Independence Days Update: Shirtsleeves and Baseball

Sharon November 9th, 2009

When Indian summer comes around here, you know it may be the very last time, and thus, you have to enjoy it.  It hit the mid-60s yesterday, and is supposed to do the same today.  We open the windows to air out the house, play baseball with the kids, work on putting garden beds down for the winter, and tomorrow will do what may be the last big barn cleanout until spring (we might get another one done in December – it really depends on the snowload. 

It was a good day for planting the last of the garlic and bulbs, for hanging laundry out and for setting the indoor plants out in the sun one more time.  Of course, I believed the weather forecast that claimed that we wouldn’t have frost and left my lemon verbena, citrus and gotu kola out last night, which was, ummm…not wise. The gotu and the citrus should be ok, but I may have just killed my poor lemon verbena.  Oops. 

I spent the weekend at an event at our synagogue – our annual scholar-in-residence weekend, of which I am, for my sins, the chair.  It went off quite well, which is a relief.  It also tied in more beautifully than I expected with my own agendas – Rabbi Jill Hammer, our speaker, spent her last talk on reconnecting people with the agrarian roots of Judaism, something that is obviously, a source of interest to me.

This week should be quiet – and spent, miraculously at home.  I have been away from home 9 nights out of the last 14 (I spent the weekend staying over with friends so that Eric wouldn’t be inconvenienced by my needing to haul back and forth to the event so much – we had a lovely slumber party!), and am looking forward to some comparative peace and quiet before an influx of guests (my Dad’s annual visit to the east, plus other friends of the family), Simon’s birthday, and our Thanksgiving trip to my family hit us. 

The new Adapting in Place book has been more or less completely on the shelf while the fall harvest came in, classes were beginning, I was travelling, etc… so that’s my next project – to get that in order and begin more seriously working on the book.

It looks like there’s a possibility that Eric’s TA may want to room with us, at least for the winter and spring.  Eric is his advisor, and I’m very enthusiastic about this arrangement, since it will give the two of them a chance to get work done together, and also give Eric someone to hang out with while I’m neglecting him for the book ;-) .

Not too much else to report here – there’s a lot to do before the shift over to winter, but we can’t do a lot of it until the shift begins – that is, we don’t want to seal the windows and doors up until it is too cold to enjoy casting open all the windows again.  We don’t want to set up the cold frames until the days are consistently cold enough to make it worth the effort.  So we play baseball instead, and enjoy the sunshine.

How about you?

Plant something: Garlic, bulbs

Harvest something: Beets, chard, kale, brussels sprouts, daikon, carrots, parsnips, parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme, onions, scallions, lime leaves, milk, eggs, ginko leaves, kale

Preserve something: Made a little kim chi, but nothing else.

Waste Not: Collected bagged leaves from the curbs for mulch and compost, picked up scraps for chickens from friends, the usual composting and feeding critters.  Also, a friend gave us a kosher, freezer burned turkey, saying she was going to throw it out otherwise.  Critter made awesome soup, some of which we returned to her.  I don’t think she’ll dump it next time.

Want Not: Nope

Build Community Food Systems: Lots and lots of radio interviews for ID, garden design class.

Eat the Food: Lots of butternut squash – both mashed and as soup.  Root vegetable massaman curry, and laotian turkey soup.  ‘Twas a good eatin’ week.


16 Responses to “Independence Days Update: Shirtsleeves and Baseball”

  1. Fernon 09 Nov 2009 at 9:43 am

    It’s All About Pumpkin here. Got 10 leftover/unsold Halloween pumpkins from one of the churches that had pumpkin patch fund raisers – they’ve learned to put ‘please take these’ notices on Freecycle to help their clean-up! So I’m slicing & drying the meat, roasting seeds, and eating lots of baked pumpkin dishes with pumpkin in them.

    I figure that’s Want not, preserving, community, waste not, and eat.

    Planted more spinach and lettuce in cold frame.

    Harvested last of peppers due to frost. Even the pepper plant in the cold frame was hit!

    Frondly, Fern

  2. Claireon 09 Nov 2009 at 10:27 am

    We had November weather in October, and so far, October weather in November. It’s been in the 70sF the last two or three days, supposed to be 70F today, then a bit cooler, 60s, for the remainder of the week. Plus it’s been dry and sunny, finally. Still no hard frosts or killing freezes, unusual for this late in the season in the St. Louis, MO area.

    Plant: I got the bed prepared for garlic and potato onions, will begin planting them today. Also ordered a supposedly perennial leek to try. I moved a couple of self-seeded mustard plants into the cold frame for overwintering and dug up three scarlet runner bean tubers, planting them in pots to overwinter in the basement.

    Harvest: the last of the sweet peppers (the hot pepper plants next to the patio have escaped the couple of light frosts to date), storage radishes and their greens, mustard greens, raspberries (gotta love a year when I can harvest raspberries through the first week of November!), shiitake mushrooms.

    Preserve: made dill pickles out of the remaining green tomatoes. I didn’t can them, just put them in the fridge to use over the next year. Still harvesting a few calendula blossoms and drying them. Have been drying the popcorn with a fan (was finally able to turn off the dehumidifier since the weather has dried). Saved the dry scarlet runner bean seeds I found on the plants when I dug up the tubers, for re-planting if the tubers die. Saved the seeds from the Lady Godiva pumpkins and the butternut squash that we ate, some for re-planting, the rest for eating.

    Waste not: my DH’s mom gave us the Earthways seeder that my DH’s dad used in his garden. I think it will be useful as I expand the garden beyond the current 1000 square feet. Opened the windows to take advantage of the free heat. Did several loads of laundry because it was finally dry and warm enough for line-drying (had avoided doing laundry while we were in the middle of the deluge during the last couple weeks of October).

    Want not: purchased another wool sweater from a local thrift store. I think I have enough wool sweaters to get through the winter now. Also darned some holes in my cashmere sweater and one of the purchased wool sweaters.

    Community food systems: nothing in the past week

    Eat the food: stew made from our homegrown potatoes and the last of the beans, including shelled scarlet runner beans that were especially tasty. Another potato stew, this time with the sauerkraut my DH made from locally grown cabbage. I am in the process of making a pumpkin pie from scratch, crust included, using the Lady Godiva pumpkin flesh. Will let you all know next week how it turned out.

  3. Mia @ agoodhumanon 09 Nov 2009 at 10:45 am

    My update this week. Plenty of good quality me time this weekend while hubby was away doing a Solar PV course.

  4. Debon 09 Nov 2009 at 10:53 am

    I hauled out all the blankets and comforters that have been in storage over the summer and put then on the lines to air–same with all the pillows. All the couch cushions and pillows went outside for one last airing before winter also.

    All the windows got opened up to let the last breezes of a warm day blow thru. I periodically open windows in the bedrooms all winter to air them out but not the living areas.

    We picked up our new puppy and pretty much spent the weekend tiring him out so he will sleep at night. We live in the country–I like a watchdog in the house to warn us if something is up.

    I potted up my amaryllis bulbs that have been resting so we will have blooms for Christmas. They are bulbs my mother gave me 7 years ago and still going strong. She passed away 4 years ago at Christmas time so I plant her bulbs as a rememberance.

  5. Lorrieenaon 09 Nov 2009 at 11:09 am

    Update here

    I had forgotten the smell of fresh apples, until we drove home from the orchard this weekend. Yum!

  6. risa stephanie bearon 09 Nov 2009 at 11:54 am

    Beloved got that flu (it oughta be called Public Servant’s Disease), so we are kind of hunkered down now.

    Umm, planted nothing; harvested the usual greenhouse greens and chicken and duck eggs; have been re-doing the insulation under half the house and started new insulation under the other half; Craigslist-acquired six bags of leaves; made chili, chicken soup, mashed potatoes, mashed turnips, potato salad, eggs-potatoes-and-onions, winter-squash soup, fresh salad, ate stored apples. Leaning to slowly bake root vegs (such as a GIANT beet) in the Dutch oven on the woodstove.

  7. Eleanoron 09 Nov 2009 at 1:24 pm

    Didn’t get too much done, as DH was recovering from eye surgery.

    Plant: mulched new bluberry plants I planted 2-weeks ago. Also made cages to protect them from deer and rabbits this winter. Used old tomato cages, bird netting, and clothes pins. Worked great.

    Began planning gardens for next year, including ordering seeds, layout in Excel.

    Harvest: none

    Waste: got new 3-bin compost system, got neighbors to fill it with their leaves, since the highschool boys raking our yard just didn’t get it, and hauled our leaves away. Compsted kitchen veggie scraps.

    Prep: made loads of octoberfest beer mustard for holiday gifts; seven 8-oz jars cranberry chutney, and 7-pints and 1 8-oz jar of curried apple chutney which is more like raisin chutney (not really enough apples in there, since it was supposed to make 8 pints, but diddn’t). Have more apples and cranberries to can (waiting in fridge).
    Stocked up on iodized salt, canning salt, baking powder & soda, wine vinegars

    Build: none

    Eat: ate locally grown buffalo & veggies.

  8. Gabrielleon 09 Nov 2009 at 3:04 pm

    Plant—Nothing planted this week.

    Harvest—A handful of cherry tomatoes, 4 or 5 green beans, 8 or so red potatoes, a few turnip greens, onions.

    Preserve—Saved okra and pole bean seeds. Froze chopped green onions.

    Reduce Waste—We continue our energy reduction, recycling, and composting efforts. I composted the egg shells, coffee grounds, and banana peels left over from preparation of the men’s breakfast at church. One coy older man thought he would kid with me, “So, Gabrielle do you recycle banana peels?” I said, “Yes, I have a compost bucket right here.” All of the other men laughed and laughed at him because he turned red and didn’t have a come-back. He had never thought of “recycling” banana peels.

    I helped with our church bazaar and rummage sale. I picked up a few homemade items from the bazaar section for gifts—bows, hats, and gloves. I donated some rice bags to the sale that I had made. From the rummage sale section we bought a puzzle, puzzle keeper, and some never used Christmas coloring books that will be either advent gifts or go in our daughter’s stocking. I picked up a water bath canner for a friend and another gift that shall remain nameless for a friend who reads this blog. ;)

    Prep/Storage—I stocked up on a lot of organics—butter, crackers, raisins, and cereal. The bulk order of organic maple syrup arrived this week. Hubby completed the first step in the soda making process. I pulled the weeds that have needed to be removed for weeks (ok, ok, months). I pulled down almost all of the tomato cages, leaving only the cherry tomatoes that are still fruiting. I pulled the bamboo poles from the beans and tidied up the gardens.

    I checked all of our stores this week. The outside of a couple of cans needed cleaned and I took that as an incentive to completely rearrange one of the main food pantries downstairs. It is so nice to see almost all of my canning in one place—the beautiful peaches, beets, green beans, preserves of all types, tomatoes and pears make me smile whenever I look at them (not to mention when I eat them!).

    Building Community Food Systems—I made up some more boxes for the food pantry. This year the church will be making up boxes with holiday food items inside, and I’ll be making a handout with some recipes to include in each. I bought a dozen eggs from a friend who has chickens. I visited a local farmers market to stock up on sweet potatoes for the winter and bought some for a friend. Picked up local milk for our small milk co-op. I helped organize the church Bonfire, Hayride and Wienie Roast. It was nice to see many people from the community join us this year. I made an effort to use the items we already had rather than purchasing something new. We also recycled at the event. My article entitled Eat Better for Less was released this week as part of the November issue of the magazine.

    I will be picking up over 80 pounds of pecans this week. They are within the 200 mile definition of local and are this year’s crop. The farmers in Georgia are ones we have been working with for years, and it always feels good to support them. The bulk buy is a fundraiser for an organization with which I belong and is always a big hit with friends.

    Eat the Food—I’d say that my husband was the most excited about the Shepherd’s Pie this week. The potatoes, onions, garlic, and lamb were either grown by us or bought from local farmers. My daughter’s favorite was probably the persimmon muffins I made last night. The persimmons my family from Texas brought us were ultra-ripe and ready for use. I wanted to try something different, so I morphed about 4 recipes together. They turned out fantastic! The blueberries and cream were my favorite this week. They were ones we picked earlier in the year and had frozen. I took a little sour cream, sweetened it with a bit of rapadura, crumbled some leftover homemade graham crackers, and topped the berries with the mixture. They were yummy!

  9. TLEon 09 Nov 2009 at 4:28 pm

    Plant something: Marigolds

    Harvest something: spring onions, purslane, mixed lettuce, basil, mint, corn salad, (under ripe but hot) chillis. Beer!

    Preserve Something: Kim chi, peach salsa.

    Prep & Storage: Restocked dried beans. Cooked & froze fava beans for use over the next couple of weeks. Ordered a year’s supply of multivitamins.

    Reduce Waste: Purchased a big mixed bag of seeds at a friend’s garage sale. Not sure how many will germinate, but if any do, it’ll be fine. Usual composting & recycling.

    Eat the Food: First ever attempt at home-made seitan (from the Veganomicon recipe). Also first ever attempt at Robin Robertson’s recipe for slow-cooked BBQ seitan & veggies. The slowcooker recipe was a little underseasoned for my taste, but the seitan was a great success. Made chickpea cutlets again (yum) topped with the little bit of peach salsa leftover from bottling. Peach crumble for dessert.

    Build Community Food Systems: Invited 2 household of friends (who are vegan-friendly & love gardening, & live within walking distance) to dinner – phase one of my plan to develop a dinner co-op.

  10. Amberon 09 Nov 2009 at 4:58 pm

    Here is my update.

    Highlight: Church bazaar season has started again!

  11. AnneTon 09 Nov 2009 at 6:15 pm

    The mild weather is nice. Got a few things done around the house and garden and just enjoyed the sunshine. Details here:

  12. sealanderon 09 Nov 2009 at 6:39 pm

    Planted: Bush bean seedlings, lettuce, basil, more hyssop (cat dug up the previous planting), Hungarian bread seed poppy and lovage. The first beans are showing on the bush beans that I put out under a makeshift lean-to, first time I’ve experimented with growing them this early. Transplanted alpine strawberry and parsley seedlings to grow at the edges of the paths between my raised beds.
    Harvested: Leeks, leeks, and more leeks :)
    Lettuce, asparagus, chard, kale, chickweed, mint, lemon balm, lemon verbena (mine lives outside and sheds its leaves in winter, Sharon, so there should be hope for yours).
    Waste not: Have started making stock from the leek and asparagus trimmings, turned out very tasty. Got some sacks of potting mix that the factory gives away because they have holes in them.
    Preserving: Got the organic lemons, just off to buy the vodka to make home-made limoncello. Going to give a rhubarb and elderflower preserve a try this week too, once I’m done organising the jar collection.
    Prep and storage: Putting the evergrowing jar collection in one place, and measuring them all so I can order lids of the appropriate size. The first strawberries are at the market so I’ve be getting to work on them as soon as the price comes down.
    Eat the food: Have finally succeeded in making a genuine risotto…….now turning out a regular batch of leek, asparagus and sausage risotto, and freezing some of it. Finished the last of the frozen home grown beans and the stored squash.

  13. Liseon 09 Nov 2009 at 9:34 pm

    My update is on my blog:

  14. Shiraon 09 Nov 2009 at 11:29 pm

    Planted a flower bed and two beds of winter vegetables, and a cover crop of oats and favas in one of my raised beds. I had four trays of flower, herb, broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower starts still sitting around looking forlorn from my summer start sales. Business picked up at my day job and I just never got to them….

    The cole family starts by rights should have died but they look just fine and much like the volunteers coming up here and there. I’m hoping that the starts mostly over winter and start growing again in the spring. I have some greenhouse plastic to cover them during the winter.

    Finally got most of the tomatoes either canned or in the jam pot.

    We’re still eating our own potatoes. I dug up a bunch and served a baked Navajo Blue squash from the garden with steamed potatoes and home made ketchup.

    I don’t know if this counts in the community category, but I called in some markers from last winter’s handouts of first aid and beans. My car died right before I had to get a class 100 miles away and I borrowed one. Which is how I showed up for a class on sustainable urban design in a fully pimped out 1986 Cadillac.

    Shira in Bellingham, WA

  15. KCon 10 Nov 2009 at 9:25 pm

    Plant something: garlic

    Harvest something: found a few more green tomatoes, lots of full sized christmas radishes (round like turnips, green with a red center), asian greens, beet greens, broccoli raab, and the last few okra pods (for seed)

    Preserve something: made applesauce, and kim chi (with asian greens and christmas radishes, started some apple vinegar from the apple peelings and cores.. also froze some beet greens.

    Waste Not: collected more brewery waste for composting

    Want Not: picked up 4 bu potatoes and a box of beets for the root cellar. I stored the beets in sand in the root cellar. I ordered more oats. I’m trying to figure out a way to store the potatoes so that critters won’t get into them. I don’t think the root cellar is critter proof.

    Build Community Food Systems: shared kombucha starter with a friend.

    Eat the Food: One morning, i turned the oatmeal into a sweet potato pudding – cooked on the stove top (oats, raisons, toasted sunflower, mashed sweet potato, cinnamon, and an egg mixed in while it cooked over a gentle flame). I used a flame spreader , but double boiler would work too. I’ve been eating small amounts of the sauerkrauts, fermented mexican gherkins and fermented pickled green tomatoes at almost every meal. We eat sweet potatoes and white potatoes at several meals each week. – very satisfying. Also, lots of greens from the garden.

  16. dtuykeeeton 27 Nov 2009 at 1:31 am


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