Friday, September 11, 2020

The Rush of Fall is Upon Us

Our way-too-hot and humid summer is over.  We've even had a few nights of frost warnings to convince us of that.  Fortunately, the lowest overnight temp we've recorded so far has been 35° and although we saw a frost coating on the garage roof, nothing in the garden has been touched yet.

Like many of you, autumn is my very favorite season of the year.  It's also an action-packed time around this small homestead.  There's a feeling of pressure to finish all the outside tasks that are oh-so-much easier to accomplish before cold weather sets in.

And, of course, all of the garden areas need to be cleaned, fertilized with beautiful black compost and readied to be tucked in for the next seven months.

Another indication that we've moved out of summer and into our fall season is that I didn't hesitate to turn on the oven and roast a turkey yesterday.  No, I didn't have a big get together of folks seated around my table to help devour the fourteen pound bird.  It was just the two of us enjoying dinner last night although our daughter stopped by on her way from work and took a plate home with her to be warmed up for her dinner.

Several times during the year, I roast a turkey so I have the leftover meat packaged in the freezer to use for other meals.  I had avoided turning on the big oven over our hot summer months so this cooler weather was definitely the time for cooking another turkey.  Tomorrow I'll cut all the meat off the bones, put all the bones and scraps in my biggest stock pot with water, onions, carrots, celery and some herbs and start it all simmering for a couple of days to produce quarts of rich, nutritious bone broth.

I harvested carrots and onions today.  The onion crop is dismal this year.  I don't know exactly what happened.  I may post more about that later.

I planted only a 4' x 4' area in one of the raised beds to carrots this year.  Out of that small space I got 23 pounds of straight, long, nice carrots.


And also more misshapen, twisted, malformed, ugly carrots than I've ever seen.  (In the picture above, that is ONE carrot on the far right.)  Good grief.  I don't know what caused this.  Usually I'll find a couple/few that grow like this but never this many.  The soil was friable and free of gravel.  I thinned the carrots twice so know they didn't grow too close together.  If all of these ugly-buglies had been straight carrots, I'd have had more than the 23 pounds.  But what I did save will be more than ample for our year's supply.

Next to harvest will be the potatoes.  I may get my good gardener button taken away because I didn't have enough seed potatoes left this spring to plant as many potatoes as I should have and didn't want to spend the money to buy more from one of the seed company catalogs.  Penny wise and pound foolish?  We shall see.

Alas, my summer decorations are still glaring at me as I move around inside the house.  Just when am I going to pack them away and put out all the colorful fall decorations?  I'd better shift that project to the top of the list PDQ because the couple of months of fall are, indeed, upon us in our northern area of the country and it never, ever lasts long enough. 

13 comments:

Michelle said...

My goodness, weren't you just wondering if it would EVER warm up???

Rosalea said...

Yep. Ditto on the weather. Frost advisory Thurs. and Fri. nights. Very dewy, but no frost. Got the chimney cleaned yesterday, and we are having a wee fire to just take off the morning chill. I picked the rest of the tomatoes yesterday, and we covered the bean fence, hoping the forecast warmer (night temps) will allow the beans to continue. Those are some wild carrots! How do you store them for the winter?

SmartAlex said...

We're getting ready for fall here too. Yesterday we closed up the front porch and put fencing around the shrubs. Put up driveway markers. The vegetable garden is moving along stage by stage but I have a LOT of perennial dividing to do. I just sit here making a list and have yet to sink a shovel in the ground.....

Mama Pea said...

Michelle - The past several years we haven't had a killing frost until into October so these last couple of days of a frost warning just didn't seem right! Only down to 51° over night last night. Guess Mother Nature just wanted to scare us.

Rosalea - This is the first morning in three that we haven't had a wee fire to take the chill off. 'Course, I have a mock turtleneck, long sleeved shirt and sweatshirt on! We've experimented storing our carrots every way you can think of but they keep best when I put them in plastic bags that have several vent holes poked in them. Right now they're in our spare refridge but as soon as the root cellar cools off, they'll go down there. They stay good 'til way into spring this way.

SmartAlex - You're so far ahead of us by having your driveway markers up! I just reminded Papa Pea a day or so ago that we need to do that. (Or is that encouraging early snowfall?) Needs to be done anyway. For an organized person, list making comes before the actual physical work. (How's that for my idea of putting it all off??) :o)

JustGail said...

Now that we've had rain and cold for a week, I should have just yanked everything last Monday and been done with it all for this year. Other than trying to beat back the weeds and grass that is. As to the carrots and forking, I'm thinking it's nematodes???? or some other little critter or disease. not carrot fly maggots, those things just burrow into your carrots and eat them.

As for decorations, I never got around to doing anything for any season or holiday this year. In fact, it was in spring when I realized I missed one Christmas item (it's tradition for me to miss at least one item) and I "tomorrowed" putting it away, or at least out of sight, for so long I'm now ahead of schedule in starting Christmas decorating for this year.

Mama Pea said...

JustGail - I've been doing a bit of research regarding the problem with a lot of my carrots and I, too, came across that it could be nematodes. I know the soil was good, but you can be sure I'll plant them in a different location next season!

I do change decorations for each season and always (each and every time -- darn) manage to forget to take down at least one thing for the season past. Congratulations on having a head start for your Christmas holiday decorations this year! ;o)

Rosalea said...

Thank you Mama Pea: I have not had good luck with the sand in the pail option, but then, we don't have a proper root cellar. There is a strange hump in the ground behind the barn, and neighbours say it used to be a root cellar. Hubby makes noises about digging it out..... I've been layering carrots in paper towels, spaced apart, and storing in the crisper drawer.(a la internet) It works, but there is no room for anything else! I've been doing a 4'X4' spring planting, and a later 4'X4' planting, which I leave in the ground until hard frost time.

Mama Pea said...

Rosalea - We've tried layering the carrots in both sand and sawdust and storing in our root cellar but neither proved as satisfactory as the method I've been using described above. I am fortunate to have a large second refrigerator (do not know what I would do without it!) in which to store the bags of carrots so I can sympathize and well understand the frustration you have of storing yours in the crisper drawer of your main refridge! Growing a large garden can be challenging enough but then there comes the issue of properly preserving and storing the fruits of our labor. Which is a whole other part of growing our own food!

linnellnickerson@gmail.com said...

It's starting to get colder here at nite. During the day it's still in the low seventies. Seems like summer just flew by. Sounds like your going to be busy for awhile with the garden. How great it will be when it's all put up for the winter!Take care!xo

Mama Pea said...

linnellnickerson - I know what you mean about how it doesn't seem summer could be over already. I was just thinking today how it doesn't seem as though I did as much food preservation as usual. But I did! Strange, mixed up feelings about this past gardening and harvesting season. Our high for the day was 54° which was okay working outside, but certainly not warm. I think everything left in the garden may be shivering!

Vera said...

I am looking forward to Fall now we are back in the UK. Already some of the trees are starting to show autumnal colouring, which I love. So much richness of colour!
I never fully understood why you changed your house decorations from season to season. But now I have come to understand what a good idea it is, because it reflects the changing seasons, and you have the excuse to make more crafty things as well!

Mama Pea said...

Vera - I think changing my in-house decorations helps me (and maybe others!) stay in touch with the changes of the season. And it's a celebration of the holidays, making us think of and remember them. Besides the four seasons, I do decorations for Valentine's Day, Easter, 4th of July, etc. As I was taking down the summer ones and putting out the autumnal ones just the other day, it crossed my mind how the house would look and be decorated if I just left generic decorations around all the time. I'm not sure I could come up with enough "generic" ones to make things look attractive!

Nancy @ Little Homestead In Boise said...

I've always failed with carotts! Multiple tries/varieties, compost, oh well. I just took down my summer decor, will wait til the end of the month for Autumn stuff... rain in the forecast here, fingers crossed!!!