Monday, September 28, 2009

And the North Wind Blows

It's cold here! The wind has been whipping around making the electricity go maddingly on and off. It blew away the wind chimes Lara's friend, Carrie, gave me. (I think they must be in the woods near the house; I can't believe the wind would blow something that big very far away.) It made the chickens prefer the chicken coop to being outside. And it sure showed me that Gorilla tape will not work to patch the end panels on the high tunnel. I even had to re-position the tarps on the firewood stacks by adding additional top weights so they wouldn't blow away.

Out in the field I pulled up all the Bulls Blood Beets. I am keeping them in the garage for tonight, and tomorrow I'll sort through them and make up the bundles for the customer in town who was looking for beets. Funny how people won't eat the beet greens and only want the beet roots. I'm the other way -- I'll take the greens over the roots (though I LOVE pickled beets). While in the field I covered the carrots and collards with Agribon 19 as it is supposed to get down in the 20's tonight. Then I dug up the Italian Flat Leaf Parsley that finally started to grow and planted it in a container that I brought to the house. I decided not to cut the Sweet Annie and to leave it where it is in the hope that it will self-seed. I love the way that Sweet Annie smells! I said good-bye to it, the Borage and the Calendula, as I am sure they will perish in the hard frost tonight. Yes, I talk to my plants!

In the high tunnel, I spent some time trying to patch the end walls but finally acknowledged utter defeat. If there are tax returns come next Spring, I'll try to buy new ones. I transplanted an unknown pepper plant (the name on the marker faded away) into a bucket and took that back to the house with the Italian Parsley. You should see my piano; it looks like a plant nursery! I picked more huckleberries and covered those plants with Agribon 19. Then, I raked up some straw and covered the herbs along the North side of the tunnel. I think they will be ok for the winter. That was about all I got done.

Back at the house after supper I went through all the brown paper bags I have the green tomatoes in, and I pulled out all the ones that have ripened. I would have made tomato sauce after supper in the Mehu Lisa steamer pot as that makes short work of the task, but I'm out of lemon juice. Normally I wouldn't worry about the tomato acidity, but quite a few of the tomatoes are not red so I can't be sure they are acid enough to go into a water bath canner. I put lemon juice on the shopping list and will have to wait to do the tomatoes till I get some. I'll make a batch of pickle relish with the last of the cucumbers tomorrow instead and do the beets. I checked the sauerkraut crocks, but even the kraut is taking it's own sweet time to ferment this year.

I brought back the dried radish stalks from the field to take the seed from, and the amaranth is still drying in the garage, too. Plus there is a good half bushel of dried beans to shell and put away. I bagged the dried hops -- they sure smell good -- and put them away for now; I want to get a beer making kit for my birthday. (Double purpose -- I also want to use the equipment to make alcohol that will run all our machinery. I bought David Blume's book and DVD, Alcohol Can Be A Gas, and I'm a believer!) I replaced the hops in the dehydrator with fennel fronds. Those smell good, too, and we all chewed on fresh fennel stalks for a treat while I packaged and froze the few small bulbs we had.

Tom wants to know when I'm going to butcher the rest of the chickens. . . .

He also wants more apple dumplings.

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