Tag Archives: peppers

It is coming

Though our days are still mild, with some low 70’s in the 10 day forecast, it is getting cold at night.  We had our first frost warning last night and though the basil on the deck and the peppers still in the garden didn’t look burned this morning, there was a frost coating on the windshield when I left to drive grandson to the bus stop.  Tonight is supposed to be colder.

Not wanting to lose the mature or nearly mature peppers that are still growing, I took a pail to the garden and harvested all of the red Thai peppers, the anchos and jalapeños that had any size on them.  There are still peppers growing if it doesn’t freeze tonight.

Peppers

While I had my hands in hot stuff, I took the jar of Tabasco pepper puree that has been fermenting on the counter for the past 6 weeks and made a jar of Tabasco type sauce.  It is considerably hotter than commercial Tabasco, but wow, it is good.  Unfortunately, I can’t find the bottle with a orifice reducer top that I had washed and saved.  The anchos that had been drying in the basket over the counter were strung to finish drying.  The red Thai peppers spread in a tray to dry.

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The season has to end sometime, but I was hoping for a few more jars of jalapeños to pickle, a few more anchos to dry for enchilada sauce.  If we get through tonight, there is no more threat for 10 more days of growing season.  Our average first frost date is in early October, so we have been given at least a couple of extra weeks this year.

More tomato vines were pulled, but I still haven’t prepared a bed to plant garlic.

Yesterday’s soap making hasn’t hardened enough to unmold and cut.  They can sit in the molds for a while, I’m not making any more until after the first Holiday Market in mid November.

Yesterday’s knitting on the Christmas Stocking got me about halfway through the chart.  Another day and it should be done and the rest is just knitting a huge sock.

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If you read yesterday’s Olio post and are not a knitter, one of the challenges of knitting from a chart is that you work right to left and bottom to top.  That is why the photograph of the chart is upside down.

Soapy, Peppery Successes

The great freeze missed us the first night, but made up for it last night.  Whatever plants were left in the garden are burned off now.  For some reason, maybe the proximity to the front of the house, the Impatiens  survived the night.  The frost was thick on everything this morning.  The car was started about 10 minutes prior to driving A (Grandson that lives with us, (Grands and grown kids will now be referred to only by letter) to his bus stop as he is Florida born and thinks that the 28f and frost mean it is absolute zero and deep snow on the ground.  He has been here for 10 months now and survived a winter, but he is still adapting.  The pre-start warmed the car and defrosted the windows without having to scrape.

The soap was a success.  Once in a while, things go awry and I end up with a batch that never hardens properly.  One batch couldn’t even be rebatched to make a usable product and as it was a coffee scrub soap, I couldn’t make it into liquid soap as it would clog a pump or nozzle.  There are 27 beautiful, generous bars curing with scraps to cure for our use.  Each bar was more than 4.5 ounces, some nearly 5 ounces.  The molds are just shy of 10″ and the cutter cuts 1″ bars, so I get a small bar that I cure for our use from each batch made.

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These bars will be cured in time for the first Holiday Market day if I am chosen as a vendor.  I just found out that decisions won’t be made until the end of the month and notification until November 2.  I am glad I made the additional product, there wouldn’t have been sufficient time if I waited.

The oven dried Ancho peppers took much longer than the internet instructions suggested, about 6 hours instead of 2 to 3, but the two pans combined here will make a good batch of enchilada sauce.

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The greens ones are sunning each day on a baking rack to allow air circulation.  Some are beginning to turn red and they are beginning to show signs of drying out.  Once dry, they will be added to the oven dried ones.

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Each night they are brought in to the kitchen to keep them from freezing or getting too wet from the dew or frost.  Each morning, they are returned to the south deck to continue to ripen and dry if it is a sunny day.

The remaining ripe peppers, instead of using the electricity to run the oven for another 6 hours, were strung and set on window sills in a south window of the breezeway to finish drying.

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The garden was very generous with bell peppers and Anchos this year, not so much with Jalapenos and Habaneros.  We take what we get and are grateful for the bounty.

We have one more threat of frost tonight, then I can join the chickens in the garden, prepare a garlic bed and get the cloves in the ground, covered with spoiled hay and row cover so we will have the wonderful homegrown garlic next summer.  Our first frost as I look back, was 11 days earlier than last year.  I need to be better about garden planning and noting dates and harvest, I can’t look back but a  year.

Loving life on our mountain farm.

 

The Velociraptors are Loose

The fall crud nearly KO’d me this week.  Very little was accomplished other than the basic maintenance of life, a few dinners prepared, and the grands shuttled to their respective bus stops and preschools.  By yesterday, I felt a bit better and it was time to get things done.  Laundry was stacked high and we were both out of essentials, so that was a priority.  Saturday is Farmers’ Market day to get pasture raised meat and organic vegetables that are local and not suspect, nor traveled from far away states or countries.  Grandson had his first soccer game of the season and of course, we had to be there to watch that.  He is one of the youngest and smallest on the 8 to 10 year old league, but clearly wanted to be part of the action.  But the biggest task of the day was to obtain the fencing needed to give the Meaties a run so they didn’t spend their entire life in a brooder or coop.

As the chicken pen was originally divided into two long narrow runs and had two side by side gates, it seemed that returning it to its original or similar configuration was the most expedient.  When the fencing was removed to fence in the garden in hopes of keeping the chickens out and allowing them more free pasture time, the posts were left in place.  Unfortunately, the dogs had other ideas about this plan and the Buffys were again penned up with only some pasture time each day, when the dogs are secured indoors.  Mountaingdad and I went out and measured to see how much additional fencing was required and it appeared that we needed something less than 100 feet.  After market and soccer, we ventured down to the local Tractor Supply to get what was needed.  I really prefer the welded wire fencing, but can’t handle the 100 foot long rolls by myself while trying to fasten it to the posts.  As it didn’t come in 50 foot rolls, I elected to take a much less substantial vinyl coated wire garden fence to divide the run.  This meant moving some of the welded wire that was already in place, unbending the wire T post fasteners, hauling the fencing to different positions and reattaching it with new fasteners, taking back the 6 to 8 foot wide swath of garden that was only partially used for summer squash and pole beans.   The 100 feet of garden fence then set down the middle of the now enlarged area.  The day was hotter than it was predicted, I didn’t drink enough water and by late afternoon, I was whipped, the pen was not secure enough for the layers who had been on a grasshopper chase all afternoon in the yard and pastures.

It was time to fix dinner and daughter was going to do that but we realized that the propane tank on the grill had never been refilled, so Mountaingdad was sent off to take care of that and daughter came out to help me at least get the Buffys run secure so they could be lured back inside and the dogs let out.

There would be no more fence work last night, I was totally done in.  Dinner was delicious, Mountaingdad took grandson out for ice cream and I went into veg mode, knitting, reading and watching the Steven Hawking movie on television.

This morning refreshed from many quarts of water, and a good night’s sleep, I finished securing the last few pieces of fencing so that baby velociraptors (as daughter calls them) can finally see what the great outdoors is like.  Last week, they were moved from the brooder to the Cull Palace and penned in.  It is a huge space, but dark.  Tomorrow they will be 5 weeks old, so almost half of their life span has been spent in the garage and in the dark coop.  They could see the outdoors through the chicken wire and hardware cloth door and vent panels, but couldn’t be outdoors.

When I opened their coop door this morning, the curious moved to the opening.  Only a couple ventured over the sill.

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I’m sure as the day goes on, they will begin to explore the 80 X 8 foot run that they now have access to explore and I am hoping that they have gotten large enough to not squeeze through the 2 X 4″ holes in the fencing.

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The Buffys are having a great time reexploring the extended portion of their run that is full of pigweed and leftover squash that got hidden in the leaves and grew too large to harvest.  They will attract bugs, split and the seeds will be a treat.

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My remaining task is to cut back the peach tree that died in the middle of their run, leaving them stumps to perch on and to close up a few spaces that persistent birds may be able to squeeze through to facilitate escape.

An afternoon harvest brought in the winters popcorn, more dried beans, a large basket of tomatoes to be processed and a couple pints of jalapenos for pickling.  The Ancho peppers are beginning to turn red and will soon be dried for sauces and soups.  The first Burgess Buttercup was brought in, but walking through the Three Sister’s Garden revealed a hefty crop of them that will be brought in before the first frost is expected. It wasn’t the best garden this year, but I am thankful for the wonder it has given up and will be enjoyed this fall and winter.  Soon it will be time to plant the garlic for next year.

My harvest efforts earned me a sting, I think by a caterpillar.  The sting was unlike wasp and bee stings that quickly swell to enormous size on me.  This has produced a large area of tingling skin and lightheadedness that brought me in before all the beans were collected.  They will keep for another day.

Arctic Zone

Yesterday was cold and wet, rain at our elevation, snow about 800 feet above us.  With the cold was wind, stripping the gold and red leaves from the trees that had not lost their leaves yet.  A good day to stay indoors, but it was Farmers’ Market day and if we were to have meat this week, other than chicken, a trip to town was necessary.  We dallied, not leaving to have breakfast as on most weekends and knowing that there was a home game at the University in town, an attempt to try to miss the traffic seeking to find parking on side streets or failing that, paying $10/car in church lots or people’s yards. Home games are madness in our little town as the university is huge and the alumni dedicated, even in a cold rain.  The market was done, the vendors all thanking us for coming out in such nastiness, but we came home with ground beef, stew meat, onions and radishes, still having greens in the garden and a bit of the last salad in the refrigerator.  Our usual meat vendor wasn’t there, so I was unable to get the ground pork that I wanted to make a stuffed pumpkin this week, unless I can find a package in the chest freezer.   Or perhaps, I will make a pumpkin, chicken curry in a pumpkin shell, there is plenty of coconut milk and red curry in the pantry.

Once home, the winter squash picked over the prior two days were toted down to the root cellar in the basement, two big canvas sacks at a time, many, many trips up and down the stairs.  The shelves look ready to provide well this winter.

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Pumpkins, sweet potatoes, garlic and canned goodies.  This is what is left after loads to northern Virginia and what is upstairs in the pantry.  The freezer stocked with green beans, peas, apples, chicken and a bit of pork and beef stockpiled from weekend trips to the Farmers’ Market.  Our favorite meat vendor toughs it out at the market on all but the worst winter Saturday’s throughout the upcoming winter.

As the wind blew last night, and the temperature dropped, our power failed.  Quickly gathering up the battery lanterns and flashlights and tossing a down blanket on the two quilts on the bed, I settled in with my tablet that had a good charge and the ebook that I am currently reading.  Fortunately, the power only stayed out a couple of hours and we were awakened by the TV and lights coming on and the computer printer doing a self start, though it had been powered off before.

The morning dawned an hour earlier, thanks to the time change last night from daylight savings time.  Yes, I know, an extra hour to sleep, hmmmph, I awake with the sun and get up once awake, my body doesn’t just switch gears like the clock.  As I let the pups out, I realized that we were seeing our first snow flurries and the lightest of dusting on the ground and decks.

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Mountain snow showers are a common occurrence, rarely amounting to anything, whenever there is moisture in the air and the temperature below freezing.  The freeze last night, the first freeze burned back the pumpkin patch and the bean patch.  The greens look sad this morning but will perk back up as the daytime temperatures rise above freezing.

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After feeding the chickens and breaking the ice on their water, a walk through the ruined patch revealed as I suspected, several more pumpkins.  The largest, not damaged ones gathered and brought in, like I really need more in the house.

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Happily, several of them were Buttercup squash.  A couple were tossed into the chicken pen and the rest left to be gathered in the garage or thrown immediately to the chickens over this week once the wind dies down and the temperature rises to a more comfortable range.  This was the first morning that I had to don the heavy barn coat to go deal with the birds.

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The peppers that were gathered prior to the expected Arctic chill have all been processed, the tiny jalapenos sliced and frozen, some used in last night’s chili with cornbread for dinner.  The small bell peppers, sliced and frozen, the ripe habeneros packed whole in freezer bags, the green ones set in a bowl to ripen as you can see they are doing.  They too will be bagged and frozen.  The tiny hot orange pepper that I still haven’t identified, was pureed with vinegar they had been soaking in for the past few weeks and a Tabasco-like sauce made that a single drop burned my mouth for an hour.  The rest of them are ripening on the upside down plants in the garage.  The tomatillos that we gathered were rid of their husks, washed and packed whole in freezer bags, another 3 pounds to be used in Pozole this winter.  A chicken, some tomatillos, a bag of dried hominy soaked, a handful of Mexican spices and a hearty soup to feed a small army is made.

We are lovin’ life on our mountain farm and now must accept another winter is upon us.  We were lucky this year, we got an extra 2-3 weeks before the first frost.

Olio – October 24, 2014

Olio: a miscellaneous collection of things.

Our internet issues seem to be finally resolved, many months and many mistakes later, we are back with our original cell provider and our original internet/phone provider.  The lines have been repaired, the speed boosted as much as it can be boosted given our physical distance from the nearest booster from our small community cooperative telephone/internet provider.  They also provide cable TV service, but their HD is not HD, so we opt to receive cable elsewhere.  Life was so much simpler with an antenna, a house phone line, no internet and no cell phones; cheaper too.

The sweater was ripped out and restarted using a yoke pattern instead of a raglan pattern, the sleeves have been put on waste yarn and the body is being worked slowly.  This pattern is from one of Ann Budd’s formula books, so it should fit.

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The twisty rib pattern at the top is interesting.  Hopefully it will block into a nice yoke for the sweater that is otherwise very plain.

As the sweater has already gotten too bulky to want to tote around with me when I am the car passenger, I finally started the mitts that are made of Unplanned Peacock Superwash Merino in a colorway named for me as it was dyed especially for me to match a skein I purchased from her several years ago and from which I designed and made Ruby Hat (http://goo.gl/yAfQV) and later Ruby Scarf (http://goo.gl/uzjTFo), both free patterns on Ravelry.  Ruby Hat is my favorite hat and has its own story, but that is for another day.  The mitts are also being made from one of Ann Budd’s formula books to wear with the hat and scarf or just around the house at night when my hands get cold.  They are the perfect portable pocket project for the car.

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I am frequently amused at questions I get from folks that I know have grown up their entire lives in this rural county.  Today, the phone/internet installer saw my chickens wandering about the yard and ask me very innocently if my hens were laying now that the weather is cooling down.  My response was yes, except for the one who was molting.  I could tell from his expression that he didn’t have a clue what I was talking about and he said his egg production from 10 hens was down to only a couple each day.  I asked him how old his hens were and most of them are only about a year and a half old, so experiencing their first molt this season, thus his lack of eggs.  He also wasn’t feeding them any calcium, not even giving them back their own shells.  He left educated by the city girl with a ziplock sack of crushed oyster shell to free feed his hens and a promise that once their feathers were back in that he would start seeing eggs again.  He also was surprised that Son#1 and I could kill and process our culls and meat birds.  He said though he could shoot and dress a deer, he wasn’t sure he could do a chicken.  Our flock is enjoying their daily freedom to dig in the gardens, to look for bugs and tender blades of grass.  When we need them safely away from the dogs or driveway, I just go out like the Pied Piper with my little cup of scratch that I shake and they come running and follow me back to the safety of the electric fence.

The pumpkin vines are dying back more each day and revealing more of the winter squash.  I thought that only the Burgess Buttercup survived and that I didn’t get any Seminole pumpkins, but realize that it is a half and half mix, except the pumpkins for the most part haven’t turned tan.  The ones that I picked and put on the picnic table are beginning to turn.  The wormy ones get split with a hatchet and thrown into the chicken run for them to enjoy.  A side benefit is that the seeds are a natural anti parasitic for the chickens.  The peppers and tomatillos survived the cold nights predicted in the last post.  I am letting the remaining fruits mature until we are threatened again and I will do another harvest.  The last batch was made into another 4 pints of Tomatillo/Habanero sauce, the hottest batch yet.  Maybe I should change it’s name from XXX to Insanity.  I sure can’t eat it, but Son#1 will love it.  The Farmers’ Market last week had many vendors of apples.  I came home with another peck of mixed crisp red apples and realizing that they would not stay crisp until we finished them all, I used about a third to make another batch of Apple Cranberry Chutney (http://wp.me/p3JVVn-Ja), using 1 cup of honey instead of brown sugar this time.  The shelves are full of goodies even after having taken two crates of canned goodness to Northern Virginia on the last two trips to return son and grandson.

Lovin’ life on our mountain farm and continuing to gather knowledge to fight the pipeline.

 

Garden’s Swan Song

We are past our “Frost Date” and have had mild nights except a couple of weeks ago.  The garden survived those two nights with row cover fabric draped over the peppers and tomatillos.  We are expecting two nights in the 30’s tonight and tomorrow night and nothing is going to be done to protect what is left.  If the plants survive, great, we might get a few more tomatillos and peppers, the greens will be fine for a while.  If they freeze, it has been a good year.

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To prepare, a harvest of 5 types of peppers, a basket of tomatillos, a handful of bush beans and two golfball sized turnips were brought in.  The Jalapeños were pickled into two more pints for winter.  The bell peppers sliced and frozen except for a few to stuff tomorrow.  The Anchos have been put in the window sill hoping they will turn red and can then be dried for Enchilada sauce.  The tomatillos and habeneros will be cooked down with onion and garlic for more of Son #1’s favorite XXX sauce.

With the garden waning, the chickens get to visit, eating bugs, weed seed and scratching around leaving chicken fertilizer.  When they aren’t in the garden, they wander around the orchard, the yards and out into the fields, but not too far from the house.

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They are healthy, producing plenty of eggs each day and live a good life.

On Saturdays, we generally go to town, have breakfast at the local diner then shop the Farmers’ Market.  We came home with some beef and pork for the freezer, a peck of eating apples and some carrots and onions.

Between our garden goodness and the Farmers’ Market take, we will eat well.

Lovin’ life on our mountain farm.

 

It Isn’t Over ‘Til The Fat Lady Sings. . .

Or the garden quits producing.  The tomatoes are long gone, the Tomatillos and peppers are making up for it.  Much to my surprise, the late planting of bush beans is producing.

I returned from my Retreat and the 12 hours of driving in 2 days, the babysitting and errands with more jars, lots of them.  I have been taking jars to NoVa for three years, full of canned goodness and have brought a few home, but today I have enough to keep me from a purchase for a while at least.

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And bigger jars purchased for the winter storage of bulk goods.

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I left NoVa early today and arrived home in time for lunch with Mountaingdad and wandered off to chicken chores and a garden check and was greeted with . . .

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Peppers, 5 kinds, tomatillos and beans.  This was inducement to pull out the canner again and pickle 4 pints of Jalapenos, 5 cups of XXX Habanero/Tomatillo sauce, blanch and freeze 3 meals of beans and a quart of bell pepper slices.  The tiny hot little peppers that I bought as cayenne are being added to a bottle of vinegar as I harvest them for a couple of smaller bottles of pepper vinegar.

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The more I put by, the more we will enjoy this winter and the more we can share.  The garden has been good to us this year.  I still plan to put up a few more pints of applesauce and a few quarts of apple slices in juice, make a gallon of cider vinegar, as much green salsa and XXX hot sauce as I have Tomatillos and peppers, pints of pickled Jalapenos until the frost hits.  The winter squash and pumpkins continue to spread and grow.  Hopefully, below all of those leaves we will find a good harvest of Buttercup squash, Seminole pumpkins and yellow and white sweet potatoes that were engulfed a couple of weeks ago.

Lovin’ life on our mountain farm.  It is good to be home.

Tis The End

Saturday mornings are usually spent going to the local diner for breakfast then on to the Farmers’ Market. Not today.  Today the morning was spent processing the last two baskets of tomatoes, both green and red, many with spots that had to be cut away. I started with the green, as my end product was to be Green Tomato Chutney from http://foodinjars.com/2010/11/green-tomato-chutney/. The cooking part of this one takes an hour and a half or more. It was prepped and set to simmer on a back burner. Next up were the remaining red tomatoes that were pared of cores and bad spots, diced and tossed into another large pot with some salt. On the last functional and largest burner was the pressure canner with the requisite 3 quarts of water and 2 tablespoons of white vinegar as we have hard water and I didn’t want white rings on the jars. Loaded inside were my last 7 pint jars full of hot water to heat until filling time. The red tomatoes filled those jars with some to spare, so a quick jaunt out to the garden to harvest a pound or so of Tomatillos and some hot peppers and with an onion, some garlic, a toss of herbs, a bit of chopping, the tomatoes became salsa. It was left to cook down some while the diced tomatoes canned and cooled enough to remove from the canner.
While I was standing at the kitchen window, enjoying the outside while doing dishes, I spotted a coyote in the hayfield.

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They have been very vocal the past few nights and while I got the binoculars to check him out and my phone to take the distant photo, I spotted two more.  All three were taking their time sauntering across the newly mowed hayfield, into the woods and up toward the house.  They passed close enough to the house that the dogs indoors became very agitated.

The only jars left on hand were a new flat of half pints that I bought with the idea of making the chutney, so nine of them were washed, filled with hot water and scalded in the canner.  The end result was 5 half pints of salsa, 5 half pints of chutney.  One of the chutney’s didn’t even go in the canner, it will travel with me this week to the spinning retreat with a block of Neufchatel cheese and a box of crackers to share at the happy hour.  A half pint of salsa and a bag of chips will also go.

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It has been a good season for tomatoes, unlike last year when we didn’t get enough to get up through the winter.  It was not a good year for beans thanks to the bunnies.  The shelves are stocked with tomato products.  The freezer with chicken and peas.  This week I will purchase one more flat of jars and a basket of local apples and can one batch of applesauce, then the canner will be packed away for another year.

My session ended with a sandwich and a fried green tomato that I set aside just for my lunch.

 

Olio – September 10, 2014

Olio: a miscellaneous collection of things.

At times I consider whether I should just rename my blog Olio as most posts fly all over the place.  It is only mid morning on a day that the weather prognosticators said would be mostly sunny and dry, but instead it is thickly overcast and too humid again to paint or stain.  The grass too wet with dew to mow.  This isn’t to say that the morning has been idle, no instead a load of laundry has been folded, Grand #1’s bed remade from his weekend visit; another load of laundry washed and currently drying; the chicken coop refreshed with a turn of the old hay and an addition of new hay; the meaties chicken tractor given a good layer of hay in the bottom as it is currently more or less permanently set at the end of the 6 foot wide run to contain the 5 week old chickies and it was beginning to not smell so pleasant.  Another huge bucket of tomatoes have been harvested, though I haven’t begun to process them yet, as I can’t decide what this batch will become, probably just plain diced tomatoes.  Just in the last couple of days, the tomato vines have begun to fade.

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There are still plenty of tomatoes to harvest, but this is a signal of the end of the summer growing season.  This morning, the spent cucumber vines were pulled and tossed to the chickens to peck at the last few cukes and the bugs on the vines.  Each year I begin the season faithfully pinching suckers from the tomato plants and trying to contain the branches within the cages and by this time each year, the branches have fallen over and through the cages and the plants look pitiful.  Perhaps next year I will use strong stakes instead of cages and tie the plants up as they grow taller, being more faithful about leaving only one main stem.  Next year, they will have the rich soil of the compost bins as we remove the wood from them this winter to expand the garden and create a more reasonably sized compost bin in a new location.  So much of the stuff that used to go into the compost, now goes to the chickens and their bedding becomes the compost, so having the bin near the coop door on the edge of the garden would make more sense.  That area is where I planted the Buttercup squash, pumpkins, and sweet potatoes this year and between them and my weeding efforts, the bin have remained fairly weed free this summer.

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The squash have spread over the woodpile, over to the vegetable garden, into the chicken run and up the hill past the hay bales and out of the electric fence.  Many of the huge leaves have burn marks across them and cause the electric fence to pop as they touch it.  Yesterday as I mowed, with the fence off, I snapped off the leaves touching the fence.  I know that one day soon, I will begin to see those vines fading like the tomato vines.  The peppers are loving the cooler weather and are blooming and producing new peppers daily.  The summer squash are mostly done.  It is now a time for greens and a few radishes and turnips.

As I sit here waiting for the inspiration to can or the grass to dry for mowing, I am enjoying one of the only two magazines to which I subscribe.  The magazine is Taproot, no advertising, full of wonderful art, recipes, articles about back to a simpler time of producing your own food, making your own clothes, growing your own animals and knowing from where your goods come.  If you haven’t ever seen an issue, you should seek one out.

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Each issue has a theme and each is wonderful to savor each word and save for future reference.

Lovin’ life on our mountain farm.

 

A Touch of Fall

This past weekend was to be a staining weekend.  Son #1 and Grand #1 came in on an early morning bus Saturday, but the day dawned as many have lately, overcast, foggy and high humidity.  As the fog cleared, it was still overcast, so the staining was put on hold yet again and since he was here to work, we tackled the garage door that hasn’t worked properly in a couple of years.  We have had to hold the button constantly to raise or lower the door and the electric sensor was not working at all.  This rendered the remote in the car useless.  We made a trip to the nearest hardware store, in the next town since our local one went out of business and purchased a circuit tester and a few odds and ends.  He was able to isolate where power was no longer reaching the sensor and with a bit of rewiring and door adjustment, it now goes up, comes down gently and reverses when it hits an obstacle or the light beam is broken.  The morning harvest sat on the counter throughout the day.

Yesterday was similar weather, but he managed to get the garage doors caulked with me following as clean up before he and Grand caught a bus for home.  Once back to our farm, I tackled the Saturday harvest and made and canned 10 pints of Tom Tom Salsa, though I left out most of the lemon juice as hubby felt it was too tart for his taste.  Yesterday’s afternoon’s storms brought a significant temperature drop.  This morning dawned quite cool and still cloudy.

Each time I can, I get my exercise hauling empty jars up to the kitchen and full jars back down to the root cellar.  The shelves in there are quite rewarding now as they fill with jars of tomatoes, chili tomatoes, salsa, pasta sauce and XXX hot sauce.  The drying shelves are filling with garlic and Burgess Buttercup Squash.  There are many more of them ripening in the garden and I can’t get to the sweet potatoes anymore until the squash and pumpkin vines start dying off.

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As I was taking Son #1 to the bus, I asked him if there was a good way to reinforce the bottom of one of the pseudo orange crates that I purchased years ago at Michael’s Arts and Crafts so that I could load the full jars to the basement and for bringing canned goods and produce to them when I make my trips to their house.  We started purchasing the crates when he was in college and his library that he hauled from dorm room to dorm room to apartment were shelved in them.  Each semester, adding a few for new texts and other acquired books.  When I moved across the state to our new farm, my handthrown pottery, china, and books were packed in similar crates for the move.  Some of those crates have the bottom slats stapled on at an angle, others straight in.  I have feared having the bottom drop out of one.  He suggested taking a 1/2″ thick board cut to the width of the crate, drilling pilot holes and screwing the boards on the bottom across the slats.

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One of my projects this morning was to reinforce one of those crates, then to prepare and can 11 pints of pasta sauce and a pint of Pickled Jalapeno peppers.  My past two days have produced 21 pints of tomato products.   The garden is still full of tomatoes and peppers, but the jars are getting scarce.  I haven’t been able to locate any on Craigs list this time of year and I don’t really want to buy more in Big Lots or the Grocery.  I will can using the last 5 pints and last 11 quarts then start freezing bags of tomatoes.  The freezer us under utilized this year, other than chickens.  Unless we end up buying apples to pare and freeze, there will be plenty of space for quart or gallon bags of frozen tomatoes.

Today as I was boiling a pot of water for peeling the pounds and pounds of tomatoes, one of the burners on our flat top stove failed.  I had mixed feelings about a flat top stove when we bought our appliances 7 years ago, but for it to match the refrigerator and dishwasher, that was my only choice.  I guess we are going to have to get a repair estimate, but this isn’t good timing with canning going on and with estimated taxes due.