Monday, September 5, 2016

Harvest!

It's fall, and I'm not ready for it. You'll have to drag me into autumn kicking and screaming, because I want to hold on to the long, hot summer days of the past two months. 

Alas... It's getting darker sooner, and the rains have started. I know the earth desperately needs water, and I know it will be nice to physically slow down in fall and winter, but... but... but... I. Love. Summer.

Everything has ripened early this year, so much so that we've harvested most of the garden already!

The boys helped harvest garlic and onions, and we've had a beautiful crop of them.









We harvested boxes and boxes of potatoes, and I'm glad that I had the help of my sons and one of their friends, and later on for another garden bed the "help" of my little daughter and two of her friends.

The girls' showed unending enthusiasm for finding the buried treasures, and I had to intervene several times when they were so excited about grabbing the taters that they forgot to take turns. 






The garden is looking quite bare and was neglected weed-wise, until I went out on Sunday and pulled out three large wheelbarrow loads of weeds.  They came out like butter after two days of hard rain.

I love weeding because it connects me with the Earth, gets my blood pumping and me sweating, embeds dirt in my fingernails (yeah, I'm not a diamond ring kind of gal, I'm a dirt under the fingernails woman), and it makes everything look pretty and tidy (that's the German in me).

There's still beets, broccoli, cabbage, celery, some beans, tomatoes, kale, collards, chard, cucumbers, zucchini and winter squash in the garden, but all the rest is harvested. The orchard is loaded with apples, but we already harvested the pears (and love eating them with whipping cream).

















A few days ago we drove to the East Side towards Winthrop and picked elderberries.  We scouted for them in the spring, when they are covered with blossoms and easy to spot, and now was the time to strike.  We picked two large grocery bags in a matter of minutes, which the next day I made into elderberry syrup, a potent medicine to ward off colds and flu.  

I made the kids help me pick the berries off the stems, which they weren't happy about because it's messy, and bugs kept crawling out, but I reminded them that sometimes, you just gotta suck it up and help.  Period.

I have a tutorial on how to make elderberry syrup here, and you don't even need fresh berries for it but can order dried ones online.

I made a total of six quarts of elderberry syrup (with more berries to spare, waiting in the freezer for a later date in case we run out).  Considering that 4 ounces of this sells for $12 at a health food store, that means I made about $600 worth of elderberry syrup.











I will leave you with two images of things I love.

One is Raka, our puppy who isn't a puppy any more, and the other is our brand new porch.  We have a PORCH!!!  I am elated because I've wanted one ever since we bought our place 14 years ago, and now I have an easy-to-maintain concrete porch.

What's going on in your life right now?  How are you feeling about fall arriving?




13 comments:

  1. I think I see 3 guys but I'm not sure they are so well camouflaged! I'm with you about summer but I actually like Fall better because summer is so hot where we live. Looking forward to Fall because of the bounty and cooler temperatures. The smoke from distant fires has blown away and we can actually see beautiful clouds with sunsets! Nice! We're starting our winter prep. Gutters on the horse stalls for example. We're also starting our Big Project. Renovating the garage into a master bedroom and bath. So can appreciate you enthusiasm for your deck! I'm half German and all Midwestern so I get "tidy". Here in CA there's so many messy properties and I always marveled at how incredibly neat were the farms where I came from (Iowa). What a contrast.

    I can see visual evidence how you love your place. It looks beautiful. All your years of hard work have paid off. Love your attitude with enlisting the young ones. Yeah! Good for them. Good for you!

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    Replies
    1. I'm so glad the fire danger has calmed down in your neck of the woods. I'm so glad that we didn't have to struggle with fires this year!

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    2. I actually commented to my husband that it looked like Midwestern winter this summer because of the solid gray skies from smoke. We're still not out of fire season but temps have cooled, winds have picked up so hopefully it is over. I am glad that you didn't have to deal with smoke, too. No fun!

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  2. Pickling beets, beans, and zukes today. Cleaning up the less productive plants and, scooping manure into the to be garlic beds for the winter. I am so excited to spin, knit, and relax( read as craft my heart out for the holidays) for a few months. The girls and I are reading a new series together and its wonderful. Thanks for taking the time to share your families bliss. Your life is beautiful!

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    Replies
    1. Kai, what series are you reading? Eva is starting to get really interested in "bigger" books. I just finished reading "Mrs Frisby and the rats of Nimh", and now we are doing "Stuart Little". I'm curious to see what other homeschoolers are reading!

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  3. Ughhh I hope my vegetable garden will look and produce like yours someday. I need to work on the soil a lot more first. Onions and garlic looked like marbles as did the red beets. Don't know what the taters look like yet. But I am envious of your climate. Pears are a no go here and I so do love them and elderberries are at the most northern limit.
    But I am happy autumn is here! We already had nights with temps. under 5C. Soon the frosts will be here. Rowans are heavy with berries this year and they are a deep orange. Much more color than last year.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. By the way; this recipe something for you guys??
      http://idlewildalaska.com/no-sugar-canned-pears/

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    2. Hmmmm, that looks like a great recipe. I might give it a try! Thanks for passing it on!
      And yes, keep working on your soil. Believe me, I've put a lot of sweat and tears and poop (not mine, but the goats') into my soil! It rains so lot here, the fertility leaches out quickly!

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  4. We are coming into the sweetness of Spring here, the day's growing longer and warmer. The ground waking up. A little too early here to plant too much as the frosts are about, but plenty of ground work to start.

    It looks like a beautiful haul you have there!

    Xx

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    Replies
    1. Ohhh, Emma, you are starting the cycle of planting, while we are ending it. What a lovely thought!

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  5. Corina, use 1/4 wire cut into 12" squares to hull the elderberries. Put the screen over a bowl and rub the cluster over the screen. Works like a charm. Linda

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    Replies
    1. Great idea Linda! (Corina inspired me to try making elderberry syrup) - Renee in California

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  6. You don't actually need to remove the stems at all, just the leaves. Assuming one would use a juice extractor. Unless one wants to use the berries in jam later on.

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