November 14, 2011

After The Killing Frost

We had our first frost on October 30th. It was a light frost, and most of my tender plants like sweet peppers and volunteer tomatoes, avoided heavy damage. We had another the next night and all was still well. The third frost last Friday, was the killing frost and did them all in.

After the killing frost, I harvested the green tomatoes, green peppers, and volunteer potatoes.

Volunteer tomatoes & potatoes, and green peppers

The peppers were from purchased plants, the tomatoes from a volunteer that grew in one of the front yard herb and flower beds. The potatoes were volunteers scattered around the garden.

After the killing frost, we finished winterizing the billy barn.

Chinked, with window coverings and wind block.
Awning can be lowered at any time.

Our days have been lovely really, usually sunny with lows in the 30s and highs in the lower 60s. But we've had some cold winds blowing out of the northwest, and those frosts remind us that winter is right around the corner. The boys now have a snug spot to protect against wind, snow, and rain.

After the killing frost we lost Katy. The vet said her symptoms were consistent with poisoning, though the source is a mystery.

A favorite photo of my sweet, silly Katy.

She's the only kitty I've had in the last 22 years that wanted to be a lap cat. I am so going to miss that.


  1. Oh Leigh, what a heartbreak to lose your sweet Katie! We had a rescue kitty earlier this year who was the lovingest cat I've ever had; he disappeared and I still miss his cuddles. They steal such huge hunks of our hearts....

  2. So sorry about Katy, such a tough way to go.

    We've had our killer frost, it came while I was away on family business, but I got back in time to do a lot of tomatoes! The Amish Paste fruits stood up to it well, better than some winter squash. Today I got up the last of the potatoes and finished pickling beets.

  3. Leigh, I'm so sorry you lost Miss Katy. It hurts so much when our furry friends are no longer with us.

  4. The harvest pics look yummy. Can't wait for you to share what you do with all those green tomatoes. I made pickles with most of mine.

    So sorry about Katy. I lost my orange kitty Zoe about a year ago, and almost lost Burt last spring. Pretty sure a neighbor was poisoning gophers, and they were my big hunters. It's hard to lose the fuzzy children.

  5. Oh I am so sorry about Katy. What a dreadful shame. I hope Riley is coping.

  6. Michelle, that's so true about your hearts. It's hardest when they just disappear, there's no finality and you're always wondering, hoping they'll turn up. It was that way for me with our Little Cat Zee.

    Risa, thank you. And it's good to hear from you! Interesting how even different varieties of tender plants can take the frost differently.

    FFG, thanks. I do miss her terribly.

    Sue, last night I sliced up a bunch of green tomatoes, drizzled with olive oil, Parmesan cheese, salt, & pepper, and popped into the oven to bake. Tasty!

    The only way Katy could have gotten poison would have been at a neighbor's. I reckon we'll never know for sure.

    I appreciate that Cally. Riley actually, never cared much for Katy, even though they were litter mates. He was always chasing her off the bed and even though they played, he was always way too rough with her. Now he's taken over her basket, and loves that.

  7. Katie!?! Oh no, Leigh. I'm so sorry. And poison on top of that! That's always a risk with outdoor kitties.

    We discovered that our Humane Society will only adopt out if you sign that the cat will stay indoors. How can anyone say that? Our cat was bound and determined to get outside. 13yrs of "lucky cat" so far.

    Too bad, poor kitty...

  8. I'm so sorry to hear about Katy. I've never let the house cats go outside due to worries about their health and survival, but I had a friend who had a never went outside cat poisoned with no idea how. It's sad.

    Nice haul of garden goodies after the frost. I've never found a way to cook green tomatoes that my family likes, so when the chooks found the last of them, I was fine with it. The green peppers are pretty gorgeous though..mmmm

  9. Tami, thanks. Interesting about your Humane Society, but in someways I think it's cruel to imprison a cat under the guise of "safety" (read my response to Nina below).

    Nina, I understand why folks want to keep their cats inside, but what you say is true. And actually, I've never had any cat, indoor or outdoor, that died of old age and natural causes. Of past cats, our indoor cats didn't fare any better than our outdoor cats.
    - Misty, indoor kitty of my childhood, died of rat poisoning while staying at a friend's while we were on vacation.
    - My daughter's Rosie (indoor) died of something like an asthma attack. Vet said maybe feline lukemia, but she never had contact with another cat.
    - Rascal, indoor/outdoor, but died of feline lymphoma not related to going outside.
    I gave one indoor cat away once, and had 2 outdoor cats disappear. The hope for the outdoor cats is that they found other homes.

    No, sadly, indoor cats have their problems too.

  10. I'm so sorry to hear about Katy. :( It's always a shock when they are suddenly gone, especially one so young.

  11. Wow, three cheers for the volunteer plants...isn't it interesting how they sometimes do just as good or better than the ones we purposely plant.

    So sorry to hear about your cat.

  12. Your late harvest was better than my regular one :o)
    My peppers did nothing ...t

  13. Sorry to here about your cat, Leigh. I'm sure it's tough too because it was so unexpected. -Carrie

  14. I'm so sorry about Katy. I think the fact that animals usually live shorter lives than we humans is part of the reason why I have a hard time being that close to animals.

    We had our killing frost last week sometime. We didn't have that much in the garden but we brought a little in.

  15. I"m so sorry about Katy!

    So far, we are still hanging in there with the tomato plants, even though we've had about ten frosts. I keep covering them when a frost is coming, and they are still going. We get a few ripe tomatoes off the plants each week. Eventually, I plan to make chow chow of the green ones. Maybe they will make it until my Thanksgiving break when I will have a few days off in a row!

  16. I'm so sorry to hear about Katy. :(

    and your late harvest is amazing!

    I had my first taste of picked green tomatoes recently and am hankering for some more, but I don't have any. :( oh well, I'll know what to do next year.

  17. I'm so sorry to hear about Katy, and for your loss. I have a precious kitty that is close to me and I can't imagine losing her. I just know it will be a huge loss for Todd and I.

    Hugs to you,

  18. So sorry for the loss of your Katy. It is awful to lose a pet. My deepest sympathy.

  19. I am sorry for the loss of your beloved Katy.

  20. Oh, Leigh, I'm so sorry about Katy. She sure was a cute little thing. I've lost both in and out side cats. It's always sad.

    Your gleanings from your pre-freeze garden are wonderful. Enjoy those green tomatoes.

  21. poor katy, that is so sad. my heart goes out to you leigh.

  22. I'm so sorry about Katy, Leigh.

  23. So very sorry to read about Katy. I hope you have another lap kitty in the near future.

  24. I'm so sorry, Leigh. What a sad loss and under such especially difficult circumstances. Sometimes the only small consolation that I can find after losing a pet is thinking about what a good, happy life I gave them. I know Katy was a happy girl. It's not much to hold onto, but it may help a little.

  25. oh no, this has been a really bad year for you with pets and barn animals:(( our visiting cat has been gone since last november now, and I still miss her and hope it's him, whenever I see a cat on the road.

  26. Losing a sweet pet like Katie must have been is almost like losing a member of your family, I'm so sorry for your loss.

    The rescued end-of-summer vegetables look like a nice harvest. We just brought in our green tomatoes. We learned too late that we hadn't been watering them enough and they really got a late start . . . hence only a few ripe ones. However I have enough to make a big batch of green tomato relish which I'll use for Christmas gifts!

  27. I'm sorry to hear about Katie... It's hard to make sure cats don't get into stuff that can harm them. If someone around used rat/mouse poison and she happened to eat it, that could be the culprit.

    Looks like your last harvest was a bountiful one!

    We've had strong, cold winds here, frosts every night for the last couple of weeks. I think winter has made an early debut!!

  28. Kari, thanks.

    Mr. H, I've been thinking the same thing. Those volunteers seem to be among the most hardy.

    Ginny, it's amazing, isn't it? Hot weather really did my tomatoes and peppers in, but they all made a come back when the weather cooled down.

    Thanks Carrie, thanks Laura.

    Michelle, that's great about your tomatoes! I wish mine had made it a little longer, but I'm just glad to have a good basketful of green ones.

    Renee, thanks. Do try some green tomatoes next year!

    Kristi, thanks!

    Jane, Crow, Susan, and Chris, thank you.

    Thanks Debbie.

    Thanks Kat. Not sure Riley would be tolerant of another cat around the place!

    Thanks Grace, I'm hanging on to every good thought I can.

    MTS&M, thanks.

    Bettina, I didn't know about your cat. It's hard to not keep looking for the ones who disappear.

    CaliforniaGrammy, good idea for the Christmas gifts! We didn't water everything enough either, and paid the same price. Hopefully next year will be better.

    Laura, I did a lot of research today, because something just didn't seem right about the whole thing. She had been very sick the week before and had gotten two injections of antibiotics. When she went downhill a 2nd time, the vet did bloodwork and her creatinine was off the chart. Considering her age, he thought poisoning was the most likely cause of renal failure. Today I found out that antibiotics can also cause renal failure. Since she didn't get out much while she was sick, nor was eating much, I'm guessing that's what happened. It's devastating to think the very source of help likely killed her.

  29. I'm sorry to hear about Katy. We almost lost our cat this week when the neighbor dog attacked her. I didn't really know how much I cared for her until I was worrying that she might not live.

  30. Oh crap Leigh, so sorry to read about Katy. I know she will be terribly missed. Big hugs. ((()))

  31. Leigh, I am so sorry to hear about Katy :( Our animals become part of our lives...our family. Hugs!

  32. Jody, funny how things like that reveal things we aren't aware of. So glad your cat didn't die.

    Theresa, yeah, it's the pits. Especially now that I think I have the actual cause determined. Thanks for the hugs, I need them.

    Stephanie, it's true, they are family. Definitely miss my Katy girl.

  33. Oh, Leigh, please don't blame yourself. Hindsight sometimes just creates too much guilt. It does hurt so much when we lose on of the furry kids. There's no way around that. Hugs to you.

    It's amazing that our killing frost way up here near the tundra and yours in the tropics (!) were so close together this year. But our fall weather has been very, very unusual so we know better than to get used to it!

  34. Oh Leigh....I am so sorry to hear about heartbreaking...{{hugs}}

  35. Leigh, I'm so sorry to hear about your sweet Katy kitty. Our outdoor cats are a part of our hardworking homestead. They keep the poisonous snakes at bay (one was actually bit on the head...and survived!), rats, voles and chipmunks too. We're lucky in that we have only 2 neighbors and the one who keeps a HUGE stack of firewood in his shed year-round welcomes the daily visits of one of our cats because he keeps HIS rats away. Again, my sympathies because I know how hard it to lose a beloved pet.

  36. Hi Leigh..the billy barn is cool! & i'm so sorry for ur loss...

  37. Mama Pea, intellectually I know that, it's just my heart keeps saying, "if only..." It is amazing how weather has been so similar this year in both northern and southern climes. I'm sure it's a treat for you all to be having a milder autumn.

    BRF, thanks. :)

    Lisa, it's that way for us too. We keep cats because they have an important job to do. We have noticed that as we keep more livestock and are starting to grow our own grain, the rodent population has increased as well. And, that attracts snakes. Our cats are working cats but they become pets as well. Not sure if it's possible to not love at least some of the critters around here.

    HangKebon, thanks!

  38. Leigh, so sorry about your Katy. You didn't have her all that long, if I remember, and those sometimes hit harder than in an older cat. My cousin lost her ranch cat last year from eating one too many poisoned rodent. So the poisoning was indirect and over a long period. But there are times when we just can't confine our animals and have to accept what comes. I've had to confine both my cats to the indoors and thankfully they don't know what they're missing but that's not always possible.. --Sue in MA

  39. Thank you Sue. I reckon we'll never know for sure, though I strongly suspect the antibiotic. Working cats don't have as long a life as house cats, it's sad but true. So glad you can keep your kitties safe.


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