Monday, October 22, 2012

First snowflakes & slowing down for winter

This morning I saw the first of the season's snowflakes falling gently by the windows. While the cooler temperatures over the past week have been slowing me down, making me huddle inside, the first snow always invigorates me. I can't wait for true winter, when the cold temperatures can be ignored because of all of the beauty the snowy landscape creates.

I doubt we will get snow that stays for weeks if not longer, but I'm looking forward to the slower pace that our lives takes after the busyness that is fall. Once the garden is harvested and put to sleep until spring. Once hunting season is over as lakes start to freeze (ps, I didn't get my deer, in fact we didn't even go out deer hunting again after my post last week, although we kept a sharp eye on the fields around the house). Once the roads get icy or closed for the season. Once the snow gets deep and walking around becomes significantly more effort.

Time for enjoying hot chocolate, lots of good books, fires in the woodstove, birds at the feeder, sledding & snowshoeing, and lots of shoveling!

What about you - are you looking forward to slowing down for the winter?

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Deer Hunting

This year my husband managed to get his deer on opening morning, which at the time I thought was just great! However, what it has meant is that the whole rest of the week of hunting season he could focus on getting me into situations where I could try to shoot my deer. Sigh. I haven't gotten one yet, although I had a shot at one earlier in the week (I missed) and we saw a couple more legal bucks moving just onto private property last night.

At this point, we've still got one or two opportunities to try to get me one, fitted around work and duck hunting commitments before the season ends on Sunday, but I'm feeling pretty worn out right now so I'm not sure how much more hiking around I can take! Add in dragging the deer back home or to the vehicle, and the processing of the meat, and I'm starting to doubt my ability to make it through what shooting one would entail! Of course, getting my first deer (ever) would be a big deal, so I'll keep trying I'm sure :)

Also, we typically run out of deer meat before the following hunting season, so realistically we need meat from more than one deer to supply our red meat needs. We'll see what tonight & the weekend brings, and I'll let you know how it turns out!

Friday, October 12, 2012

First freeze

After we pulled all our last veggies from the garden in the afternoon early last week, we went back out after supper and mulched around the overwintering plants to make them hardy enough to hopefully last until spring.
the mulched herb bed in front, strawberries behind

lone sunflower at the garden's edge
the one kale that wasn't hidden by the tomatoes grew huge, likewise the marigolds behind it
common chives peeking out of their mulch covering
garlic chive seed heads
The next morning, it was obvious we had a hard frost from the ice formed under the sprinklers in the alfalfa field next door. We still aren't sure what the farmer is thinking leaving his sprinklers on so late, but we really aren't surprised at his latest level of seemingly inept farming, and heck, maybe, just maybe, he knows something we don't about irrigating alfalfa into the late fall. And either way, it makes for some good stories, and interesting ice pictures!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Pickle Making

I managed to grow enough cucumbers for 3 small batches of refrigerator pickles this summer. The first time I'd ever made any sort of pickles in fact! I followed this recipe, by Marisa of Food in Jars, and was amazed at how simple the process was. slice the cuc's, stuff them in jars on top of some spices, meanwhile boiling some vinegar & water & salt, then pour the boiling water mixture over the pickles, seal the jars up, and place in the fridge when they've cooled. An involved process, sure, but not a time consuming one!

They turned out delicious - even for a family of 3 that isn't all that into pickles we managed to eat our way through 2 batches basically unassisted. The third batch, still in the fridge, was requested by my husband's family, so we're taking them along with us this week to Duck Camp. As long as our cucumbers grow in future years as good as they did this year, I can see us making pickles every summer. Yum!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Sunflower Harvesting

We're forecast to get our first frost tonight, actually it's looking to be our first freeze as well. This morning we were out doing a bit of harvesting, and this evening we will be doing a whole lot more. Its is rare for us to not have a frost until early October, but I haven't been complaining! It's been a novelty to have the tomatoes ripening on the plants, instead of on our counters, and I'm sure our dry bean harvest will be the best yet.

The start of our harvest was the sunflowers. This was the second wheelbarrow-full we cut off and brought up to the house, to fully dry on the sunporch before being stored for later separating of seed from seed-head. Some of these will be dried and given to the chickens throughout the fall and winter as tasty treats, and some will get planted back out in the spring.

We've had one section of the bottom field planted in sunflowers since we moved in, and are currently working on getting more and more growing down there, in the hopes that at some point we can have that contribute substantially to the chicken's feed. We'll see whether we actually have enough space (or few enough laying hens!) for that to be realistic. But every little bit helps, and plus, the field of sunflowers is just the most beautiful thing to see!

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