November 17, 2015

Sunny Days & Frosty Nights

We finally got our first frost over the weekend. The first night it didn't blanket everything, but settled in pockets in the garden here and there. I had delayed garden harvest in hopes the ground would dry out a bit, because we got something like 8 inches of rain over the past month. The days are sunny now, but we're getting frost every night so I reckoned it was time to get to work. Like bringing in the last of the cushaws.


I found only a few sweet potatoes.


I had two varieties planted in two different places in the garden, but neither did well. At least there will be some for holiday dinners. It's funny how the harvest can vary so much from year to year, isn't it?

While I was digging for those I found these.


Jerusalem artichokes. Last year's harvest was kinda piddly, but it looks like we'll have plenty this year. These are heading for lacto-fermentation.

I picked the last of the green tomatoes.


Not as many as I'd did like, which makes me think I should have canned green tomatoes for frying earlier in the growing season.

I pulled our first sampling of fall carrots.


Dan had dumped the sand from the grandkids' old wading-pool-sandbox-turned-duck-pond into the bed. These are the nicest carrots we've had in this garden.

My Swiss chard made a nice come-back, and it finally seems to be pest free!


Can you see it for all the wiregrass? I transplanted some of the chard in the hoop house, to see how it fares this winter. I read it can be perennial in warmer climates. Usually it succumbs to our winters, so I'd like to see how long I can keep it going.

Raspberries are down to their last handful.


Soon I'll start pulling out the fruits I've been storing in the freezer and begin my jelly and jam making. After I finish those, I'll start in on the year's supply of bone broth.

We're working on husking the field corn,


while the goats get to feast on the leaves and stalks.


The pigs spend their days hunting acorns.


Last but not least, here is Sam guarding the firewood.


There's always something to do, isn't there? I'm reminded of Carla Emery's admonition to plant something every day. I don't necessarily do that, but when one centers their life upon the land and what it produces, then there is some related task or chore nearly every day. It the cycle of seasonal living. Where are you in that cycle?

Sunny Days & Frosty Nights © November 2015 by

37 comments:

  1. So what are ya gonna do with the field corn?

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    1. Seed for next year, corn meal, and feed for pigs and chickens. :)

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  2. Field corn is something I fancy trying I must read up about it more, we havent had a frost yet and the sweet potatoes are yet to be harvested :-)

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    1. Dawn, I think my sweet potatoes did so poorly because both patches got too much shade. One was at the top of the garden, where a large pecan tree shades that corner of the garden. The other was in the okra patch. I read that sweet potatoes were a good companion to okra and so gave it a try. I also planted some Mexican summer squash in that patch, so once everything grew up, it was too shady for the sweet potatoes. I hope your harvest is abundant!

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  3. Interesting you mentioned shade. I inadvertently planted my pole beans on the south side of my garden. It really reduced my growing season. It is nice to see your harvest. I have to hand pick the acorns off the ground for my girls. Next year's goal: fencing.

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    1. Yeah, there seems to be an art to keeping plants happy, dosn't there? Sun, shade, temperature, water; you can see how following one suggestion let to other kinds of problems. Every year there's something new to learn. And about those acorns, I pick them up for my girls too!

      Interesting to see fencing on your goal list. We're adding fencing to ours too, this time the back woods.

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  4. When I lived in Washington, my chard and kale grew year round.
    I didn't try anything here this year. I will next year.

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    1. That's very good to know! Thank you for that.

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  5. Beautiful carrots, Leigh. I left a comment on your fermenting Jerusalem artichoke article with some questions. Great idea. Your cushaw squash don't look anything like mine, which surprises me. I didn't know they came in such different shapes. You're right about always having something to do, even if it is just the regular daily chores and not harvesting and preserving. Thanks for the tour, your animals look great.

    Fern

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    1. I only know what the seed pack said, LOL. I do know cushaws (no matter the shape) grow better here than pumpkins. I found your comment on the fermenting post and answered it. Good question.

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  6. Bone broth. This might have been a post from a while ago, but I'm going to ask anyway. I make it, but just enough for a couple weeks and it sits in my fridge. How do you preserve yours for a year at a time?

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    1. Beth, I just toss all my bones in a bag in the freezer and then defrost once a year and make a big pot of broth. Then I pressure can the broth in pint jars to have it ready when I need it.

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    2. Oh that's a great idea! :) I don't can mine, but I do a crockpotful every few weeks or so and put a few quarts in the fridge to use during the week.

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    3. You could probably freeze it too, if you made a big batch. Even so, it sounds like you've got a routine that works well for you.

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  7. Great tip about lacto-fermenting jerusalam artichokes. Even in PA I had swiss chard over winter one year. Good luck, you should be able to over winter it in your area.

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    1. I've had it freeze out in the past, although I don't grow it every year. Hoping for success this year!

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  8. The last of your garden looks really good! You are so right about there always being something to do, but isn't it wonderful! I hope that I am able to work outside and garden, through my 90's. Your animals look happy and content. :) You remind me of Tasha Tudor.

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    1. That's quite a compliment, thank you! I admire quite a few things about her. I'm right there with you on planning to work outside and in the garden for as many years as I have.

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  9. Nice looking carrots. I wonder if it was the sand or the duck residue that caused them to look so nice.... or both?

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    1. I know carrots like a sandy soil (which we don't have), but I suspect they like the duck water too!

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  10. I may try to grow a few sweet potatoes in containers next year...I think it will be my only chance. Root crops in general have a terrible time here, between the rocks and the other rocks.

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    1. I think you could grow them in containers. Most of the harvest is pretty much right under where the fine comes out of the ground. That might work very well, in fact.

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  11. We're on our third day with snow of the season. The first was barely a dusting, the second had a few inches and this third one is the first blizzard of the season. we might have gotten about 7 true inches with some drifts that will be fun to shovel. Everyone is shut down...except for hubby's office, which only had a 3 hour delay. ??? oh well...looks like a sew day for me...although I should probably toss some bones into the crock pot and make broth.

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    1. Good grief, I can't even imagine snow in November. I would be cooking something if I were you too!

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  12. Lovely pics! And yes, fall is full of tasks! My sweet potatoes didn't do much either this year. Same problem, I think. Too much shade. I am probably going to check the bed one more time before the predicted frost on Saturday night. I've also got about four 5 gallon buckets full of pears to do something with, and I've already got about 60 cups of chopped pears in the freezer. Whew.

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    1. Thanks! This year I made cinnamon pear sauce with our pears. Yummy!

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    2. Oh yes, another great idea!

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    3. I still have pear butter from last year. ;) It is delicious!

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  13. Hi! I am afraid I have slowed down in that cycle and wish I would have tried to keep a few things going a bit longer. I picked the green tomatoes and wrapped in newspapers and we used the last of those today. Will miss them for sure!! Nancy

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    1. Nancy, if you ever have a chance to read on of Eliot Coleman's books, you'll find a lot of great tips on extending the growing season. He's in Maine and gardens all year long.

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  14. Where are we in the cycle? Because of our totally unseasonably warm early winter, we're still trying to complete one more (small-ish) building project, cover the strawberries and mulch asparagus for winter, and stock the freezer with "convenience" foods to encourage that long, slow, relaxing winter we're hoping for.

    Love the picture of the goats in the corn stalks! Also, good job, Sam, of guarding the wood!

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    1. I need to get started on some of those convenience foods as well! I think I have the time down, with the Big Project almost ready to approve for publishing.

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  15. Replies
    1. And he looks so frumpy! I caught him half asleep. :)

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  16. I have carrot envy. I just cant seem to get my soil right,

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    1. This is are best year for carrots since we moved from Florida. The soil there was very sandy, so I think that's why they grew well. Besides compost this year, I added more lime to the beds too. Our soil tends toward acidity, and the carrots seem to like the bit that I added.

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