Saturday, October 06, 2007

Harvest and Transformation

September was a busy month and October is not giving me any rest yet either. We have had a lot going on with the family. For those of you who know astrology, you know that Saturn moved from Leo into Virgo at the start of last month, and you probably could feel the change; I know I did, and now, everyone in the family with Virgo in their charts aspected by Saturn in some way are getting zapped big time. All I can say is I'm glad I don't have any planets in Earth signs. (I'm just passing through this plane.) Anyway, at only 42, my brother is in full blown congestive heart failure. He finally came home after a stay in two different hospitals, and it looks like it's only a matter of time now as his heart is not strong enough to survive the surgery he needs. Then, last week-end we had my neice's wedding (a month early) because her fiance got shipped somewhere by the Army, and then her sister, went to Urgent Care down in Marshfield where she was interning a position and it turned out she contracted cellulitis somewhere and her eye was swollen from it, so she got thrown in the hospital and put on IV antibiotics. Fortunately, the infection had not spread to the eye or brain and she is back home again on the mend. Now we are dealing with our own "Missy La" and complications from her spina bifida. We are looking at bladder augmentation surgery with a long, painful recovery. We saw the neurologist in Minocqua last week, who sent us to Marshfield yesterday for an MRI to rule out whether or not Lara's spinal cord has re-tethered to her back bone. We had teh MRI done in Marshfield to be sure the urologic surgeon got the test results before we see him again on the 10th. His office called and told us that Lara has a two strain urinary tract infection so she is now on Levaquin for 10 days. Needless to say, Lara is very cranky and worried about having surgery. Everybody is stressed, and I know this is just the beginning. Just think, Saturn is in Virgo for two more years! Meanwhile, our Ed is enjoying his Thursday Chequamegon Bay Special Olympics bowling in Park Falls. It is a wonderful bunch of young people.

I managed to get the garlic planted on October 4th, the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi. I planted more Persian Star (Samarkand), Czech Tan, and Shvelisi -- another good garlic from Russia, similar to Samarkand. All my garlic seed cloves are certified organic from Seed Savers Exchange. This time I really tilled deep the garlic bed and added good compost from my compost bin by the house. I planted the cloves further apart, and put down some good mulch. I took the time to till up and add compost to the horseradish and rhubarb beds, too.

Did I tell you I moved all the currants and most of the rhubarb closer to the house where I can keep a better eye on it? I still have to move the gooseberries. Next spring I'll see if any rhubarb left in the field sprouts, and if so, I'll dig it up and move it at that time. My plan is to move everything but the asparagus and horseradish closer to the house, and plant more fruit trees in the field. (I think I have the orchard fruit bug!) I also have my eye on some hickory and butternut nut trees. But working with new orchard plantings other than the Westfield-Seek-No-Further apple tree and the two Golden Spice pear trees I've ordered for this Fall planting, will have to wait till next Spring. Everything I do is going to depend on what can be done around Lara's surgery.

I have another roll of film must about finished that has some nice pics of the Fall leaves, so I will try to finish up the roll and will post some new pics as soon as I can.

After I took Ed to bowling on Thursday, we ran to Phillips and picked up the 4-H fruit order and bought some more canning jars from Copps. I canned the rhubarb, raspberries, apricots and pie cherries after Lara and I got back from Marshfield. Thank goodness fruit doesn't take long to can. I made a couple of batches of jam and used pectin in the recipe to save cooking time. I left the blueberries in the freezer because I like them better frozen, and the mushrooms are better frozen, too.

I used my new Finnish juicer/steamer for cooking down some pumpkins and boy is that thing nice! I cooked about 6 pie pumpkins in about two hours, measured out the puree after running the pulp through the food mill, and packed it in freezer bags in no time. I don't quite understand how it works, but the steam in one chamber cooks the food you place in the strainer chamber, and all the liquid from the steam and produce recondense in a third chamber leaving the nearly dry pulp. You don't need to do any further cooking down unless you want to. I used the pumpkin juice and mixed some with orange juice, and some with cranberry juice, for the kids and canned that, too. Harry Potter won't taste any better!

I tried to get hold of Randy from BSI Scales in Tomahawk the other day to see if he would be interested in coming to Phillips for a "Scale Day" next spring, but I missed him. I left a message telling him I would try to touch base with him another time as I am in and out of the house so much lately with all the medical issues.

I have pumpkins for sale, some small Big Moon and mostly New England Pie, if you want pumpkins. I also have Forellenschuss leaf lettuce, some Bull's Blood beet greens, Southern mustard greens, some Italian flat leaf parsley, and maybe I can find some dill and cilantro out in the field. I usually cut the greens as people want them because I want the greens as fresh as possible and I don't have a produce cooler. The doorbell doesn't work so just come to the house back door (through the garage) and bang on it. If the green van is gone, I may not be home. If the truck is gone, we may be out in the field.

Well, I know I have more to talk about, but I'm pretty tired. I'll talk to you later.

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