Thursday, September 29, 2016

Fall is in the air!

Finally there is a change in the air.  We got some much needed rain and the oppressive heat and humidity combination is gone. There is fog over the Green River when we look south in the morning, just like last year in late September.
Ralph got the cover crops in, the main concern was the dry soil. Would they germinate? The east garden has good cover of the Sorghum Sudan grass and the Austrian peas, the peas germinated better on the east side of the garden as it tends to hold moisture better than the side near the house.

The west garden just planted to Austrian peas, Sorghum Sudan grass and Daikon radish.
The west garden has been divided in to two areas, one for cover crop and one for fall greens and root crops. We also used up a lot of old seed, planting carrots, Tatsoi and beets. Our Amish neighbor found a way to speed carrot germination in this areas heavy soil. Put boards over the new planting, this stops the soil from drying out from sun exposure. Check often and remove the boards when the tiny sprouts show up. It worked, we have excellent germination of carrot seed that never showed any signs of germination this past spring.
 Boards over carrot seeds to help stop crusting of the soil.

I am curing some squash and have been dehydrating some. I am pleased with how squash reconstitute after dehydration. I throw a handful of dry squash cubes in a stew or soup toward the end of cooking and they remain al dente and add the wonderful flavor of fall to whatever I am cooking. The basement is not cool enough yet and we are storing cured squash in the workshop on shelving Ralph made for that purpose. These shelves have space between the planks for air flow.
 Tan Cheese Pumpkin

The Tan Cheese pumpkins are amazing, I hope to cook the first one this week. They were vigorous vines with excellent leaf cover and great disease tolerance. The Guatemalan Blue is a dilemma, great vines, One Squash.....yes one, in a 30 foot mass of vines. However it was totally delicious, one of the best tasting baked squash we have ever eaten. Our Blue Hubbard are huge and I think Ralph and I will deliver several of them to our neighbor for her big family. Trade goods!
A Blue Hubbard Squash, the size of a basketball!

We have some old old varieties, one called Seminole Pumpkin. They are perfect for us. Prolific and small. Very hardy to heat and humidity as well as bugs!

The Seminole Pumpkins

You might notice the "fertilizer Pellets" next to the pumpkin. Yup we have deer!

There are Pennsylvania Crook Neck squash, I just like these. Lots of meat and pretty colored. They also taste good and bake well. The ones we had last year store well for 5 months. They do vine though and we found them with the Blue Hubbard and Sweet Meat, both a long way from the main Crook neck plants!

A very nice Pennsylvania Crook Neck Squash.
There are Sweet Meat squash to try, they still have very good stem attachment and are not ready to pick no matter how tempted I am! 
 Sweet Meat Squash
We have Thelma Sanders Squash, a nice acorn type that stuff well. They did not like the heat so much and stopped flowering when it got hot. We have a few though and I use them to stuff with a sausage vegetable mixture, topped with cheese! One squash is just right for two people.
 Thelma Sanders
It has been a good to see squash when I walk around the garden. It is like buried treasure, you don't see them until the vines start to die off then all of a sudden squash start to appear!
We learned so  much this summer about our new climate and yes we are already looking forward to 2017's garden. It is one of the positive things about gardens. The looking to the next one and new varieties and experiments!
The chickens are doing well too. Three Australorpes went broody all at once, they hatched 19 chicks, one died and they abandoned one [house chick#2] but the three of them share the stress of raising a horde. The three hens share the work all day but at  night it seems they all take care of their own. One hen had a terrible hatch and only had two live, then one of them died so she is the proverbial hen with one chick and she is fanatical! She shares the work through the day but night finds her in her own place with HER chick!
 The Horde and the Three Mothers.
 It is such fun to watch them all!
The first chicks are turning out to be very nice chickens and much bigger than the parents. We got a good mix of hens and roosters. I love the color of the Buff Australorp crossbreds.
  A "Buffalorp" pullet.
 Some of my help coming back from Picking squash.
" Are you looking at me?"
Ralph made what we call teepee's out of scrap plywood or chip board we have cleared up here. They are simple, shelters made when you screw 2 pieces of plywood to a 4x4 on a 90 degree angle and then just set them on boards on the ground. The poultry love them and you can find odd mixes of ducks, hens and turkeys under them in rain or on hot days! 
 Ticky the barn cat discussing something with a young Buckalorp rooster.
The little stray cat that showed up has become a wonderful addition to the farm. She doesn't bother the hens with chicks and sleeps where she can watch everything. She catches mice and even moles! The kittens are slowly getting tame and are starting to hunt. They respect the hens as they have been pecked enough to know what a beak can do!
 This is what greets us when we go out to work. Our crazy flock!
So now I have got to get some serious work done, dehydrating squash and making Green Tomato strawberry jam.
The cool weather is such a relief and now I feel like I am getting things done. No more afternoon naps to avoid heat!  Soon we will have fall greens and I will have replaced a lot of the canning I did last year with new fresh things.
Do take care and God Bless all of you.


  1. Would you look at all that greenery? We have bare trees and dying grass. Oh yes, and snow on the mountains.

  2. I have noticed the changing colors when we watch the Brooks Falls bear cam! Winter will be here by January....

  3. What a glorious sight - all that beautiful poultry! I love the photo of the mother hens and the horde on the move. Autumn is my all-time favorite season. I wish it would last for months.

    1. The horde is a true delight....yesterday Ralph got cheese curds from DQ...the poultry expects treats when we get back from town. You should have seen them speeding around with bits of cheese curd....none of them wanted to risk putting the treat down to eat in case someone might steal it!
      Fall is a marvel...all the bounty and fresh cool temperatures!

  4. I love your posts they remind me of where we have come from now that we have slowed a bit. Only a bit but we do not have the animals and work we used too. Hugs B

    1. I miss having cows! Your cow photos always make me smile and think of cows I showed and calving time in winter! This small farm still keeps us busy but in a different way than when I raised registered Shorthorn cattle and showed them.

  5. We have new kittens all over the place as well. Old Momma Cat had 7 babies in this litter, 5 long haired yellow, one black, one mottled black and brown. Cats are an asset here, and they are welcome.

    Your place is looking nice. Fall here too, but we are still in the middle of a drought and our river has about dried up. It is cold enough to have a fire, though, at night.

    1. Cats sure do earn their keep. One of the kittens [teenagers really] caught a mouse on her own today!