Independence Days Update: Knitting Weather

Sharon October 26th, 2009

I suspect that I won’t have much to report next week.  You should also expect to see a quiet blog this week – whether there will be any posting at all will depend on Amtrak’s wireless situation – some trains are better than others, and while I’m hoping I can do some online work on the train, I’ve had trips where the connection didn’t work much.  On the other hand, this blog is rapidly approaching 1000 posts (I know there’s some material from the old blog that never did get imported over, so I suspect I’ve actually already crossed the 1000 post mark, but who knows for sure), and we all know I’m not exactly the briefest writer out there, so if you are really feeling withdrawal… ;-) .

By the time I’m back, we’ll be entering the final autumn push to get ready for winter – plus I’m running an event at my shul, we’ve got guests coming, Simon’s birthday party and then we’re off again for Thanksgiving.  I’m starting to look at December dreamily, knowing that the garden will be put to bed, the seed catalogs start flowing in, the guests mostly gone, Eric’s term winding up and the push for my AIP book not really on yet. 

We had Asher’s fourth birthday party yesterday, and it was lovely – good friends and good food and slightly overstimulated four year old. One of the best parts is watching our friends’ kids, who know that this is their farm too, climb the trees, carry around the goats and chicks, and build dams in the creek.  My boys decorated the cake, at Asher’s request, with “spice drops and jelly beans” and it really was quite a creation – chocolate buttermilk cake filled with raspberry jam, covered with whipped cream and the aforementioned candy, plus some pink sugar sprinkles that took Asher’s fancy.  Eric rather drily observed that they’d left a quarter inch of visible whipped cream uncovered…   But they were happy.

At the party we ate the very last of the summer tomatoes – actually, I still have a couple more, but we’ll finish them today.  And tomorrow, before I go, we’ll grill the last of the eggplant.  The peppers, which don’t hold well, are already done, and that will the end of summer’s unpreserved tastes.  But that’s ok – I’ve already got the parsnip-celeriac chowder and the pumpkin pie in the queue.

One of today’s projects is to catch the turkeys and weigh them – I’m hoping they are large enough to go to the butcher in the next two weeks, since 18 full grown turkeys is more than we have need for, and we could use the space back.  There was a hatchery failure, so we got our turkeys a month later than usual, so we shall have to see. 

It looked like Bast went into heat the day before yesterday, so we’re starting to figure out when the breedings will be.  The hope is to breed for April, but around our Thanksgiving trip and also around Passover, which is mercifully early this year.  If all goes well, we’ll breed Bast in three weeks, and she’ll be due the day after Pesach ends.

I got four more bushels of apples on Friday morning, and reserved the winesaps yet to be picked at our favorite orchard.  And a bushel of sweet potatoes to make up for the slimy ones that did badly in our cold, wet summer.  

The temperatures are still holding – we are still enjoying fresh greens and beets, leeks and turnips, chard and kale, carrots and the first parsnips.   I’ve still got to get the last of the garlic in, and the remaining bulbs as well – but those will have to wait until I get back. It won’t be the first time that I’ve let it go until November.  I’ve also got to start digging roots – marshmallow, elecampane, burdock, dandelion.   I’m reminded of why I don’t leave that often – so much to do, so little time!

Ah well.  I’m excited about my adventure too – looking forward to taking a trip I haven’t made in years, warm sunshine, beautiful views, ripe tomatoes and meeting new people.  Or I will be, as soon as I get the laundry done ;-) .

How about you?

Plant something: Garlic

Harvest something: Beets, turnips, kale, chard, carrots, parsnips, comfrey, onions, scallions, leeks, arugula, brussels sprouts, rhubarb, milk, eggs, sage, oregano, wild and tame apples, quinces, daikon.

Preserve something: some sauerkraut, rhubarb sauce, fermented beets, quince jam, began making carrot pickles.

Waste Not: Besides the usual composting and feeding waste to various creatures, we’re scavening leaves for compost everytime we go into town. 

Want Not: Filled up the bins of goat and chicken feed, four bushels of apples, a bushel of sweet potatoes.

Build Community Food Systems: Interviews for Independence Days, began plotting my “hot men of sustainable agriculture” calendar to go along Crunchy Chickens “hotties of science” theme. 

Eat the Food: Kids really like dim-sum style turnip cakes and stir fried cabbage.  Yum!


18 Responses to “Independence Days Update: Knitting Weather”

  1. limesarahon 26 Oct 2009 at 8:15 am

    Kids really like dim-sum style turnip cakes


    I’ve been kind of burnt out on everything lately. Except, evidently, spinning. Nobody will be cold in my house ever again. Even if I don’t like knitting, I will simply pile the yarn on top of them and keep them warm.

  2. Mia @ agoodhumanon 26 Oct 2009 at 8:33 am

    My update here:

    We’ve been planning our cool season garden. Here in Southern California we can grow food all year round so I had better get a move on and get my new crop in.

  3. JBon 26 Oct 2009 at 8:38 am

    I laughed when I saw that you gather leaves every time you go to town. I collect leaves from several of my neighbors. I am often seen going around with my handy wheelbarrow loaded with leaves or horse manure. My neighbors think I am somewhat eccentric but harmless :)

    Plant something: skirret, the last of the cover crops

    Harvest : lettuce, turnip greens, quinoa, rosemary

    Preserve something – drying basil, mint and yarrow

    Waste not – leaves, horse manure, cardboard (to extend garden beds)

    Want not – finally organized food storage area to accomodate my new shelving from goodwill. Lovely to not have everything spread out over the floor. The turnip greens came from thinning the turnips.

    Build community food systems – taking neighbors excess produce to food panty

    Eat the food – first spicy squash soup of the season (our favorite, and lovely on a cold day), made green tomato salsa for the first time- it was good!

  4. Lorrion 26 Oct 2009 at 8:41 am

    Our update is here.

    I’m still looking forward to cooler weather, and hoping the brussel sprouts do something. At least they *look* happy… all 4″ tall of them!

  5. Julieon 26 Oct 2009 at 9:02 am

    Really feeling the season of inside is upon us but yes I did…

    Plant something: garlic

    Harvest something: arugula, spinach. lettuce, broccoli (just bits)
    chick weed, drying peas, pears (from the fruit tree project), greenhouse tomatoes, ditto one eggplant, a few raspberries, two small artichokes (really should have let them flower)

    Preserve something: crunch up the dried basil, always sorting and drying walnuts, beans, peas and saving heirloom tomato seeds.

    Waste not:???

    Want not: mushrooms (chantrelles) way fun to pick!

    Community food systems: took a box of pretty pears to the local high school teaching kitchen. Very well received. Instructor will take more fresh local food. Yahoo!

    Eat the food: Pears poached in wine with candied walnuts, and whipped cream.

  6. MEAon 26 Oct 2009 at 9:07 am

    Grow something

    Lettuce and radishes are up in my new, cobbled together cold frame!


  7. Gabrielleon 26 Oct 2009 at 9:19 am

    Plant—Nothing in the ground this week. I have lots of bulbs I need to plant, but I didn’t make the time to do it when it was pretty outside this week.

    Harvest—The very last of the green Beans, in fact, I’m amazed I was able to find any that were edible with the touch of frost we’ve had. I also harvested the last of the red tomatoes. They were a little anemic tasting, but they added some color to a capresi salad I brought to a friend’s dinner party last night. I pulled basil, bell peppers, jalapeños, onions, and flowers for arrangements. We went to a local pumpkin patch with our daughter’s school and picked a pumpkin and a few apples.

    Preserve—I made mozzarella and yogurt again this week, and I was very happy that I did when we were invited to the impromptu dinner party. It was nice to bring something fresh and Italian to a spaghetti dinner. I harvested what I think will be the last of the jalapenos and made easy jalapeño rings. I froze some more bell peppers and chopped green onions. I was pleased to preserve a few more foods this week. Like I said last week, this is the time of the year that I look back and wish I would have done more.

    Reduce Waste—We continue our energy reduction, recycling, and composting efforts. I happily passed some soup on to a friend who just had a beautiful baby girl. We went camping this weekend, and it was nice to give it to someone who appreciated it rather than letting it go to waste. I also passed a magazine on to her. I reorganized the pantry, taking stock of how many jams and jellies we have left. I keep giving it away and realized that I need to make sure that we have enough for us this winter. I cleaned out the refrigerator and was pleased that not much was found wasteful in there. I used some hot peppers we had from the CSA along with the jalapeños when making the rings I mentioned above. I began making a pile of books to bring to the bookstore for resale. Hubby is working on the church computer to help save money and reduce the need for purchase of a new computer. We donated a few more items for the church bazaar and rummage sale.

    A friend passed some clothes and coats on to our daughter. These hand-me-downs are so appreciated! Our daughter gets such a kick out of wearing something that “Marley gave me”, and it means so much more to her than something that came off of a rack. She often asks, “Who made this for me” when talking about toys or “Who gave this to me” when referring to clothes. It is so much nicer to tell her that her cousin or her friend passed clothes to her or her Daddy made her toy than to tell her that it was made in China and shipped thousands of miles to a store.

    I am asking myself more often when at the store, “Can I make this myself, and if so, how much would it cost?” Example—we went camping this weekend, and I can’t imagine camping without smores. Instead of buying graham crackers, I made them myself. The taste of homemade is far superior to the ones you find in the boxes, and they are a little cheaper. Yes, it takes time, but really not as much as you might think. (I’ll try to post the recipe for these on my blog soon).

    Prep/Storage—I stocked up on some toiletries this week and found a great deal on organic carrots. I pulled out some more winter clothes for our daughter to wear as the weather continues to cool. I can’t think of anything else we did in this area.

    Building Community Food Systems—I made up some more boxes for the food pantry. The youth group donated $60 to the food pantry at church, and I spoke with them briefly about how important this outreach is for the community and how often we are able to help people in need. I picked up some tuna fish for the food pantry. We had some breads donated to the church, and I picked up about 9 cases of sliced breads, hot dog buns, and hamburger buns. We’ll use the hot dog buns for a wienie roast we have planned for November 7th, the hamburger buns will go for the youth, and the sliced breads will be donated when we hand out boxes and also used for the children’s program.

    Eat the Food—Our daughter’s favorite part of the food this week was the smores with the homemade graham crackers. “Thank you Momma for making this for me.” My hubby’s favorite part was eating the homemade petit fours that I baked for his birthday on Sunday. My favorite part was seeing each of their faces as they enjoyed the special treats and knowing that one of my special gifts in life is to prepare foods for the ones that I love. It is such an honor and responsibility. I, in many ways, am the gatekeeper for what we bring into our home and put in our bodies. Sure, it takes more thought, planning, and time to prepare foods from scratch and to plan the budget so that we can buy more locally grown and organic products. It is worth it, though. When we have a special treat, I want it to be special. When we sit down together to eat as a family, I want them to know that I made the meal with love.

  8. Mikeon 26 Oct 2009 at 9:39 am

    Allow me to point you in the direction of some hardcore hotties of sustainable agriculture: is run by two insanely good looking brothers (neither single, alas) in the verdant rolling hills of Soldiers Grove, WI.

    Jonny Hunter heads up an entirely hot team of guerrilla caterers in Madison WI who raise the hogs they cook (also not single):

    Put me down for a calendar, or two, or three.

  9. Robinon 26 Oct 2009 at 9:49 am

    Plant something: Garlic, lettuce, radishes, carrots, parsnips, butternut squash, pumpkins, spinach, scallions, beets, turnips, turnip greens, parsley, daffodils, favas, oats, alfalfa.

    Harvest something: Eggs, milk, venison, cabbage, spinach, radishes, turnips, chard, carrots, potatoes, parsley, basil, peppers, tomatoes, eggplant, onions, leeks, nasturtiums, broccoli,

    Preserve something: froze venison, froze basil, dried hot peppers, stored potatoes under the house.

    Waste Not: made three nifty Halloween costumes for the kids without buying a thing. We have a mummy, Frankenstein’s monster and a power strip.

    Want Not: Stocked up on hay and grain for animals, am letting stores of sugar drop so we’ll eat a little less, stacked kindling in a dry spot.

    Build Community Food Systems: Told a friend how to make bean soup from scratch.

    Eat the Food: Made lots of new things this week: Venison stew with garden vegetables, chard with raisins and cider vinegar, first of the butternut squash crop, pancake pie (leftover pancake batter poured over fruit and baked), cinnamon raisin rye bread.

  10. Eleanoron 26 Oct 2009 at 10:22 am

    Well, haven’t been too good at this the last several weeks. It seems that something has taken up each of my weekends. Drat! But, I did get a few things done. Most notably:
    made cold frames for each of my 4×6′ beds, there are cabages, broccoli, swiss chard, and choi planted in them now;
    planted 6 blueberry bushes last Saturday, still have to mulch them and build better cages around them to protect them from deer and rabbits over the winter;
    canned a double batch of apple sauce- but it’s gone now, everyone ate it all up, planning to do more;
    keep recycling;
    eating out less;
    discussing climate change (and stocking up) with husband;
    received seeds for spring/summer;
    received garlic to plant now (next weekend);
    formulating plant to get everything out of storage and store at home in basement – man my DSIL has a lot of stuff down there now. But need to reduce monthly expenses.

    Hope everyone is well.

  11. NMon 26 Oct 2009 at 10:49 am

    We’re having a wild rainstorm; it’s lovely. Average first frost date here is Oct. 15, but one hasn’t happened yet. Now and again I’m still finding a few ripened or half-ripened tomatoes, tomatilloes. Should get out and clean up the garden but it’s wet out there, and there’s so much to do inside …
    Plant something: no.
    Harvest something: quinces, rosehips, tarragon, eggs, CSA vegetables, farmstand apples, farmstand watermelon, figs, blueberries. Received a gift of nearly a pound of fresh shitaake mushrooms.
    Preserve something: Quince liqueur, dried watermelon, applesauce, apple butter, sweet pickles, grape jelly.
    Still have pounds and pounds of quince all over the kitchen, waiting to be dealt with.
    Waste not- Hmm. Not. I really wanted to not waste the watermelon rind, but I just couldn’t justify spending time on that when there are umpteen zillion other things waiting none too patiently for the very limited time available to deal with it, and I have no livestock, so out to the compost it went. After the dogs enjoyed some. : } At least it will make valuable soil hummus.
    Am continuing gradually to whittle down household goods a tiny bit at a time; have a box in the living room designated for the thrift store, that I put things into as I determine they can go.
    Want not — Nothing much. Went through my stores of food, found we’re good for cooking oil of one type or another until about 2011…
    Build community food systems. Again, not much. Took some things to the food bank, left bags out for the food drive, gave farmstand figs and blueberries to family members. Agreed with a friend to split a CSA share next year, since we were both rather overwhelmed by a whole one.
    Eat the food: Chard calzone, shitaake mushrooms cooked in olive oil and butter with shallots and herbs, gingerbread, quince liqueur, homemade jams and jellies on pancakes, french toast.

  12. Susan in NJon 26 Oct 2009 at 11:16 am

    I have this as week 26, half a year!

    Plant: No

    Harvest: Green beans, rosemary, thyme, sage, shiso

    Preserve: No, I’m having a hard time finding time and energy to implement preserving plans.

    Waste Not: Continued year end clean up/re-organize the house project; hung curtains on bedroom windows; started bringing down the winter clothing; a lot of plant moving and protecting; updated storage log.

    Want Not: Did the grand round of shopping errands this week including the big asian supermarket: box half/half and canned milk, rice, salt, canned corn, frozen tamales and dumplings of various sorts; bought the first half basket of StaymanWinesap’s – this one will probably get eaten rather soon.

    Community: Not much except for picking up apples in the rain from a local orchard at the farmer’s market

    Eat: Yes.

  13. Claireon 26 Oct 2009 at 11:19 am

    Wet, wet, wet in St. Louis, MO this past week, and in fact most of October. When it wasn’t raining in the early part of the week, I had other obligations and couldn’t get in the garden. Here’s what I managed to accomplish.

    Plant something: still nothing. Soon though!

    Harvest something: collards, storage radishes, nasturtium flowers, raspberries, persimmons, shiitake mushrooms, the remaining half of the popcorn.

    Preserve something: Removed the husks from last year’s black walnuts – much easier to do after the husks have dried out. Also removed the husks from the popcorn I’d harvested before, turned on the dehumidifier in the basement to dry out all the popcorn, and am also using a fan to help dry the popcorn so it can be taken off the cobs and stored. Washed the pumpkin seeds and am drying them for storage.

    Waste Not: saved cardboard from various boxes and brown paper from the bag the rice came in for use later (probably mulch liner for garden beds). My DH soaked some saved cardboard in water, put it in a cooler in the “root cellar”, and sprinkled the remaining sawdust impregnated with shittake mycelium onto the cardboard. In theory he can multiply the mycelium this way and not have to depend on buying it from someone else in the future.

    Want Not: Ordered 25 pounds of wheat berries. Found 3 wool sweaters and 2 fleece coats big enough to wear over the sweaters at a thrift store and garage sale, so I can stay somewhat comfortable in a 55F house this winter.

    Build Community Food Systems: Shared the excess produce we received from someone who gets discards from a neighborhood market with our neighbor. (The person who gets the discards obtains them for compost, but he noticed some of the produce was still good enough to eat, so he separates the still-eatable portion out and gives what he can’t use of it to us and others.)

    Eat the Food: my DH made a pumpkin custard out of the flesh from the hull-less pumpkins I grew. It uses coconut milk and tropical spices. I’d prefer less cardamom flavor, but it was still quite good. He also made a veggie soup and a lentil-potato stew which included some of the goodies from my garden.

  14. TLEon 26 Oct 2009 at 4:22 pm

    Plant something: warrigal spinach, pomegranate tree

    Harvest something: endive, lettuce thinnings, spring onion, mint, basil, 3 teeny heads of garlic, tuscan kale, broccoli leaves

    Preserve Something: My partner started his first batch of home-brewed beer… we’ve bottled it, and the tasting countdown begins.

    Prep & Storage: Independence Days finally arrived! I love it, thank you Sharon.

    Reduce Waste: usual composting & recycling. Put the timer back in the shower, and have resolved to pay attention to it. Started summer water saving regime ie catching the cold water that usually runs down the drain (during the heat-up phase). While it’s raining now, apparently summer will be dry here. Still using hankies, not tissues. Sourced stakes for my beans & a serviceable CD rack at the local re-use centre. Made great use of leftovers :)

    Build Community Food systems: Visited a local food fair, very inspiring.

    Eat the Food: homegrown salad, veggie burgers with homegrown garlic, veggie/chickpea parcels with homegrown greens & garlic.

  15. risa stephanie bearon 26 Oct 2009 at 5:08 pm

    Plant something: onions into the polytunnel. Fighting a bloom of aphids and slugs in mostly the bok choi, kale, and chard in there, though. They don’t seem to go after the lettuce. Huh.

    Harvest something: kale, lettuce, spinach, broccoli, chard, onions, eggs, parsley, cilantro, tomatoes (!!), apples, rosemary, rose hips.

    Preserve something: tomatillos, beets, turnips, beans, tomatoes (last canning run), cilantro, goose eggs (blown).

    Waste Not: Scavenging cardboard, firewood, lumber, whatever you have that’s not nailed down and agree for me to take away …

    Want Not: finishing the cold room, which is now “open” for business. Loaded it with potatoes, turnips, beets, apples, cabbages, flour, grains, beans, and dehydrated stuff. Making 5 gallons of (hopefully) beer.

    Build Community Food Systems: documenting building the cold room.

    Eat the Food: lots of tomato soup, tomatoes (still picking!) zukes (still got some!) chicken soup, eggses, ratatouille, applesauce, beans, apples, dried vegs and fruits, blackberry jam, winter squash. Sticky fingers.

  16. Liseon 26 Oct 2009 at 8:15 pm

    I’ve been miserable with a cold this week, so did less than I’d like. The good news is, I treated my cold with elderberry syrup and goldenrod tea I’d made myself, and I think it helped a lot! My update is here:

  17. Cindyon 26 Oct 2009 at 8:37 pm

    I’m wondering…how did you find a butcher for poultry? After 8 turkeys, I wouldn’t mind turning that chore over to someone else! Maybe I should look for someone who would trade. I still have 5 roosters to deal with and I’m thinking of just giving them away. I really don’t like butchering poultry. Any ideas? It’s almost enough to turn me into a vegetarian.

  18. Sharonon 27 Oct 2009 at 6:54 am

    Cindy, I don’t like doing large numbers either. There’s a poultry butcher near us, run off a farm, and a couple of local Amish farms will do it – we asked around and talked to cooperative extension and they helped us find some people. I’ve got 15 turkeys and 12 chickens to do, and that’s more than I really want to do myself, plus the butcher will bag and freeze for our customers, which is nice.


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