Well, all of the onions are in, and finishing out their curing time on a sheet on the living room floor. We planted 400 sets, and although we ate a bunch over the summer, it looks like less than I expected, somehow.
Maybe a tenth of the sunflowers are in, hanging in the back porch, or stacked in baskets to dry. Planting two rows (of around 90 feet each) was a little on the enthusiastic side. The birds are helping us with the harvest, though, and there are plenty of flowers that will not form seeds, or not many seeds, before the first frost, which could come any day now. I don’t really intend to bother pulling the seeds out of all the flowers – I will just toss the dried flower heads into the chicken coop for an occasional winter treat.
Tomatoes are piling up, but there’s not quite enough for a big batch of salsa, just yet. Hubby has been eating one or two (or three or four) of the little ones with supper most days, but he can’t keep up. And that’s just the eating tomatoes. The paste tomatoes are just starting to turn, and will hopefully beat the frost, though if the weather stays nice, we’ll cover them and extend the season as long as we can.
In the end, we picked maybe 5 gallons of chokecherries, and made a bunch of jelly and syrup, as well as a batch of wine. There are still some of the late berries coming ripe, but I’m not sure if they’re worth the bother with all the rest of the garden to do.
I’ve been trying to keep up with big grocery store produce sales, as well as local produce that we weren’t able to grow ourselves this year. I’ve put up 20 pounds of peaches, 20 pounds of nectarines, 40 pounds of mangoes, 10 pounds of strawberries, 20 pounds of blueberries, maybe the same of raspberries, saskatoon berries (no idea how many – whatever we picked), plus tons of peas and beans from the garden, celery and peppers that were on sale (frozen for cooking and salsa making later), and 72 cobs of corn we bought from a local fella last week. I’ve blanched and chopped and hulled and frozen, jammed, jellied, dehydrated, and pickled my butt off. The shelves in my canning pantry are groaning, and I’m not sure if we could fit another single cob of corn in the freezer. I’m waiting for the pears to go on sale, though, as we canned up 3 cases last year, and there is one (!) lonely jar of pears left on the counter, waiting to be dessert on a hot day sometime this week…
The garden is mostly still going, and we’re facing a grueling marathon sometime soon…when the frost comes. We’ve got tons of potatoes, turnips, carrots, pumpkins, squash, beets, and shelling beans that we are leaving till the last possible minute, since the cold room is not the slightest bit cold – it’s been 30+ degrees for the last few days, and will continue like that for at least a week. We’ve also got corn in the garden that may yet make it to maturity, and the rest of the sunflowers, too. I’m also eyeing up the little crab apples on the tree out back of the house – they’re terribly sour, but I’m wondering if enough sugar would make them into a palatable apple sauce. I already sorely miss my apple trees back in Alberta!
Then there’s the buck yard to finish, and we need to do a few repairs to the barn before the snow flies. We’ve got a big order of square hay bales coming someday soon that will need to be stacked in the barn, and we’ve been trying to clear a big enough area for that. We need to find another freezer, as the chickens will need butchering in the next few weeks, as well. Hubby’s been trying to dig me some beds for next spring’s herbs and strawberries, as I lost a bunch of my plant starts this spring and summer for lack of places to plant them. If we can find time, I want to spread the old goat bedding on the garden for the winter, to till in in the spring. That will be a lot of wheelbarrow loads, though!
So, anyways, things are getting just a tad busy around here, and I expect posting will be a little erratic for the next month or so…something tells me we’ll be heaving one big sigh of relief when the snow flies…