Sunday, September 8, 2013


Last night at dusk I looked up to the sound of the geese overhead.  Not a good picture, I know, but there they go, headed south.  I am so NOT ready for winter!

We've had a couple of frost warnings already, but so far we've been lucky.  The city to the north of us had it's first freeze last week, and a heavy frost hit the city to the south east.  It's not a huge concern for me this year, since all I've got growing in the garden are the stunted beets and some potatoes.

Inside the greenhouses, the sunflowers are looking beautiful.

They need more time to set seed though.

The tomato jungle is still growing strong.  With each frost warning I pick the largest and any tomatoes that have started to turn.  They are ripening just fast enough inside to keep us in tomato sandwiches.

The peppers are buried under the tomato plants now, and though they have new flowers, there haven't been any new pepper growth in weeks.  I think the bees are having trouble getting to them.  The Hungarian sweet wax peppers are the right seed- the ones Dad grew when I was a child.  Delicious.  Only one plant survived to the garden, but it produced 7 peppers itself- much higher yield than green peppers.  Next year I'll have to keep them out of the jungle for even higher productivity.

The cucumbers are finally producing, and I've made a dozen quarts of dill pickles, in addition to all of the cukes we're eating fresh.

The radishes and carrots in the greenhouse produced big lovely tops, much like the beets outside, but the roots are all tiny.  It makes me wonder whether the soil was too cold or just too dry this year.  We've had plenty of rain, but it all seems to fall at once, then a week or three with none at all.  I'd lean more toward soil temperature though, since I do water the greenhouses regularly.

I've been cleaning out the old coop this week- heavy with manure from last winter, since there was nothing living in it this summer, and no need to rush.  The milk room was also neglected, since we've been milking outside all summer.  The garden gets a fresh topping of litter and manure, to compost in place over the winter.  The chickens are doing a fine job of spreading it out evenly too.

The weaning of the calves is under way.  We put Maureen and Monsoon in the pasture last week.  Murphy remains in the yard/chicken pen, and still gets two bottles per day.  He is nursing a bit, but not much.  Mildred sleeps in the chicken pen, then spent the day in the pasture last week.  Yesterday we kept her in the yard until 2pm.  The calves were crying in the morning, but she didn't want anything to do with them.  About 1:30pm, she started bawling, so finally, at 2, we put her in the pasture.  The plan for now is to try and keep her in the yard a little longer every day.  I'd prefer to continue once a day milking, and allow her production to drop down.

Meats and Meals are doing well.  They build a little hay nest to sleep in at night.  I give them a bit of fresh hay every morning, and they add it to their little pile.
I don't see any obvious growth, but they seem happy and satiated, so I'm maintaining their feed at 4 Cups cooked scratch, with milk, lentils, and now beets instead of potatoes.  I found a few jars of 2009 beets in the cold room.  They look, smell, and taste fine, but I really don't need them hiding in a corner and taking up space.  After they finish off the jars I'll start picking the beets in the garden for them, then back to potatoes.  They love the raspberry leaves, and happily gobble up a bucket full of them daily.  I'm tempted to move them into the turkey pen for a few days before butchering, to wipe out the plants.

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