October 26, 2017

Autumn Chores

Certain times of the year projects like the barn are set aside for seasonal chores. When the forecast was for heavy rains followed by nighttime lows in the 30Fs (single digits C), it was time to get a few things done. I started by harvesting the sweet potatoes.

Sweet potato bed. The goats get the vines.

They are easy to find because the tops are right under the mulch.

They look good. Some are too big and some are too small, but they'll all get eaten. The one bed gave me about fifty pounds.

We have to wear leather gloves any time we work in mulch
because that's where our black widow spiders like to hide.

While I was in the neighborhood I pulled some radishes from the bed next door.

Purple plum radishes. The goats get the leaves.

The radishes' companion lettuce is looking good too.

Lettuce. I misplaced my garden chart so I'm not sure what variety this is!

I also harvested the cushaw squash. Not sure if frost would harm them, but the rinds were tough so they were ready to pick.

Cushaws - love this winter squash. Three is plenty for the two of us!

Dan's first autumn chore was firewood.

Then it was on to cleaning out the gutters and the woodstove chimneys.

Chimney brush with add-on extension rods.

The soot falls into the stovepipe elbow attached
to the stove. Dan used his shop vac to clean it out.

Lastly the catalytic combustor was cleaned and the stove is ready.

Next the cookstove chimney pipe was vacuumed out and the cast iron top oiled.

Ready to cook!

Pecan gathering will be ongoing for the next couple of months.

I keep a couple of buckets near the bench outside the
Little Barn. We add a handful of pecans to these daily.

The last thing I did was to move my Meyers lemon, aloe vera, and ginger plants indoors,

Lemons! Hopefully they will ripen by Christmas.

while Riley practiced for upcoming long winter's naps.

This takes a lot of practice, you know.

How about you? Are seasonal projects on your agenda too?

Autumn Chores © Oct. 2017 by Leigh 


Gorges Smythe said...

My wife doesn't miss the dust and dirt of heating with wood, but I miss the savings, the ambiance and the ability to shuffle a cold backside up to a warm stove after being outside.

Leigh said...

Gorges, I have to agree that the dust and sawdust are a distinct downside to heating with wood. But nothing heats like wood! And not having to pay the electric company to stay warm is well worth it. :)

Pioneer Woman at Heart said...

We had our hard freeze last night. I spent the day preparing for it too. I save my radish greens and blanch them for freezing. If they are in good condition anyway. It all looks good.

Sam I Am...... said...

What a great reward in produce after all your hard work! I've never tried cushaw squash so I will have to. I usually love squash of any kind. Your potatoes look great too and your lemons! Wow! You definitely know how to grow things! Black widows...ahhh! I had a fountain by my front door and they congregated there! I had to remove it! I never wear gloves but I will be working with some mulch soon so I think I will start wearing them!
Do you cook with wood? What a beautiful stove! I wish I could clean my own chimney but I am not good with heights at all and there are few chimney sweeps (none right now) in this area so I have to search for one...a good one....the last one had just swept someones chimney and the next week they had a flue fire! Not good.
I'm hoping to try cheesemaking this winter when the outside work is done...I just read your cheese post...not sure how I missed it but I did. That book looks good and between you and Rain I really want to try it....you 2 are my inspiration! Thank you for all your fascinating posts!

Ed said...

I've been working on them too. Mine are much simpler though. Bringing in the garden hoses, washing our vehicles one last time and winterizing the pressure washer. Getting the snow blower ready and garage rearranged for winter, i.e. sleds and snowblower accessible while gardening stuff tucked away. Today I have to winterize the bird bath and take down the hammock and then I think I am ready. Saturday weather permitting, I am down on the farm for 16 to 20 hours bringing in crops. We are maybe supposed to get a dusting of snow late tomorrow night or early Saturday. I'm not ready.

Mama Pea said...

Yep, there was a real flurry of outside preparations here yesterday because a day of heavy rain was forecast for today followed by 5-8" of snow overnight tonight into tomorrow night. Now it's been down-graded (and so far we have only light rain at 9 a.m.) and the snow is rescheduled as only 1-2". (Why do they do that to us??) At any rate, we did get extra things done yesterday that put us ahead of the game.

Jealous of your sweet potato harvest. Love 'em, but can't grow 'em way up here.

We've had a little fire in one or both of the wood stoves for about a week now . . . only in the mornings or evenings but not over night yet. Still no hard freeze . . . but it's coming!

Leigh said...

Kristina, great idea about the radish greens. I usually feed mine to the goats, and dry them too as a treat during winter.

Sam, thank you! I love my wood cookstove. I only use it during cold weather, any time it's cold enough for a fire. In summer I try to use my solar oven as much as possible, plus Dan barbecues once a week and will cook and smoke a week's worth of meat than. Then I just have to come up with salads or other side dishes to complete the meal. :)

Ed, I forgot about the hoses! But, they're in use every day so they will probably stay out, and get frozen, and get holes in them. sigh

Mama Pea, I have the same complaint about our weather forecasts! LOL It is good to be ahead of the game however. Last minute scrambling usually leaves something forgotten I find.

Donna OShaughnessy said...

Wonderful Leigh, love seeing others like us hustling it up before winter. We haven't had to fire up the Rocket Mass stove yet but I think next week we will. we are also harvesting sweet potatoes and this morning did the fall task of chicken butchering. Not a fun job but feels good to have it half done

M.K. said...

Some of your chores look much like mine! But -- boy, does your STOVE look a lot prettier than mine does :) That's just gorgeous! You're doing good winter prep. We harvested our sweet potatoes too, and I'm about halfway through steaming and mashing them and freezing them. The best I'll keep for baking. Adam will put heavy mulch over their bed tomorrow. He's repairing our house eave to get rid of a pesky leak in bad storms. We're also picking up astounding amounts of pecans this year. It will be a bumper year for us.

Chris said...

Our rainy season has finally begun, so I'm in the garden every day! Perfect time for planting seeds and establishing shrubs. You guys certainly fit in a lot, through your autumn days. But then, it's the crazy season of activity, before the cold of winter sets in. Then it's time for a well earned rest. :)

Leigh said...

Donna, that is so true about meat harvest. Never a job anyone looks forward to and always a relief to get done.

M.K. I love my stove! Another craigslist find and it was such a bargain. We got the stove plus all the double-walled stove pipe, for a fraction of what it would have cost new. It's the centerpiece of my kitchen! (Even though it only gets used in cold weather. :)

Chris, we're wrapping up and you're getting going!

Mrs Shoes said...

Woke up to a snowstorm yesterday (sure hope fall comes back for a few more weeks) so I was out pulling carrots in a blizzard. Totally worth it, so tasty.
However, were there any chance of poisonous spiders, I'm not sure I'd be a gardener at all! *wimpy me*

Cozy Thyme Cottage said...

Isn't it a great feeling doing all these things and getting ready for winter. We are doing a few things too. I don't know how to prepare my strawberry plants as have a raised bed on legs. We are putting plastic around the legs to help the bottom of the bed hopefully not get too cold and freeze them. Got some leaves yesterday to put around the plant but not sure when to do that. Any suggestions as how to do this courtyard gardening stuff? Nancy

Rain said...

Riley is adorable! :) Wow at those sweet potatoes! Nice size and harvest!! Leigh, I'm really in awe of your cookstove, it's absolutely amazing. It's my dream one day to have one too. We will have to learn how to clean out the chimney pipes in the future. Right now we pay to have it done yearly, but honestly, this house is such a sieve for keeping the heat in, we just seal up the fireplace and use it sparingly for atmosphere now and then.

Leigh said...

Mrs. Shoes, snow! Oh my! No fun to garden in that! Between the black widows and the fire ants, I have to say that gardening around here has it's challenges.

Nancy, I have no idea! Sounds like you've got some good ideas though. I hope they work!

Rain, thanks! The cookstove was an amazing find. It was sold as used but I doubt she used it more than once or twice. We got the stove plus all the pipe for a fraction of the cost new.

Have to agree with you about fireplaces. Most of the heat goes up the chimney. Our wood heater has a window in front so we can enjoy the fire! It will be better when you all get a place of your own and can do proper insulation.

Goatldi said...

Would love your sweet potatoes. I need to try them in a barrel next year. Don't trust those darn ground squirrels. I will take your stove if you ever part with with it 😊 We are just saying goodbye to warm (80 degrees or so) as I type. But the way I look at it is winter didn't leave until the third week of June so for summer weather last an extra couple of weeks makes sense. Fall weather resumes beginning Monday and by the following weekend we get rain ,low snow levels and throw another log on the fire weather. We snuck two nights of fires in a week ago when winter made a brief appearance last Thursday through Sunday.

Leigh said...

Goatldi, a barrel sounds like a good idea for sweet potatoes. Nice to have fire weather, isn't it? We've had them for the past couple of nights, but I'm not ready for winter yet! Sounds like you're staying warm and out of trouble. :)

Paula said...

Both radish tops and sweet potato leaves are better than edible- in the right hands they are delicious! Sweet potato leaves are like spinach; radish leaves are kind of like turnip greens. Both are great cooked with a little bacon, garlic, red chili flake and little water, which is also great served on pasta with freshly grated romano or parmesan cheese.

oh nuts...I made myself hungry.....

Leigh said...

Paula, that's excellent to know! Mostly I feed mine to my goats, but knowing that more of the plant is edible than is commonly eaten is good information.