Sunday, September 16, 2007

First Snow

We saw our first snow on September 13th. Tom and I were having our morning coffee while watching the morning news when we looked out the window and saw snow falling mixed with rain. Of course, nothing stuck, but it was still snow. We had a light frost that night, but on the 14th we had a really hard frost. I was so glad I had cleaned out the garden and covered what was left.

Out in the garden Ed and I took all the vegetable matter and hauled it to the compost area (a large dip in the field where the old well was years ago when Nelson's Camp One was there). I will put all the compost materials there and eventually the dip will level off (I hope). I dug up a couple of cabbage plants and the deer-chewed collards and moved them into the hight tunnel. I may be able to get some collard greens yet since the central stems are ok, and the cabbages I hope to over winter and replant out in the field next year for seed. I will let the parsley that is already in the high tunnel go to seed next year, too. I have St. Valery carrots still out in the field -- they have been sold in the ground to a guy who plans to come out this way October 1st. There are plenty of White Egg and Gilfeather turnips still growing, Southern Giant Leaf Mustard greens, late planted dill, more parsley, Bull's Blood beets, and Forellenschuss lettuce (which looks much better than the early planted lettuce!) In the high tunnel I have late planted carrots, beets, spinach and scallions.

I have received the seed garlic for next year from Seed Savers Exchange: I got Czech Tan again, more Samarkand, and some Chesnok Red -- another purple stripe hard neck variety from Soviet Georgia; it is a medium hot, sweet when cooked without losing that garlic taste variety. I am looking forward to trying it. I will plant the garlic in October on Columbus Day weekend, so I will have some time to finish overhauling the garden before planting. I still plan to move the berries closer to the house and the new fruit trees will be coming so I need to ready their holes. I still want to work on the fence, too.

We have only two more weeks of market this year already. I can't believe the summer went so fast! It was a lot of fun again, and I really enjoy my regular customers and meeting new people. I only had one complaint this year, and it happened yesterday. I had a woman complain about the Hannah's Choice melons she bought. She said when she cut them open they were mush. I thanked her for the comments about the melons, and I told her I was hoping to get feedback on the melons as I needed to know if I should grow them again. I immediately gave her her money back plus some to thank her for the feedback; I think she was surprised I didn't give her a hard time. I honestly don't know if there was something wrong with the melons, or if it was merely a matter of taste because last week I had another woman tell me she absolutely loved her Hannah's Choice melon. I don't know. Anyway, I won't grow them again because when I tried the melons, I thought they had no taste. The interior color was great, and the melons smelled heavenly, but I really think they lacked for flavor. I was very disappointed in them overall. Now the Charentais melons were excellent and I should get a lot of good seed from them. (I kept most of them for ME). I will try a few of the Green Nutmeg -- I haven't tried to sell any of those because I'm not sure they are ripe. They are out in the garage with the pumpkins, along with the rest of the winter squashes and the remaining Moon and Stars melons, which I will definitely plant again. Boy, you put those Moon and Stars to cool and them cut into them, and OH, is it sweet!

I had a good day at market. One guy came and said he wanted some of those "little Laos peppers". A friend of his bought some and liked them, and this guy wanted some. Well, the peppers were really starting to ripen and the quart looked like a rainbow of color. He bought the whole quart! I sold quite a few of the Thai Hot 2 and 3, and my Chicago Bears man came and bought about half of the Early Jalapenos. Another young couple talked with me a bit about the difference between Asian and traditional hot peppers, then bought some of my Joe's Long Cayenne (my favorite along with Tabasco -- if I can ever get the Tabasco to fruit up here). Anyway, I was surprised the hot peppers did so well because I was told I would never get anyone to buy hot peppers this far north. I also sold another bag of White Egg Turnips, and I have people asking me for Collards. Seems lilke I am getting a reputation for having Southern cooking ingredients. The okra sold out every week and I am saving the remaining pods out in the high tunnel for next year's seed. I have even been selling the mustard greens, though those are a bit spicy for most people here. That's ok because I don't have ANY problem with freezing them for my own freezer! I love my greens. I am going to buy some bacon from Jump River and really look forward to frying it up and adding some mustard greens and onions and a dash or two of Tabasco sauce. A side of black-eyed peas and maybe some ham and biscuits. I better shut up before I talk myself into gaining back the 30 pounds I lost this summer.

With the cooler weather, Tom is in turkey mood. He fixed turkey for Sunder dinner today with all the trimmings, and it was great! Now, while he watches Sunday football, I am back in the kitchen making pickled beets (bought from Czerniaks at the farmers market yesterday) and I'm steaming the plums I bought in Bayfield the other day in my new Mehu-Liisa steamer/juicer I bought from Lehmans (did I tell you I went to Bayfield on Tuesday to get apples and came home with three bushels of Wealthy, Cortland and Fireside apples, 1/2 peck of pears and two pecks of plums?) My kitchen looks like a food co-op. I've got stuff all over the place. Anyway, I'm trying to get the canning done so I have more time to spend in the field. I want to be finished with everything before our Missy La has to go to Marshfield for her bladder surgery. We are still waiting to hear from the surgeon's office about that.

I have to go to town on Tuesday to renew my drivers license. When the Dell Horoscope magazine said that September would be a busy month for Scorpios, they weren't kidding! It seems all I have done this month is run. This coming Thursday, Eddy starts bowling with the Chequamegon Special Olympics in Park Falls (I was able to become a certified volunteer with Special Olympics). I was really happy when I got my volunteer card. I'm starting to feel like I am settling in as a community member. It makes me feel good.

It's such a beautiful day today. The leaves on the trees are rapidly changing color; I think the color may peak this week. The sky reminds me more of October than September with the steel gray clouds intermingling with white linen ones blowing across the bright blue sky on a cool northwest wind. It's nice to look out the window -- and smell my pickled beets simmering on the stove.

Well, I've ranted on long enough. It's time to check on the plums!

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