Posted on October 26th, 2010 No comments
Today we are getting a light dusting of wet snow with temps around 0C. This is the 1st snow for the chickens. They took a few steps outside and then headed back in, so this will also be their first full day cooped inside. I managed to get most of the winter modifications done to their shed including a strawbale porch and off the ground ramps, but still have a few more things to do before the real cold sets in. I’m putting off giving them the heat lamp at nights for as long as possible, but we’re expecting -10 or so at night in the coming week so I will turn it on.
For the past week I have been letting them free range, mostly because the lawn tractor broke down so I could pull the camper. They were quite happy to have their 1st run around the yard, but I was a bit nervous about it because they scattered so far and wide and there are fox and coyote around. They had to learn to get hearded back home with the cattle flag, but after several days they were a bit easier to get back in. They, as with my the first bunch of chickens, like digging up my garden mulch the most, so yesterday was their last for free ranging, and come spring they won’t get to range in my gardens…. although I don’t know how I’m going to keep them out just yet.
Yesterday was also the day I got the perennial mulching finished using old wet and moldy flax bales we managed to locate and haul home. We knew the weather was about to turn south so we hustled to get the last of the winterizing done… which included getting the parsnips dug. Today I have a very sore back from the digging – parsnips go so deep, and the ground is hard and packed…. so not an easy job to say the least. Gene also had to get the cap for the well and water pump covered and insulated, and he’s still got water line to hook up before freeze up.
The carrots got dug, and the last of the peppers picked from the greenhouse mid October when it was still very warm and balmy, but just after the coldest of the killing frost which took the green house pepper plants anyway. We’ve only had a little over a week of seasonal temps this month, but today, with my outside work done I’m ready for winter. Yeah. Gene is hauling the potatoes to the cold room, and covering over the bags of carrots and parsnips in the shed since that hole in the ground never did happen. Hopefully though we can use the old well for the carrots, and the underground well pump enclosure for the parsnips.
I did manage to get a bit more seed picked: strawflower, celome, nigella, statice, petunia, agrostema… but absolutely no seed from holly hock, dianthus, snowflake, verbena, red flax, and several others. I still have a few tomaotes left but mostly I’m giving them to the chickens.
Posted on October 9th, 2010 No comments
The weather has been like summer (hot, tank top… open all the windows at night weather) so crops in the area are getting harvested with many of the local guys just about finished. My harvesting is just about over too. I have dealt with the last of the tomatoes that needed to be canned with another double batch of soup, and have canned all 3 of my pumpkins as pie filling. I will miss the tomatoes and cucs when they are gone as usual, but we can count ourselves very lucky to have had any tomatoes at all. As it turns out I canned as many if not more than any other year.
We will be digging that root cellar that I’ve been wanting after all… well it will actually just be a hole in the ground with interior framing… but will let us store our root veggies and apples at a colder temperature. With our new water line going in next week we are taking advantage of the hired machine to dig this hole at the same time. One of our sheds has a dirt floor and no foundations so will be a perfect place for a covered, insulated hole since it will be inside where it won’t get flooded and will be easy to get at during the winter months.
There are several types of flowers putting out a few blooms which is very rare for October: campanula, harbell campanula, iceland poppies, sweet rocket, viola, lupines, snaps, calendula, malva, tidy tips, veronica, spurge, wall flower, and the prairie asters, john cabot rose and potentilla are still blooming. Most of the plants were killed by the 3 nights of frost we had in September though, so I have been doing zero gardening. I do need to get the mulching done yet, and get new soil and manure hauled into the greenhouse.
Today I cleaned out the cucumbers and zucchini plants from the greenhouse since they had developed powder mildew, and picked off the last two zucchini and a large pail of cucumbers in the process. The peppers are still doing very well but picked off yet another pail of sweet reds and some cayenne. Because they are still in good shape I watered the them as well because I can’t bear to pull up the perfectly good plants. It is unfortunate that blight took the tomatoes, and the mildew took the cucs and zucchini because otherwise we would have had all of our greenhouse produce well into October this year.
Posted on October 4th, 2010 No comments
The Michaelmas Daisy are spectacular this year. Most years they bloom ever so slightly because the temperatures are already very cold and the ground is dry. This year, having never dried out throughout the summer, only a few September frosts, and then beautiful weather for this time of year they have ideal conditions for their blooming period.