Friday, October 10, 2008

A Change of Seasoning

Two days ago I was hanging out the girls' sheets in the sunshine and breeze.

Today I am holed up watching the snow blow outside. Two to five inches of accumulation is expected by morning. Brrr! The good news is that today is the first day we've had to use our pellet stove. The bad news is that the five or so sheets and a blanket weren't much help in the garden last night, and certainly won't do for tonight, so I've picked the tomato vines as clean as I can.

Because if 150 pounds of russets weren't enough to keep me busy, a few more bushels of tomatoes should certainly do the job. Now to find some good recipes for "green tomato ____".

This usually doesn't happen until later in the month. We'll typically get a skiff of snow once in October, but then not again for awhile. It doesn't usually stick around.

Organique is enthralled with the bright beautiful flame in the pellet stove (I shouldn't have windexed the glass, I see), and while personal experience would be a quick teacher, I've opted to blockade it instead. She's had stern warnings, and I've let her get near enough to (hopefully) learn what is 'hot' without blisters to prove it. Now to keep her away long enough for the glass to soot up again...

I don't usually wash my sheets until Monday, but I might be forced to exchange my beloved 550-thread sheets for their bright red winter counterparts tonight. It's feeling like flannel time.

The girls are playing Christmas music and turning the pellet stove blockade (playpen, ottoman) into a cozy reading nook. I don't have enough baby gates to protect the potatoes and tomatoes from the baby, nor to protect her from the hot peppers. I need to rig up a place for them to hang dry, if I'm able. The turkey bones from last weekend are simmering on the stove in my darling new stockpot, and I might go dig carrots before they're buried in the snow. The guineas aren't sure what to do with this weather, and their pen doesn't have a lot in the way of shelter. The free-ranging hens are tucked under the porch, and the younger flock are in an open-sided shed, but protected from the wind.

We were planning some family errands tomorrow, a fabric sale and parts to make a diaper sprayer, but depending on the road conditions, we might not make it after all.

Not to worry; I'm sure I can keep occupied here at home! I hope you are all having a lovely day, wherever you are, and whatever the weather. :)


Benny said...

I have to chuckle as I write this: Reading your post made immediately think of Little House in the Big Woods as the Ingalls family prepares for the coming winter.

What a beautiful life you are living out there in wherever-you-are. We'll be lucky to see snow before the turn of the year. Some years we never see white sticking to the ground at all!

Enjoy the new season. It sounds like it will be as full, busy and blessed as the last one was for your family!


EllaJac said...

Oh Benny, I often think that of other blogs I read... Rarely do I think of our life as 'beautiful,' but perhaps I need to change my perspective. :)

And, actually, I'm not TERRIBLY far from you. And your climate makes me think you live on the same side of the mountains as my folks.. But shhh... Don't say anything. :)

Rachel said...

SNOW?! Geez... I'm not ready for snow yet. I loooove autumn, so I'm kind of hoping you don't send winter my way just yet! Have fun making lots and lots of green tomato ______.

annie said...

Holy Toledo. (is that a swear?)

As you know, I live very far away from you and we never see snow. Well, there was that one time in 1988 when I was five and my mom pulled off the road all excited and got me and my brother out of the car so we could feel "snow". It melted before it hit the ground.

It's October 10 and it's snowing at your house. Your would is beautiful! And you are a stronger, braver, more resilient (i don't think i spelled that right) woman than I. I can handle sweating 24 hours a day and mosquito swarms. Snow for the next nine months? I'm a chicken.

Make a snowman for me! Even if it is a little one. :) And enjoy your winter sheets. We have a set of flannel sheets but I never took them out last year because the temperature at night never dropped far enough for an entire week to demand their use. I change my sheets once a week (Tuesdays) and I will not change them twice. Unless someone throws up or something.

Anyway, send some cooler weather towards us. We're going to the farmer's market tomorrow and I'd like to not sweat the whole time I'm picking out my sweet potatoes and garlic. (any tips on producing a bigger crop from your home garden? we can only get one or two fruits or veggies at a time on our tomato plants or sweet potato vines) And our anniversary is next week and I'd like some fall weather to make it more romantic and cozy. Otherwise it's too hot to cuddle. :)

EllaJac said...

Alright, ladies, I'm packing your 'cooler weather' orders and will have them in the mail tomorrow. Maybe I'll choose UPS or Pony Express, even. :)

Annie, we won't have snow for the NEXT NINE MONTHS. I'd use that ice pick in my temple if that were the case, for sure. :) Hopefully it'll warm up again, and though the garden will be dead, we'll have a chance to do some more outdoor work yet. Hopefully. Our farmer's markets are wrapping up, and I expect you'll send me some sweet potatoes in exchange for the cool weather package. :D As to the garden (lack of) bounty, I can't be real sure. Minerals are the big thing in organic production, right now, but if you can't afford a soil test (like me) or the appropriate amendments it calls for (like me), you can do foliar sprays. I got one from Territorial Seed called "Sea Magic" last year.. a concentrate powder that you turn into a liquid concentrate, and put a bit of that in a couple gallons of water in a little sprayer rig (usually used for herbicide). Using that weekly on the foliage of your plants can really help, they claim. I think it made a difference for us. There are also other labor-intensive methods ('biointensive' is one I've read a bit on, and it piqued my interest; definition here) that look to increased yield without the chemical crutch. Obviously most of these won't do much this year, but can help you in your plans for next year and beyond. Lasagna Gardening is a book I've seen recommended, but I haven't read it. Not sure if this would help individual plant yield, or general yield-per-foot issues like Square Foot Gardening (haven't read it either). Good compost is handy; get yourself some of those illegal chickens to fertilize for you. :)

annie said...

whoops - meant world, not 'would'. obviously, i didn't proof before hitting post. :)

annie said... I exaggerated. It just seems like you were still enduring winter there while fall, winter, and spring had all gone away here. I hope the sweet potatoes make the trip!

We use a compost tea which is supposed to be like that Sea Magic stuff. I have yet to see any change, but maybe I'm being impatient (nothing new there....). We definitely need some illegal chicken compost. I wonder if I can talk my husband into driving out to the farm where we buy eggs and bringing the 'compost' home in his car...?

Cameron said...

Wow, while all this was going on I was hiding in my tent in Kuwait from the 100 degree weather. Now I'm back in Assbaghistan, and it's still hot. Maybe I should move some place cooler, like Fargo. :)

The Pauls' said...

Snow? Oh, I feel for you, especiallyl since I know it won't be too long before we have some too. Today feels like it could snow anytime. I hope you are planning on sending any our way?

There's nothing like a stove when the snow is falling outside. The coziest feeling.

We butchered our turkey today. It went well. Thanks for the tips, I look forward to cooking it up tomorrow.

Happy snow time:)

MamaJ said...

Please define "skiff." I cannot believe that snow is already a possibility anywhere! Uh-oh, perhaps I am becoming a Texan after all! I vetoed putting any fall decorations up this year, in order to work on baby stuff. So, I haven't really gotten used to the idea that is it Fall here yet! We started 4H yesterday, and next week we talk about planting our winter gardens.....But, I guess you done did that, huh? :-)

EllaJac said...

MamaJ, "Perhaps" you are becoming a Texan? Hahahehehohohahohehehe! I'm guessing you are, if by your last sentence you implied that we've 'planted our winter gardens.' I suppose if someone was very determined they could grow something in a greenhouse in winter, if they didn't mind heating it, or maybe a very crafty passive-solar greenhouse thing. Hmm... But I don't know anyone with a winter garden.

I'm fascinated by the idea though. Things like peas, cabbage, and whatnot? Amazing.

Oh, and a skiff is generally an unmeasureable amoung. A gentle dusting of white. There were 2-3 inches in town, but I think most of it melted off midday.

You make me smile.

MamaJ said...

Ha, well, maybe I can FedEx y'all some snap peas when they come in! About February, we could have us a pretty good spread! But, alas, I will miss out on the productive indoor activities that your winters provide. And my future-born Texas children will have little concept of snow whatsoever. Sigh...