Archive for October, 2012

October Report

Happy Fall! Our CSA and farmer’s markets are over, and we’re busy putting the gardens away for winter. Here are a few shots from the last market on October 5:


All of a sudden the leaves have fallen. The garden has frozen, thawed, and frozen again. The onions, garlic, potatoes, and squash have been harvested and are curing in preparation for winter storage. The freezer is full of chickens, tomato sauce, pesto, blueberries and blackberries, green beans, peppers, broccoli, zucchini, kale and chard. Jars are lined up on whatever kitchen surfaces we can find, full of pickled green beans and cucumbers, tomatoes, and pears. There are carrots and beets awaiting more permanent storage in the root cellar. The garden is nearly empty, save for a few beds of hardy fall crops- kale, spinach, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli and kohlrabi- tucked inside cozy tents of row cover.

Over the weekend, we pulled out the corn, sunflowers, tomatoes, leeks and peppers and tore up the ten beds of plastic mulch that kept all of our squash (nearly) weed-free. We still need to clean out the last few beds – herbs, flowers, carrots, and beets, and finish planting a cover crop of winter rye and clover. There’s talk of tilling up more space for next year, in the pillowy meadow that Jacob mowed on Friday just north of the big garden. And we’ll need to plant garlic before too long. The days are short now, and there are no more evening projects that can be tackled after Jacob’s long drive home from work. The mornings stay cold, and the gray-bearded dog and I have to bundle up before we go out to the barn for morning chores.

It’s been difficult to prioritize this work of putting the gardens away; there’s other fall work that needs doing and there are new seasons to think about. We still need to cut more firewood and see the pigs through these last few weeks of their happy lives. We need to better secure our barn for winter: last week an intruder snuck into the chicken coop and killed half of our birds. The remaining ten walk around quietly, still traumatized, waiting to meet the new laying hens that we still need to find. There is chimney cleaning and a siding project on the house. The list is long and but the days are short, and we are trying to make autumn last as long as we can. There are friends visiting from out of town. There are hikes to take and pumpkin pies to bake. There are jobs at the Bee’s Knees and High Mowing in the meantime. We are even starting to dream of a winter visit to the Tetons…

Last weekend we spent two days in Middlebury with my family and my brand new niece. She slept and cooed and took her first trip to the apple orchard, a little tiny bundle of cheeks and button nose and skinny legs. Soon it will be time for her to make a trip to the farm. She’ll have to bundle up and come out to the barn with me, boots squeaking in the snow, to bring Ophelia and Fern their hay. Someday. For now, I am enjoying the warmth of the sun and the smell of woodsmoke, surprising and wonderful all over again each autumn.

                                                      Pig Face

Pig ButtsPig Butts

Ophelia, Enjoying the Sunshine

Fall Cows

Corn and Squash Garden

Empty Corn and Squash Garden!

A Few Remaining Beds of Cabbage, Kohlrabi, Kale and Spinach

…and again, without Tomatoes, Sunflowers and Leeks!

 Beets, Carrots and Greens Covered Up for Fall

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