It is my 33rd wedding anniversary with my husband today! Also the wind up to Halloween. Last year I was the Fairy Gaudy Mother. This year I am working on a logger costume. I love Halloween dress-up even at my OLD age!
Getting ready for Halloween. It may be my favorite holiday. These nasturiums were smiling from their back corner of the upper greenhouse. They have no idea how cold it has been outside. Last bags today. I look forward to getting lots done with my new free time. Still have to clean out the greenhouses and put away hoses and irrigation, but in general, the schedule has freed me to work as it fits in instead of such a forced march. A quiet close to a challenging farming year.
Rain continues and so does the deterioration of everything outdoors. The raspberries will not go to waste, though, as these Juncos are steady at harvesting all that are left. Garden Dog and I disturbed them and they waited on sentry for us to leave so they could continue to eat.
Next to last bag delivery. Scraped by with a little spinach, a Delicata squash, onions, cilantro, a big bag of carrots, a few last tomatoes, and cherry tomatoes. Looking at this mum this morning, I couldn't remember the name of the guy who first noticed the pattern. His name is Fibonaci and he noted it in 1202. The Fibonaci numbers occur over and over in nature. 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, and 144 (the sum of the prior two numbers forms the next number) are prevelant in flowers and the pattern Fibonaci wrote about is seen also among other things in pineapples, pine cones, and artichokes. The idea of a "Golden Mean" and "Golden Angle" came later. The golden angle is 137.5 degrees, and has been found to be the most efficient layering of seeds on a flower head. Amazing!
A day off! Headed into to see Pride and Prejudice at Ashland Shakespearean Theater. There were only 5 more days and I was going to miss it. Huge Jane Austen fan should not miss play of one of her favorites, should she? More rain last night-.65 inch. Headed for 4 inches since Friday. Needless to say, it is wet enough to sprout the grass seed if it warms up at all. Looks like a short break tomorrow in which I will harvest lettuce for last bags of 2010. Phew!
Cold and wet. We received almost 3 inches over the weekend. Certainly a mud fest anywhere off the beaten paths. Have to harvest carrots tomorrow, should be a rain gear show. Still a trickle of tomatoes and cucumbers in the greenhouses. Picked a cantaloupe that looked yellowish, but haven't opened it yet. A walk through the lower greenhouse was highlighted by these brave snapdragon volunteers, still blooming in glorious summer colors despite the grey outside.
Wild Chantrelle mushrooms in soup for lunch and tempura battered clustered coral mushrooms for snack. Now some on pizza for dinner. Hopefully, not too many mushrooms in one day...but we have eaten them all before. More rain and some nights without freezing and there will be more soon. Want to dry some for winter use.
Well the elk will sleep well tonight. The hunting season is over for now. The hunters will sleep well also, the result of early mornings and miles of hiking. I seeded the tilled garden areas with annual rye grass seed. It feels as if you are marching when you so purposely walk and turn the crank on the seeder. For some reason I get tense about the whole thing, thus a sore necl tonight. Hoping the rain will sprout the seed and gets it growing before winter weather sets in. I think the buckwheat will be showing up, as much seed as was tilled in. That would be great. I spent $35 on buckwheat seed, so if it wants to self-sow, that is fine by me!
OK, so the front door decorations aren't finished. I had other plans, but here is the start. I need to level that chair...Hurrying to pick the rest of the ripe raspberries before the impending rain storm. Not so out of control as it was last week. This cold rain will be hard on them, but if there is sun on the other side there is a chance for a few more. The tomato vines aren't pretty, but they are still producing.
Someone was saying that wapiti, the native American name for elk means "ghost of the woods". That is certainly true of this elk season. The mating season is still going on and that is controlling their activities by keeping the elk up at night partying and sleeping all day, invisible in the forest. And so it goes some years. The evenings with music will be missed as the hunters leave one by one returning to their lives elsewhere. 16 bags today was a challenge at this late date, but the berries were still abundant, though not over loaded as before. The greenhouses have lots of options, just not a speedy recovery after pickig, so I tried not to over harvest as I have 9 bags on Friday and an order on Saturday. Then next weeks bags, and I will close up shop for now. The cold rain due this weekend should point the way to pulling more plants out before fungus sets in. Still have cover crops to put in here and there.
In a traditional fashion, the almost 2 1/2 year old grand daughter made an elk "map" for the guys. This is her first mapping experience and she has already excelled. Stickers help pin point locations... Caption indicates "elk are eating all the nummies" which is true in that they have been feasting on all the mushrooms that have been popping up over the last two weeks. Pocketing a map has brought luck in the past. We will see how it does today. Harvesting and tearing down some more tomato frameworks and finished melon vines, etc. today. Carrots, turnips, and radishes to harvest for tomorrow.
The elk hunters have not even seen an elk. The hot dry weather makes for noisey progress in the woods. The elk have found small dark hollows to hide in and are staying put. Garden continues to bear fruit even as the frost touches down each morning. 16 bags on Wednesday, a bit of this and that. Try to harvest anything I think the deer will be here soon to eat.
More good weather, berries, tomatoes, and now weeds...Guns are sighted in, knives are sharp. There is only good weather ahead, not the best for hunting. The mission statement is clear; meat for winter. Skills are essential, but luck can play a huge part. Early morning tomorrow, time for sleep now.
Fighting a cold, runny nose and eyes. Worked on cleaning house today and made a meager effort at fall decorating ala Cheryl. No picture yet as the front door decorating is a work in progress. There may never be a picture if it doesn't meet my expectations, lol. Froze more raspberries and picked tomatoes for a batch of Chili Verde. Roasted most of the Anaheim chilis I still had on a couple plants. No bags tomorrow, a short break for me with male house guests arriving for hunting. May be a quiet weekend if there is more hunting than finding. The weather is nice which doesn't help hunters with tracking. Hope to get over this cold and rest up for the final weeks of CSA and orders for this season.
Busy weekend ahead. It is the start of elk season. The local herds were depleted by homesteaders and reintroduced in the 1970's. The local population of elk is bursting and moving down into urban areas. This doesn't exactly work. They are better off up here in the woods where they thrive. Herd size does need some controls and that is where the hunting season comes in. This is my life, and elk are part of it. I feel an affinity with the animal who will eat my cover crop all winter and on occasion, stand in my greenhouse as if he were in a barn.
Lots to harvest today. I think when I get out there I will see some places Jack Frost touched down. Need to get those last winter squash picked. Taking out the other cow fencing where the corn isn't really going to have time to finish the ears on the last planting, ah well. Then pick berries, berries, berries. In the morning and evenings there is a great party of birds feasting on the berries that have fallen from the plants when it rained last weekend. The juncos flit here and there the white feathers in their tails flashing as they do. I keep meaning to take the camera out when I close the doors, maybe tonight. Sometimes I dream of the quietude of winter, then I think twice!
My girlfriend, Cheryl, does such a great job of decorating for the various seasons. I think Autumn and Halloween are her favorites and she has a wonderful touch to displaying things. For instance, she displays various bleached skulls from animals, something you might find while walking. When she pokes dried flowers in their eye sockets it really softens the display. She went to the trouble of having the book about spiders as the top one in her bookcase, just for Halloween. This in addition to a very fine pumpkins, witches, ravens, spiders, etc. plus other black and orange items in various media. I have pulled out my meager fall decorations and am trying to emulate her with my not so able touch. Here is a small view in her repetoire.
Family here for birthday bash for granddaughter tomorrow. Vegetable tray, strawberries, watermelon, and raspberry cobbler to pull together in the morning, all from the garden, of course. Harvested the last of the outdoor melons today; Crimson Sweet watermelons, one about 30 pounds and few honeydews. I still need to get the final few winter squash and then it can frost if it wants to, and I think it is going to on Monday night to Tuesday morning. That really signals fall around here. With some rain due over the weekend, the leaves should all start to put on their color show.
Cleaning up more beds for the winter. Pulling drip lines out and making ready for tilling. Harvested a little of this and that for bags tomorrow-only 10, as folks have changes in their lives. The CSA participants who begin the bag program in April tend to be the ones who also want bags up until the end. They are my "core group". I am lucky to have such support so close to home. All the while I worked today, I was under the watchful supervision of Garden Dog.
Harvesting in the morning wasn't that fun. Fingers became frozen and I couldn't untie my sash which holds my bucket around my waist. The berries are holding good form and flavor, just need to pick a little later in the day. I hope if we do get rain this weekend, that it is short lived. The tissues of many of the summer vegetables can't handle too much moisture before they are going to turn to fungus and rotting. The warm and dry has been perfect. Keeping the doors closed on the greenhouses to keep things like these tomaotes toasty.
Harvesting for 15 bags tomorrow; radishes, a few tomatoes. cherry tomatoes, strawberries, squash, lettuce, cucumbers, and even a few pumpkins. The figs are about to go crazy, just two pounds today, but two more tomorrow, and on from there. Looks like some clouds, seventies, and mild. Perfect for berries and the fall roots just finishing up. Just a couple more weeks and then a break for winter. Maybe a bag now and then to a few folks, but basically time to reflect, change activities to arts and crafts, pottery and writing, and hibernation.
Had to let my sibling helper go home. Happy 70th birthday, sis, one more time! Back to the grind. Great weather for thee berries and greens, cool and cloudy. Time to take the cow fencing down so we can till and plant annual rye cover crop. There are quail and doves eating the buckwheat that has gone to seed. OK with me. Meanwhile, the big threat of rain never did turn into much. OK by me, again!
Picked quite a few berries. Making jam out of some and freezing the rest. Might rain tomorrow evening, so wanted to get some picked before that happened. A little rain would be nice, but a torrential downpour such as two weekends ago would wipe out any and all ripe berries. Picked and roasted some Anaheim chilis, also. Have a good last harvest of white corn to bring in, several Crimson Sweet watermelons, and two more plants of Delicatas. Then most of the harvest will be in and I will not fret about rain or snow for that matter.