... the geese have been heading south for a month now, earlier than usual, their loud calls piercing and deep as they have been flying over our home... headed south. If this is any indication, it seems to point to an earlier than usual winter. I think summer left right around the time the geese did, and fall has since arrived in all its glorious beauty.
And our very short growing season here has come to an end. We had the last spring frost on June 9th, and our first fall frost was September 9th, exactly three months apart.
My tomatoes were just starting to ripen, and this year... they were sooo tiny! Most of my tomatoes were not bigger than a golf ball, and they had just begun to ripen when our first frost hit.
Inside the greenhouse, my peppers are quite happy, and growing very contentedly. So far the frost/freeze has not bothered them.
My sugar pumpkins began ripening on the vine towards the end of August.
Broccoli is also just getting started, and it should continue growing, despite any frosts we may get.
Our corn did great this year, and was very sweet.
A picture of my garden in the prime of its growing season, about mid-August.
After the frost... the death of a garden...
Such are the seasons of a garden... we were blessed with a good abundance of vegetables this summer and now... it has come to an end.
Carrots are still growing bountifully. So far the frosts have not affected the carrots. I will wait until the tops wither before I pull all of them up.
Amazingly enough, my strawberries are producing again in September!
I had to cover the berries with a net because some of my chickens had figured out how to get in my garden, and were eating them!
Some of my Roma tomatoes on the vine beginning to ripen before the frost. Since we got the frost on September 9th, I have picked all my tomatoes and brought them inside to ripen. The short growing season we have here means that usually we have fresh tomatoes ripening all the way into October, which is pretty nice!
I keep my tomatoes in cardboard boxes with newspaper and check them every day for the ones that have ripened.
Some of the bounty from the garden this year.
I planted Blue Lake stringless green beans, and they did very well.
Overall, my garden with its ups and downs this summer, did pretty well. I estimate that about 3 pounds of potatoes planted in the garden grew about 100 pounds, and that is the biggest potato harvest I've ever gotten. My tomatoes were very small, and did not grow quickly. I suspect this is in part due to the cooler weather we had early in the summer. It is hard to believe that the main gardening season has come to an end for this year. But... the shortening days, frosty nights, and clear breezy days assure me that fall is indeed here, and winter is nipping on its heels!
~ IN OTHER NEWS ~
I'll share some pictures of pieces of our lives over the past few days...
Our daughter's paintings are being displayed in a local art gallery.
~ A MOONLIT WALK ~
The new moon was truly lovely as it came up one evening while we were at the river enjoying the quietness of the sunset.
My husband and I drove down to the river, and just watched the sun set, and listened to the call of the birds, the squirrels, and the crickets. So peaceful and beautiful, we let the music of nature wash our souls with its loveliness.
This little flower was growing along the bank of the river, and its bright colors were in contrast to the deepening shadows of the night.
A family of rabbits kept an eye on us as we walked along the bank of the river. They did not seem afraid of us at all. Momma ran off in the bushes, but he sat very still and let me take his picture, which was hard to do. I had to use a flash as it was almost completely dark.
Leaving the river and walking back up the path, I loved how the moon seemed to be lighting up the path for us.
~ DISASTER AVERTED ~
One morning last week we had a water emergency. I was about to go on a walk with Annie, and had put on a load of laundry. I heard a funny noise in our bedroom, and went in to investigate. I found a flood! A plastic connector from the water heater closet in our bedroom had just snapped without any apparent cause, and massive amounts of water were pouring from the water heater onto the floor. I frantically called my husband, who didn't answer! Of course! I knew that the main line to shut off the water was under the house, not the best place for it, but it is what it is. I was about to get under the house when my husband called me back, and told me to turn the main electric circuit off, as that would shut off the pump. Phew! That worked, and the flood was halted.
Then it was damage control.
Thankfully the water damage had only gotten to a couple of inches in the bedroom, and I was able to soak it all up with towels, and then put several fans on the floor to dry it. I can't even imagine the disaster that I would have returned to, had I left on my walk. So I gave the Lord great praise for allowing me to catch the leak the instant it happened, and saving us a costly and messy cleanup! My husband was able to fix the broken connector, replacing it with a solid metal piece! And all ended well. So very thankful our little water emergency did not turn into a disaster! Thank you LORD!
~ BUILDING A TRACTOR SHED ~
There is not much I can do to help, other than moral support, and prayers. This was very dangerous work. My husband and son skinned the bark from the trees. Then the 32-foot Douglas fir tree beam was hoisted up with the tractor and settled it on the beams.
Here you can see just how long this beam was, and the tight fit they were working with to get it up and set in place. I handed tools to them, and made sure they stayed hydrated as they worked... and prayed for their safety!
You can see that it was quite the balancing act using the tractor to get such a large beam up on those posts.
This is what we have gotten done so far on the shed. We still have a lot of work to do yet to get the shed built before the snow flies!
~ MISSING EGGS ~
I began to walk through the woods around our place, and then I saw Martha's bright comb peeking out from the grass and weeds, and underneath her this is what I found! A whole stash of eggs! 18 eggs in total. I had to throw most of them away, except for the 2-3 on top, which I gave to our dogs. The grass/mud contaminates the shell, and they rot quickly. However, I was thankful to have found their egg stash, and I covered up their egg stash area so they wouldn't return here to lay eggs.
Unfortunately... this was a week or two ago, and I think they have changed their egg stash spot... as I am on the look again for it..... sigh. I have been walking through the brush all over our property close to the house looking for them. However my husband mentioned to me today that he found two crushed egg shells way back in our woods. I notice that the hens and Pepper are now taking long "excursions" in the afternoon. It may be time to keep them in the coop for a day or two, just to teach them where they need to be laying their eggs! I love to let my hens free range, but the continuing need to solve the mystery of where they laying their eggs in the woods is getting old, lol!
~ SOUTHERN-STYLE POTATO SALAD ~
My kids requested a potato salad one evening for dinner. I was more than happy to oblige, as we have a bountiful supply this year of potatoes from our garden. It is a simple potato salad, and I've tweaked my recipe recently. My daughter did not like the taste of the onions in it, so I switched from a white onion, to chives or green onions, and we all were amazed at how much flavor the green onion still added without any of the stomach issues that onion can cause later... lol!
This potato salad is quite simple. I simply cook the potatoes until soft and then drain them. I use a hand beater, and add in mustard and mayonnaise until the potatoes are creamy. Then I add in salt and pepper, chopped chives, dill pickles, and boiled eggs. Once mixed together I sprinkle with paprika. This salad was made with ingredients mostly from my garden/chickens, which was pretty awesome!
Just looking at this picture makes me think I need to make another one soon! I think potato salad is one of my favorite comfort foods :)
Cooking up some squash and jalapeno for dinner... we like it stir-fried. I melt some butter in the iron skillet, add in the chopped zucchini and squash and 1-2 chopped jalapenos, and stir it until it begins to soften. Then I add in a little Mrs. Dash, and some chicken bouillon, salt and pepper to taste, and this makes just about the best tasting zucchini ever!
Well that kind of sums up our days around here. Since the frost/freeze has come, my garden chores are lessening, and I hope to have more time to blog again :) Unless of course my chickens keep me busy solving egg mysteries, lol!