Tag Archives: garden winter

It is gone – 10/23/2018

The garden is done.  We didn’t get the frost expected, nor the next night, but Sunday night, oh boy, it got cold.  We awoke yesterday to ground that looked like light snow and though it warmed into the upper 50’s later, it was cold in the early hours.  Sunday had been cold all day and very windy.  Today is the last warmer day expected for a bit, so it was a good day to pull the burned plants and toss them in the chicken pen or the compost pile.  Finish cutting down the asparagus ferns that never got finished before.  Dig the raspberries out and replant half a dozen of them in a controlled area.

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the asparagus bed cut down and weeded, still needs straw.

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This was the raspberry bed, only about 1/3 got covered with cardboard and brown paper feed bags before I ran out.  A tarp might be easier, I will measure and purchased one tomorrow.  The pretty green you see is the creeping charlie taking over.

The fencing job never got done either.  It is very difficult to do alone, but the garden needs some fence work, the chicken pens need to be reconfigured so that I can mow inside of them, when they are not housing birds, instead of just using the monster Stihl line trimmer to beat the tall weeds down.  The laying hen’s fence did get reconfigured  today and the piecemeal fence at the top of the garden that was deteriorating was pulled down.  Using a line to get my poles straight this time, several new T-posts were set.   One of them was necessary to change up the hen’s pen.  Though they usually free range, there are times when they need to be penned up.

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Their pen is now a big square abutted to the chick pen that currently has a broken coop and no chicks.  The cull coop stands alone and will have it’s own separate pen, but T posts must be set and a wooden post to hang a gate must be dug in.  Two gates will be purchased, one for the garden that currently has a piece of wire fencing staked over the gateway opening, and one for the cull pen when it gets remade.  The plan was to raise chicks over the winter so they would be laying by spring, but to get chicks from Rural King this time of year, you have to order 25 and that is more than twice the number needed.

Tonight, there is no fence at the top of the garden, but there is nothing in the garden but a few cabbages and lettuce plants as well as the raspberries and blueberry bushes.  Tomorrow is still sunny and more fence removal/moving needs to be done.  There are several sections of welded wire fence that are long enough to close in the top edge of the garden again without piecing it together and they need to be removed from chicken runs.  Another long section of the cheap garden fencing needs to come out from the between where the two old chicken runs were.  That  type will never be purchased again.  I am still torn about whether to shorten the garden or cover it with another tarp to kill the weeds and use it as a potato patch next year.  Even after killing it off, it may need to be a layered garden with lots of mulch or tilled.

The last garden task to put it to bed for winter is sowing some oats in some beds, planting next year’s garlic in one bed, and putting down some straw over the asparagus and garlic.  The weather is supposed to hold til Friday, perhaps it will all get done, except the gates.

A Tribute to a Mountain Man

Today a true mountain man was laid to rest on the hill overlooking our home.  The banner photo at the top of my blog was taken almost from the spot where he was buried.  He was one of the first people we met upon buying our land.  He was wary of us and we of him at our first meeting, but he quickly became a friend.  One of the characteristics of Appalachian men is to not to talk to women outside of their family.  He, though shy, was never like that.  He would stop when he saw me at our mailbox or mowing the top field and chat.  A nature lover, he would point out the hawks or the baby raccoons that he could spot before we ever saw them.  As a veteran, he was proud of his country and his service to his country, generally wearing a ball cap that stated Viet Nam Veteran.  He was a simple man that didn’t care what other people thought of him, he marched to his own drummer, but would do anything for you if asked.  In the past couple of years, he first lost a leg to circulatory issues and finally his life to Pneumonia on top of COPD, he failed fast and will leave a huge hole in his family and his neighborhood.  His request was to be buried on his farm, on his hill where he spent many hours day and night, watching the wildlife or the stars.  At his graveside, he was given a 21 gun salute by the local American Legion, VFW and National Guard.  His family presented with the flag from his coffin.  Like in life, he was buried in simplicity, in his hunting clothes, his Viet Nam cap and a simple pine box.  He will be missed on our mountain.

His passing allowed us to meet people who had just been names to us since our move here.  Our farm sits in the midst of hundreds of acres of farmland owned by his family, his brother and cousins, only a few of whom we had met.  It is a sad way to get to know them, but nice to be able to put faces with the names we have learned.

After the service and a dinner at the chapel, we hurried home to try to harvest what was left in the garden, one of his cousins, our closest neighbor coming down to help and visit.  We are expecting winter to arrive tonight and have snow flurries expected this weekend with nights in the 20’s.

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Darrell helped harvest any pumpkins and winter squash that were hanging from the compost bins, the ones on the ground we left to see if the leaves will die off in the freeze.  A box of mixed peppers, another of the remaining tomatillos and some greens were harvested, the pepper and tomatillo plants pulled and tossed in the chicken pen, the chard covered with row cover to try to save it for a bit longer.  The two cayenne pepper plants were pulled and hung upside down in the garage to see if the rest of those peppers will turn red.  He left after visiting and having a cup of tea with a box full of some of the goodies.  As we were cutting the pumpkins, we realize that there must be 35 or 40 more in the garden.  I need to find more recipes other than soup and roasted winter squash.