Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Snap Your Fingers

And it was just like that I felt the seasons change.  The sun is not as high in the sky, and its light is not so bright. The heat of the day is not as intense, and the leaves on the trees are drooping and losing their lustre.  This morning the dew did not dry off the grass till almost 1:00 pm. 

Today I worked in the forest garden "chopping and dropping" as Geoff Lawton says to clear the pathways and fill the swales with mulch.  I was both delighted and amazed to see all the beneficial insects that were buzzing in the golden rod and other "weed" flowers.  I tried to be careful and not unduly disturb them.  I cleared the path around the black and red currants from one garden entrance to the other.  It doesn't look like much was done, but at least it is a start. Using only a hand sickle gave my arms a work out!  I uncovered the spearmint and lemon balm, and I will transplant clumps of each to the raised bed herb box as I don't want to see them get lost in the taller grasses.  When all the pathways are cut out I will take some pictures for you.  The new apple trees I planted this spring are all doing very well, and there are even some grape clusters on one of the grape vines I transplanted.  When the grapes are a bit riper I will take some seeds and start some new vines.

So far I have collected lots of cilantro, chervil, and dill seed.  The pole beans will be harvested for dry beans so they will stay on the vines till just before we get a hard frost, and I have lots of radish pods to hang and dry, too.  The tomatoes are just coming on and I expect I will have to pick most of them green.  I have harvested the hot red Thai peppers and have them in the dehydrator along with lavender and rosemary stems, nettle seeds, and summer savory.  Lara's fig tree suffered in the greenhouse when we had the recent heat wave.  It does not look happy.  I hope to move it into Lara's room some time this week so it gets used to being indoors before the cold weather comes.  I hope it will perk up.  The little lemon trees are all growing well. 

Lara and I made it to the farmers market in Phillips once so far.  We had our little onions and garlic, some carrots, zucchini, pickling cucumbers, and lots of collard greens.  I also bought some horseradish roots.  I sold all the carrots rather quickly, and even managed to get some people to try the collard greens.  I have a few customers that like my little onions and garlic, but there were no takers for the horseradish.  That's ok; horseradish for many is an acquired taste.  I do wish more people would at least try eating collards; they are so very nutritious.

If Tom plants any cucumbers next year I think I'll have a fit! I have canned enough pickles to last us 10 years.  I'm sick of pickles.  What I'm looking for is beets and green beans, and so far I haven't been able to find any.  I still hope to get some from my late planting in the garden boxes, but time is running out.  Hard frost cannot be far off for us.

Speaking of canning, I discovered that my water bath canner had somehow warped after nearly 40 years of use, so I bought a new pot.  It is a good 40 quart, stainless steel brew pot that I can also use for brewing beer (after I get my hops yard back in order!). It weighs 20 lbs. so I have to put it on the stove and fill it with water there or else it is too heavy for me to lift.  It also takes longer to heat up so I get it heating first thing when I know I'll can. The pot holds 12 quarts at a time.  A large inverted pizza pan works just fine as a bottom base on which to set the jars.  I'm very pleased with it and bought it through Amazon .

Tom harvested his cabbage last week so you know what I did --

Making Sauerkraut 2013
Using the water seal suggested by a commenter on my old making sauerkraut post (scroll down the right side of this blog to find the link) worked very well last year so I am using it on both crocks this year. You guys make great comments.  Isn't it wonderful how people from all over the world discussing a subject can enrich us all?  I wish the habit would rub off on certain people, don't you?

We should have about three more days of clear weather so tomorrow I plan to start cutting the grass in the field and will check on my potatoes, winter squash and pumpkins. I am glad to have the BCS tractor back!

The chicks are growing quickly.  Thankfully,  I have not lost any more chickens to predators since the wolf came through.

I am studying hard for the General class ham radio license exam.  I hope to take it the middle of this month down in Wisconsin Rapids at the McMillan Library, but I must confess I'm not sure I'll be ready.  I am finding all the different math formulas quite intimidating. I guess I just don't learn things as quickly as I used to do.

Well, it's getting late and I have to go lock up the chickens.  Blessing to you all!

Grandpa Ott's Morning Glories

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