September 10, 2022

Our Agrarian Year: Shift to Autumn

September, October, and November are the autumn months of our agrarian year. Almost as if on cue, we've experienced an overall temperature shift from sweaty hot days to mild and comfortable. I've started wearing a light jacket when I go out to do morning milking. The days are noticeably shorter, and the sound of the wind in the leaves has changed. Oddly, we haven't seen many migrating birds yet. 

We made the decision last month to make the masonry stove next summer's main project, when we won't feel rushed by coming winter. It's a big project and we have to get it right. Incorporated into that is finishing the front bedroom, because originally, it shared the fireplace with the living room. It's one of the two remaining unfinished rooms in the house. 

The other unfinished room is the sunroom, which I hoped to turn into my studio before it became a storage room as we worked on the rest of the house. An idea that's been on our master plan for a long time, is to attach a greenhouse onto this sunny, southeast facing room. Dan really wants to finish the house (gee, it's only been 13 years!) and building a greenhouse is a much more suitable project for fall and winter. 

Seasonal Chores:

  • Clean out
    • gutters
    • chimneys
    • wood stoves
  • Limb trimming
  • Continue harvesting and preserving the remains of the garden
  • Finish fall and winter planting (as early as possible)
    • Pasture
    • Garden
    • Seed starts
  • Get the livestock down to winter numbers
  • Winterize anything that needs it


  • Mill lumber for garden beds and our greenhouse project
  • Develop specific plans for the greenhouse
  • Start to build said greenhouse

I know the project list seems really short, but like spring, autumn is a time where seasonal needs take priority.


daisy g said...

Sounds like great plans. We have also felt a shift in the seasons, with no temps in the 90's this week. We'll take it!

Leigh said...

Daisy, that's good news! Our only day over 90 was September 1st (so far). Lots of rain and cooler temps today. I'm guessing you're getting it too!(?)

Ed said...

Can't wait to see your greenhouse build! My wife and MIL has been extremely happy with ours and they have all these plans to use it this winter though I keep telling them that without heat, things will freeze in there. But they want to give it a go so we'll see what they can do.

Goatldi said...

I love the Agrarian year and the large dose of commonsense it is made of. With that said your list both seasonal and project orientated are practical and potentially completed barring any unknowns getting in the way. But then that never happens ;-)

Mine are similar but a bit scaled down. I pretty much have cut down my expectations and are divided into columns of 50% of 100%. Then reconsidered for the final cut dominated by importance and if it requires extra hands how practical it will be to find extra hands.

At any rate your enthusiasm and rate of completion continue to encourage us along. lol

PioneerPreppy said...

I love September but I hate the allergic reaction I get this time of year. Kills my motivation makes me feel like my eyes are the size of balloons and sometimes, not often, will give me hives on the underside of my wrists. After a few weeks it settles down and I can get back to normal work but for a while it is bad. Oh did I mention constant eye's watering and waking up with my lids dried shut?

Anyway looking forward to reading about your progress :)

Carola Bartz said...

I actually think your list is pretty long and not short. There is lots to do!
We had a bad heat wave here and I'm glad that today we're back to the low 80s. It feels so much more comfortable. Middle of September to beginning of November is our planting season so that the plants can get established over the winter with the rains that will hopefully come. Autumn is my favorite season - it is full of garden chores, but I do love it.

Leigh said...

Ed, I'm happy to hear you all are happy with your greenhouse. We're still mulling over winter heat, since ours will be attached to the house. It's one of those projects I wish we'd done earlier, but at least we're getting to it now!

Goatldi, "barring any unknowns getting in the way." That's always the kink in the works! It's one of the reasons we've learned to keep the list short. Like you say, we have to keep our expectations realistic.

PP, it's funny you mention allergies. Dan has them really bad too, for the first time in autumn. Allergies are a real nuisance! I hope yours don't last long.

Leigh said...

Carola, hello and welcome! I agree, this time of year there is lots to do! Nice to hear you're over your heat wave too. At least I hope that's the case! I hope you get lots planted and have a productive upcoming year.

Boud said...

I share with you the relief from the heatwaves and humidity. Everyone here is so cheerful now! And my seasonal plans are tiny compared to your ambitious building and maintenance. I love to read about them, though I'm just as happy I don't have to execute them. You will definitely succeed, you always have.

Leigh said...

Boud, thank you! Our plans give us direction, even if they rarely work out as we think they ought. I'm happy with the cooler weather, but know better than to think the heat can't return. :)

Jenn Jilks said...

It is a busy life! I have a mental list of chores. I ought to get going!

Toirdhealbheach Beucail said...

Leigh, although mentally I can be in the Agrarian year, temperature wise it seems to delay at least another one to two months. That said, having a list of projects is a good thing and something I should work on as well.

Leigh said...

Jill, you must have a good memory! ;)

TB, in my mind, it isn't something set in stone (especially after taking my permaculture design course!). For me, it's just a tool that one has to adjust for a particular location. Having set dates to write a new to-do list is helpful.

We first started thinking about an agrarian year after reading Eric Sloane's The Seasons of America Past. It's an interesting look at historical rural America, which he bases on records from the Northeast. That's off by a good month for Dan and me. It was the seasonal life rhythms that appealed to us, so I adjusted the idea for the Southeast. In some parts of the world, it wouldn't even by categorized by the traditional seasons! It would be rainy season and dry season. In the southern hemisphere it would be "backward!"

Nina said...

It's autumn here for sure. Once Labour Day weekend hits, our summery weather is gone. I'm just harvesting the last of the tomatoes, a row of potatoes, some celeriac and herbs. Our autumn to do list includes :cleaning chimneys, trimming back a couple of trees (mainly for wifi connections), fall laundering of blankets,splitting wood for next winter and clearing the garden beds. Since the leaves are already turning and falling, in a few weeks we'll also be clearing up many, many, many leaves. Sadly, another few weeks and we'll likely also need to start up the wood stoves.

Leigh said...

Nina, it amazes me that you can grow potatoes all summer long. Mine die back if I leave them in the ground too long!

If your leaves are turning, autumn is truly settled in. Odd to think we're about two months behind you where I am. But that's why blogging is so interesting.

Toirdhealbheach Beucail said...

Leigh - Of course just after I wrote this, it almost seemed like the weather was almost at the point of giving me the sense of "moving one". I do not trust it here enough to believe it of course, and more importantly the sun has not changed its rays to that particular and peculiar slant of light that only happens in Autumn.

Leigh said...

TB, I reckon those could be called seasonal cues. I'm guessing they vary from person to person and location to location. Plus, their timing isn't the same from year to year! I wonder if and how they relate to our personal biorhythms, although that's probably not very relevant to most people.

wyomingheart said...

Excellent idea for the greenhouse! That will definitely start the season early, and keep the season a little longer for those greens!

Leigh said...

Wyomingheart, exactly! I suspect it will be too hot during summer to grow anything in it, but if I can extend our winter greens and get early seed starts for spring, I'll be happy!