October 15, 2023

Around The Homestead

We still don't have a lot of color yet, but the dogwood are beginning to turn.

Not much new to tell. Mostly, we're working on seasonal chores, such as spot planting the pastures with a cool weather seed mix. Dan got the winter wheat planted and a little of that is starting to come up. Few of our fall plantings are doing much sprouting, however, because of our long dry spell. 

Dan has also begun thinning the flocks and continues to work on the greenhouse. I'll have a separate post about that soon.

Outdoors, I've been cleaning up the summer garden beds for their winter rest. We're still getting cherry tomatoes and green beans, so between those and our fall turnips, daikons, and kale, we've got some good eating from the garden. The chickens are moulting, but we still get an occasional egg.

Indoors, canning is about done, except for what I have waiting in the freezer. I think my old Excalibur dehydrator has reached end-of-life, so I'm contemplating replacing it. 

I'm getting the last of my cheese making done.


I start with mozzarella, then work on feta, halloumi, and paneer in whatever order we need them. These are our staple cheeses, all of which I can store in the freezer or in olive oil. I make ricotta from the whey, and with what we don't eat immediately, I make gnocchi (which also freezes well).

I've started working on organizing our office. When we created my studio/ sewing room, we used one end of the sun room for that, and left the other end for the office. I hadn't done anything with it because there is still work to be done on that side of the room, starting with installing a door to the greenhouse. 

Future project: the unfinished side of my studio/sewing room. The greenhouse
door will replace the left window. My computer desk is in the other corner.

What motivated me to make a start, was that the set-up for my table loom wasn't at a comfortable height for weaving. My worktable was too high, so I started looking for alternatives. My old computer desk was a possibility.

Actually a student desk, so lower than a standard table.

But it meant I needed a new desk for my computer. Happily, I had already bought one, but was waiting until that end of the room was finished before assembling it.

My new computer desk.

My old computer desk works very well for the table loom. 

New home for the table loom, which works well with the stool.

After that, one thing led to another and I've been working on finding and organizing our office stuff: paper, envelopes, pens, pencils, etc., plus bills, bank, and budget stuff. This is actually a relief, because I was tired of not being able to find what I needed (funny how you think you'll remember which box something is in, but quickly forget).

Weather wise, we're finally getting some much needed rain, but the temps haven't been cool enough to have our first fire yet. Even so, the house cools off enough at night so that we've appreciated our season's first soup. 

The base for this soup is a jar of frozen summer leftovers and
a pint of bone broth. Plus whatever leftovers are in the fridge.

Any that we don't eat becomes the start of the next batch.

This is our favorite cool weather lunch. I never know what's going to be in the jar, so it's different every day and always delicious. 

We're still in the midst of spider season, and I have a new type to report.

I haven't identified these yet, 

These are particularly fascinating because of their webs. They build a large, intricate maze (like you see at the top of the photo) and then build a more traditional looking web it the middle of that. Then they park themselves in the middle and wait. We have three or four of them around, so I suspect we'll see them next year too. 

I think that catches everything up. Next month will start breeding season for the goats (which they're ll ready for.) Other than that, it's just one day at a time.


Shepherdess55 said...

I know this is going to seem like I'm stating the obvious, but your spider's name is simple Garden Spider or Yellow Garden Spider. I had several in both flower and vegetable beds.

Leigh said...

Shepherdess55, we have Garden Spiders (Orb Weavers) too, but they are a bit different than this one. Both are yellow and black, but the patterning is different and this one has a reddish ting to the bottom of its abdomen. The webs are different too. Orb Weavers make a flat web with a distinctive zig-zag patter in it. These don't have that, but seem to make mostly random looking mazes with their webs. I should get a good close up of this one to see the difference.

Goatldi said...

Your organizational skills are to die for! Mine are each year the best of intentions. Ugh the road to , you get it. I did get some files and such to transfer what is in my accordion file to my index file that shares a space in my fiber room.Let me see if I maintain as dedicated
as I am now.
Everything looks good and your weavers are lovely! How many does are you breeding this year? Winter will be sooner than we all think.

Leigh said...

Goatldi, well, they sound good in my head! Actual organizing (and keeping it that way!) is another matter, lol.

I have three adult does that are candidates for breeding, and one near yearling who is quite large and I think, would do well. Times being as they are, I'm thinking I really need to think carefully about how many does to breed and goats to keep. We'll see.

Quinn said...

I already love the piece of work you have on your table loom - looking forward to seeing it when done! My garden awaits the big annual clean-up, as I generally coordinate with my Occasional Helper on this task - I take down everything in the garden and thin/transplant perennials while he trundles loads of used bedding from the barns so I can use it to build up the garden terraces. Unfortunately, in recent months, my OH has been extremely "O" and now there's such a backlog of rescheduled tasks that I've reluctantly begun looking for that rare thing: a backup helper.

Pioneer Woman at Heart said...

Looks like nice progress on the room. The cheese looks delicious. I do miss cheese making when we had the dairy goats. We are so far behind on the new coop, but like you said, one day at a time.

daisy g said...

How fabulous that you found solutions for both the loom and the computer. I know how it goes with organizing, we just keep finding ways to tweak the system! Just think of how much time you'll save looking for things. Well worth the time spent.

Enjoy the changing season.

Leigh said...

Quinn, thank you! You can see the finished piece (all 3 of them) here.

It's nice you've got someone to help! Although, I suspect good helpers are in great demand. I hope you do as well finding a backup.

Kristina, one saying I keep reminding Dan of is, "by the inch it's a cinch, by the yard it's hard." Which I suppose is a clever way of saying "slow but steady!" I'd hoped to have the greenhouse done by now, but I won't complain. I hope you get good progress days for your chicken coop soon.

Daisy, that is so true about time. All I have to do is find the time to finish putting things away. :)

Ed said...

We've begun our fall cleanup this weekend and continue it today. All my canning stuff however is put away for the year so we are just concentrating on cleaning up the outside for now. I'm already thinking about my winter project, one that I already have planned and staged, ready to start. But I won't start it until all the other outside work is completed.

R's Rue said...

Have a beautiful day.

Leigh said...

Ed, it's always a good feeling to get an area cleaned up! Nice that you have a winter project in mind.

Regine, thank you!

Rain said...

The cheese looks great Leigh. I haven't made cheese in ages, I wonder when I'll get back to it!

Toirdhealbheach Beucail said...

Leigh, we seem to have lurched from Summer to Autumn in about a week, and suddenly there is a need to get the garden in. I am struggling to do it before I leave for Old Home this weekend.

It took my by surprise this year. It feels like it hit without warning.

Leigh said...

TB, I don't know about you, but I find it hard to be motivated to do autumn chores when it still feels like summer! We feel a bit behind as well. Do you have a huge weather difference between New and Old Homes? I'm guessing you have winter preps to do there too.