Thursday, September 2, 2010

Weather in the North

On days like today I wake up & wonder where I live. Am I in some kind of alternate reality? How is this possible?

We have just endured another week of hot, hot, HOT... In the 30s before the humidex. Humidex!! This has been our first summer here with humidity. Sort of, lol. Usually we're fighting the constant dampness. This summer has been hot. A lot of weeks of 30s with little rain. And now, for the third time this summer, I wake up freezing my butt off.

Okay, honestly, it's not that cold. It's 13°C. But it's such a drastic drop that it feels like freezing. We're only supposed to hit 22° today, followed by a week of rain and cool. No wonder my tomatoes are so confused. A week of rain will give me time to butcher chickens though, so all is well.

Update on the garden...
My neighbours are moving, and they sold us their rototillers. The boys have tilled up most of the section that never got planted this year, working some manure into the soil. Hopefully we'll have better luck there next year.

I had one little strawberry coming along nicely, nearly ripe the last time I saw it. And then it disappeared. I believe one of those boys... saw it while rototilling... and ate it!! How rude. The plant has recovered from the goat attacks, and has another flower on it now. I might get one yet this year, who knows. My dad gave me his cherry tomato plant, which has a strawberry in with it too. I'm debating whether to transplant it to the garden now, or wait until spring. I tend not to have very good luck keeping things alive in pots all winter, but transplanting now could mean losing all the cherry tomatoes to an early frost.

Tomatoes are loaded with green tomatoes. I've picked a few ripe ones. They're not the healthiest I've ever seen. A lot of rotted bottoms. I started a bucket in the freezer to salvage the top portions if we're not eating them right away. I will definitely get enough for green salsa again, if we get frost before they ripen.

The asparagus seems to think it's spring. New shoots have been coming up fairly regularly.

The little row of beans provides a little handful every few days. What I don't eat raw I've been blanching and adding to the stew mix bucket in the freezer.

Lettuce is still coming in, and I've started freezing it too. I'm kind of sick of eating lettuce at the moment. I figure I'll add little bits of it to soups and stews through the winter. Shredded, it'll just add to the broth's nutrition. Some will also go into winter doggie stews. Every time I pick new lettuce, I take the old stuff from the fridge and freeze it. Some has bolted, but there's still plenty producing.

I have two nice little pumpkins. Pie size. One has a hint of orange. There are a few other tiny ones, but I don't know how big they'll get in the time we have left.

I moved my peppers back inside to the greenhouse shelves in the sunroom. They seemed to be stuck, not growing anymore, with all of these little peppers on them during our last cool week. So in the house they came, and the peppers seem to be getting bigger again now.
I wonder if they'll produce again next year, if I can manage not to kill them through the winter. Hmmm. I'll have to try that. I'm going to try pollinating with a feather duster too. Can't hurt to try.

There are a couple of pea plants left that survived the goats, and my neglect. After the goats, I picked them a couple of times, but there were only a handful of peas. #4 started asking if he could pick them every few days, but only came back with a handful as well. When I finally checked them again myself, they were loaded with big fat peas, and some had already burst open. Most of the plants have dried out since then, but there are still a few that linger on. I'm adding what we don't eat raw to the stew mix.

I got another bag of rhubarb for the freezer. It's still coming, but slower now.

Onions have done well this year. I think I'll start pulling them the next week of sun we get.

I have three little heads of cabbage formed, and one tiny head of broccoli. It's the first time the broccoli has made it this far along. Our soil has avitamin E & selenium deficiency. Since I give the horses supplements, I've been hoping the manure will improve the soil as well. It seems to be working.

I have cucumbers! Amazing but true. It's one of those weird things about living in the north, cucumbers are a fall crop rather than a spring crop. Since I only planted pickling cukes, I've been picking them small & saving them in the fridge to do a batch of pickles. Soon!

The potato tops look good, but we won't know what's underneath until after frost. We didn't hill them this year. We got so few last year, and just as many from the compost volunteers as the rows that we hilled, that I figured it wasn't really worth the extra effort.

The weeds of course are doing great. I'm feeding them to the chickens.

On my to do list...
Add more manure.
Till it into the soil.
Store buckets of composted manure for spring seedlings.
Transplant mint to flower bed.
Weed flowerbed.
Transplant some horse radish to flowerbed. Dig up the rest and preserve.
Transplant remaining rhubarb to flower bed & woods. It's growing right where I want to put the woodshed.
Fertilize (pile manure around) apple trees and asparagus.
Finish the fence!!


  1. Wendy, what kind of lettuce do you freeze? Do you blanche it first? I never thought about freezing an abundance of lettuce. I get old bags of lettuce for the hens and many bags spoil. Now, I will just put it in the freezer. Will hens eat it thawed and limp? You always have such a long, impressive list of things you have done and yet to do. Of course, you have others to help get it all done! I wish I had apple trees and rhubarb! I am watching all seasons of Little House on the Prairie. You are as busy as the Ingalls.Good post!

  2. It's just leaf lettuce. I don't blanche it, I just toss it in a bag. It'll thaw out kind of mushy, which is fine for soups and stews. It might last longer if I did blanche it, but I don't really expect it to be in there that long.

    For the chickens I grow & freeze summer squash & zuccini in addition to the lettuce, dandelions, and the bigger greens from broccoli, turnip, brussel sprouts. I don't blanche any of it. Since my chickens are limited to snow and commercial feed through the winter, they're happy to gobble up any thing else I give them. Try it and see what they think.

    That's how I named my blog. Laura's my hero.

  3. I have been getting leftover produce from some people at a farmer's market. Some days, I get so much it spoils before they can eat it. The heat indoors and outdoors make it spoil faster than in winter. My freezer is always bulging full of meat and other food for me, but I can manage to squeeze in some bags for the hens for winter.

    Right now, I have an abundance of corn on the cob but will not later on.It's too far gone for me to eat, discards from the market left sitting in the heat for me. Now, I freeze for hens. EXbf agreed to brings back bone and skin, frozen in the freezer bags I send them home in. Mine will not get corn in the winter, so I have to scrounge for food for them. I suppose I can go pull up dandelions tomorrow and freeze them, dirt and all.

    Yes, I recognized the name of your blog. I read all the Little House books.