late fall, where’s winter?
Waiting for snow, can’t really believe it…..waiting for the ground to freeze, waiting for a big, drastic change. Meanwhile, the turkeys eat and eat and eat. The pigs dig and dig and dig. The leaves fall and fall and fall. It’s exhilarating to have had such a nice long autumn, but we’re kind of ready for the big hunkerdown.
Post Halloween is a delicious time for the animals, as we got a load of ex-Jack-o-lanterns dropped off. Thanks Cris!!! The turkeys carve the pumpkins shells down to a gorgeous translucent hull, glowing orange as the sunset hits. Our goats are professional pumpkin eaters and waste no time completely devouring them, not even leaving a headstone for their victims. Even the lady ducks will happily spend hours whittling away at the pumpkin flesh with their rounded bills. They don’t have teeth or a sharp pointed beak to make it easy, but that doesn’t stop them from getting their share of the pumpkins. Our very picky pigs have decided they do not like pumpkins afterall, which is frustrating. These piglets are just so strangely picky!
Fall plantings can be tricky to predict, and seeding carrots in August just seems rather foolish. “Really, you think you’ll get anything bigger than a thick, orange needle?” No, but really, this year, our fall garden blew us away. We credit two things- the long, graceful fall, and the pigs who tilled up the patches for us a couple months before we planted the late veggies there. Pigs remove roots, weeds and their seeds, brush and brambles. It’s unbelieveable. While they are the most picky pigs ever, they did some excellent work for our garden, and had loads of fun in the process.
Food processing is what you do when you have a bounty. We’ve been canning our hearts out, fermenting huge loads of kraut and kimchi, putting carrots, turnips, radishes and rutabagas into cold storage, making country style wine, transforming milk into cheese for the off-milking time, and freezing eggs for winter scrambles.
Soon we’ll have withdrawl from all that kind of work, but right now we’re kind of done with it! Time for planning next spring awaits. Putting in our seed order, after meticulously organizing our planting schedule. We’re aiming for 35 CSA shares next season and that will require alot of thought and planning to provide for. And one always must have back ups if any crop fails. Hopefully we’ll have more goats in milk next year, and be going gangbuster with soaps, etc.
Why do we welcome winter? Well, it’ll be a time to relax a bit! No more 24-7 stress load. A break from the franticness, and the chance to reflect on what didn’t work and why, and how we’ll improve. And winter is an excellent time to reconnect with friends and family who have had to put up with our mayhemic schedules this season. While the lugging of 5 gallon buckets of water from our bath tub to the animals is not really FUN, it is a lot less frantic time of year, and we’re totally looking forward to it.