released and home for a few days had been taken back to the hospital by ambulance and his prognosis was poor.  This saddened us as he was one of the first neighbors we met and though we were wary of him at first, he and his wife had become friendly with the strangers in their midst.  We were even more saddened to learn yesterday morning that he had passed Sunday evening with his family by his side.  He and his wife are our age contemporaries on the mountain. He has had several health issues over the past couple of years and their cumulative effect were more than his body could take this time.  Our hearts go out to his family at this time.

Today we found out that the company proposing the pipeline has filed their preliminary paperwork with FERC, so letter writing will occupy our time for a few days.  Tonight we are attending a meeting on our legal rights.  There may be nothing we can do, but we are going to fight to the end on this project.  As oil prices drop, fracking become less desirable and new wells aren’t drilled.  Keep hoping that the oil prices drop low enough to stop this.  A sign we saw in town says it all, “Stop the fracking pipeline.  Preserve the NRV.”  If you want to read more about this issue, go to www.preservethenrv.com.  While you are looking, do a search for the pipeline explosion in Appomattox, VA in 2008 and look at the photos of the damage that a much smaller pipeline explosion wrought.