Independence Days Update: Into Late Autumn

Sharon October 31st, 2010

This week seems to have been the transition point from early to late autumn.  Early autumn is a time of harvests and golden afternoons, with crisp and chilly nights.  Late autumn here is cold, one finds the spots where the windows have yet to be sealed by the cold wind blowing inside (I hate to seal up the windows before winter sets in in earnest – fresh air on the occasional warm day is just too important!) and there’s a transition from October’s brilliance into November’s brown.

I like November, actually.  I always have – it gets quiet and peaceful, and while it is cold there’s still a lot of nice days left of what F. Scott Fitzgerald called “football weather.”  Planting is done save bulbs and the garlic I forgot about and the thinsg I’m winter sowing.

It is time to fill the porch-root cellar up and take the ice packs out of the fridge and put everything on the porch.  We look forward to this all year – the enclosed porch becomes our walk-in fridge and it is so much more accessible than the regular kind – no losing things in the back, no more playing with ice.  Yay!

We need to get our wood and hay in – the hay was supposed to come yesterday but it didn’t.  Our neighbor who brings it over is a busy guy too, so we just assume things will work out.  No pressure.

Hemp and Basil went home to their new place yesterday, and it was  a real pleasure to meet their new owner and know that they are going to be happy where they are. 

The hens are barely laying, but despite that my wonderful step-mother made us a whole set of beautiful new nest boxes, in the hope of getting them to lay somewhere other than the goat’s manger.  The chicken area looks completely refreshed and beautiful!

I’m moving the firewood into the mudroom and getting ready for the season of fires – we’ve already had a couple but it is beginning – we’re expecting days in the 40s and nights in the 20s. I have to settle the indoor plants in their permanent sunny spots – there are always too many things I’d like to winter over. 

Otherwise, we’re concentrating on getting the new project up and running.  How about you?

Planted: Tulips, some late garlic

Harvested: Last hot peppers, turnips, beets, kale, chard, broccoli, arugula, mustard greens, quinces, apples, dug marshmallow, burdock and elecampane roots, milk, a very few eggs

Preserved: Made apple quince sauce, dried hot peppers, dried and tinctured herb roots, made a bunch of goat cheese

Waste Not: collected fallen pears at a local orchard for the chickens, arranged to give a good home to the extra halloween pumpkins after the holiday (goats love them!)

Want Not: Sorting through what we’ve got in the house.  Amazing what I find!

Eat the Food: Roasted squash with chipotle-maple glaze, beets with tahini and yogurt,

Build Community Food Solutions: A couple of articles, working on my local food resources evaluation.

How about you?


13 Responses to “Independence Days Update: Into Late Autumn”

  1. Andrea G. says:

    Planted: Forcing assorted greens indoors for an experiment. (Q1: How do my housemates respond to having plants all over? Q2: Which ones taste good? Q3: Which ones can harden off and tolerate the winter in this climate, with a cold frame?)

    Harvested: Potatoes (all-reds did better than Yukon golds this year), leeks, daikon radishes, amaranth seed, burgundy bean seed

    Preserved: Pickled daikon, both root and greens. (Daikon greens are peppery! Wilt in salt water to get rid of prickles.)

    Waste Not: Scavenged storm windows for coldframes

    Want Not: Still unpacking from having moved in August. Today, installing root barriers around next year’s garden bed. (Nothing like digging a ditch to let you know how out of shape you are.)

    Eat the Food: Roasted potatoes and leeks with salmon, all in olive oil & duck sauce.

    Build Community Food Solutions: Chatted with someone working in the community garden. (Waitlist of the nearest one turns out to be 1.5 years!)

  2. The Mom says:

    What is it about the old blog that I find so appealing?

    It is certainly getting chilly here in New England. The leaves have almost all fallen and the garden is wrapping up.

    Planted: garlic, potato onions

    Harvested: pac choi, tatsoi, swiss chard, carrots, beets, eggs (also few and far between)

    Preserved: nothing, just admiring all the lovely jars, boxes of potatoes, hanging garlic…..

    Waste not: Went through all the clothing and donated what didn’t fit, or was no longer needed.

    Want not: When the dishwasher died, decided to handwash all dishes instead. I’m finding it rather pleasant.

    Eat the food: Huge pots of Pasta w Fagioli, lots of roasted root veggies and potatoes for miles.

    Build Community Food Systems: Nothing much

  3. Evey says:

    Planted (by farm family); blueberries, grapes,last of garlic, bunching onion sets under raime- soon to new low poly tunnel

    Harvested: whole hot pepper plants hanging upside down in barn ( I’ll make riestas with them as they dry), sorted potatoes and moved to cold celler, arugula and herbs, 5 eggs per day from 10 hens, chicken meat-see below

    Waste not: lots of scraps going to hens

    Perserved something:froze 20 lbs of orgainc pastured chicken that was clucking yesterday one is in the oven now). pressure canned 6qts of turkey rice soup. I’m still basically practicing with the pressuer canner; I hope to do venison cubes soon.

    Community food systems: We were “paid” for our help (how-to lesson for us) slaughering (I just noticed that laugh is in this word, hmm)24 meat chicken with 4 huge finished naked chickens, avg weigth 6 lbs. This is the same couple that gave us 5 laying chickens in the spring to get us started. We keep thinking of ways to give back to them, such as some of our honey and sweet potatoes which they didn’t get too many of this year. Jim also will do some woodworking for them in exchange for their generosity and to keep the relationship going.

  4. Julie says:

    Hi first time here. Live in sunny oklahoma where it is in the 70′s today.

    Planted: this week : Nectarine and peach trees. Grapevine, berry bushes.
    trying to figure out where to “plant” the future ducks by putting up a pen.

    Harvested: tomatoes and basil

    Preserved: trying to can dumpstered tomatoes and apples (not done yet)

    Waste Not: rest of dumpstered stuff to compost

    Want not: searching for 2nd hand clothes for 4 year old daughter; need snow/winter boots

  5. KC says:

    In central Virginia, we had our first frost 2 days ago. Luckily, we live in a microclimate that didn’t receive any damage … even the basil still looks good. I decided to harvest all the sweet peppers anyway; it is time to start to clean up the garden. I left the hot pepper plants to see how they will fare over the next couple of weeks. I am also cutting most of the basil.

    I planted crimson clover in most of my garden beds several weeks ago … and instead, I see chickweed coming up in all those locations. Strange! Chickweed is a good cover crop too (see Matron of Husbandry). I may have to start buying my covercrop seed from more reputable seedsmen.

    Last week , we had some warm weather and rain; all of the fall crops have suddenly became giants.

    The neighbors’ chickens are laying eggs like crazy. They got some new chicks in late spring and they just started laying about a month ago. They said that they will continue to lay all winter.

    Still no fires in the stove , but we need to start getting our wood in. We always seem to be late with this. Piling more blankets on the bed and wearing extra socks and clothes around the house.

    It is time to start raking leaves and put them in the garden.

    Planted: Garlic hardneck and soft neck. I’ve been reading up on the complexities of planting onions in central Virginia (we are neither long day nor short day, but mid). I finally put my nettle plants in the ground. I hope they have time to take root before the ground freezes.

    Harvested: giant daikon , giant kale, peppers, beets, tomatoes (mostly cherry, mexican midget, and yellow plum – all of them volunteers), chard, endive, chickory, parsley, carrots, black winter radish, sconzerella (planted in April and still pretty small at harvest). Arugula, chinese cabbage, collard, ky wonder pole beans, polecat crowder peas (for seed and for eating), okra for seed, tomato for seed. Broccolini. marigolds, tithonia (the bumblebees love it) and cosmos.

    Preserved: Froze some crowder peas and sweet peppers. I dried basil and cayenne.

    Waste Not: Mulching with carrot tops. I also mulched with dried basil stems and dried bean pods.

    Want Not: DH made rodent proof boxes for storing potatoes in root cellar. I found some insulation board on Craigslist for use in windows and in root cellar. I stocked up on some sewing supplies (needles and thread).

    Eat the Food: DH made chicken soup with daikon. I ate fried potatoes with peppers & onions for breakfast. (I keep a couple of boiled potatoes in the refrigerator so they cook quickly in the frying pan). I also made some granola using stored oats, sunflower and sesame. I made a small batch by dry roasting in a cast iron pan so I didn’t have to crank up the oven! I cooked potatoes, sweet potatoes and later spaghetti squash (in insulated tiger pot)- all using the same water which I later used to make soup.

    Build Community Food Solutions: Emailing friends about Carol Deppes new book – The Resilient Gardener. Sharing produce with friends. Played music at the Farmers Market.

    What do you do with giant daikons?

  6. JB says:

    kc – I am interested in the rodent proof boxes. Would you be willing to describe how they were made? thanks

  7. Julie says:

    Still in the 70′s here in Okrahoma

    Planted: nectarine and peach trees. Berry bushes and 1 grapevine.

    Harvesting: tomatoes from vine

    Preserving: dumpstered tomatoes and apples. Will bring in watercress for winter.

    Waste not: composted all dumpstered stuff that was no good

    Want not: looking for 4 year old daughter’s 2nd hand clothes. Need snow/winter boots for her.

    Eat the food: thinning greens for salads/ omelettes. Watercress sandwiches.

    Building community food systems: volunteering in the kitchen of OK Food Cooperative, paid in work credits for quality meat. Considering raising a hog on friend;s acreage outside city.

  8. Sharon says:

    KC – Giant pickles? Giant vats of kimchi?


  9. NM says:

    Planted: nothing
    Harvested: Apples, pumpkins, winter squash, local eggs, CSA vegetables, oregano
    Canned apple cider and quince jam; dried oregano, quince, chanterelle mushrooms the neighbor harvested and generously shared, overripe bananas and some carrot tops. Made ginger syrup and stored it in the fridge.
    Want not: Picked up 30 pounds organic soft white wheat berries, five pounds organic rolled oats and a pound of flax seed, all grown regionally (less than 60 miles away); couple of pounds of dried beans from another farmer, less than 20 miles. Continued the land search. Picked up some more in-state-made vodka for liqueur-making.
    Waste not: more decluttering, composting.
    Community food systems: Gave some cinnamon pear liqueur and Oregon grape jam to the neighbor who gave us the chanterelles. More food writing; another Slow Food meeting; bought dried beans, pumpkins and squash from local farmer, who gave me the apples and oregano for free; gave her some elderberry jelly and apricot syrup.
    Eat the food: Potato leek soup, vegetable sandwiches, scrambled eggs with chanterelles, pizza, spaghetti, apple cider, baked squash.

  10. KC says:

    JB – the rodent proof boxes were made from tongue and groove wood. It was made with similar dimensions to an apple crate. Then a lid was made to fit over the top and wood attached to the sides to use as handles for lifting. I can carry a full box – so they weren’t too heavy. They don’t have any holes in them (like apple crates do). I think they will still breathe enough to keep the potatoes happy. I’ll let you know next spring.

  11. Claire says:

    First frost in the suburban St. Louis, MO area was on Oct. 29. Still dry, just turned cool and dry rather than being warm and dry as it was most of October.

    Planted: garlic, potato onions, topset onions, perennial leeks (actually supposed to be elephant garlic, I understand)

    Harvested: the remaining tomatoes, sweet and hot peppers, and green beans. Also harvested dry beans and started harvesting the flour corn. Harvested lettuce, arugula, tatsoi, anise hyssop, shiitake mushrooms.

    Preserved: quite a bit of the pepper crop, by freezing. Ripe hot peppers and anise hyssop, by drying.

    Waste not: keeping the thermostat down to 55F during the day, or at least that’s the goal. Right now I’m sewing a rakusu (Buddhist garment) for a sangha member who doesn’t see well enough or have enough mobility in his hands to do it. Problem is, I don’t have enough mobility in my hands unless the temp is at least 60F, so we might have the house that warm till the end of November, when I have to have the rakusu completed. (Did I mention the garment has to be hand-sewn?)

    Want not: dragged out the down comforters. So nice to be toasty warm at night after being too cold all day! Also started wearing the extra winter layers and wool sweaters, so minimizing the amount by which I am too cold during the day. And the glassing-in of the south-facing front porch has begun. Hope it’s completed by the end of the month.

    Community food system: gave some extra food to our neighbor. Fed jujubes off our trees to our friends at the moon-viewing party we had at the October full moon, thereby introducing all of them to a new food.

    Eat the food: soup made including our potatoes and perennial leeks. Home-grown popcorn as a snack food. The DH has been using the sun oven to cook bannock (a wheat bread using baking powder as the rising ingredient). He figured he might as well use the sun oven since we are having such dry, sunny weather for so long.

  12. Rob says:

    1. Plant something: Planted some greens and chard seeds
    2. Harvest something: some carrots
    3. Preserve something: nope
    4. Waste Not: One of my fellow gardeners gave me dome cilantro seeds as she was clearing out her plot
    5: Want not: Ordered some much needed boots for winter, Received the Kindle I ordered from Amazon
    6. Preparation and Storage: Checked out my Crank/Solar/Battery Radio, and got my emergency supplies together (propane heater, food supplies etc) in case of power outage, made sure the generator would start; still working on the shed
    7. Build Community Food Systems: Donated some canned goods and pet food to local food drives
    8. Eat the food (cook something new): Carrot Apple soup using some of my carrots

  13. madison says:

    Well, it makes me feel a bit better that you are just planting that last bit of garlic… mine is going in on Wednesday, now that I’m getting settled into my new place. :) Today I’m dehydrating mushrooms. I, too, am worried about food prices – need to stock up on a few more things, but I don’t have much room to store tons of things of any sort, sticking things in odd places you’ll never know what you might find in my trailer!

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