Monday, October 6, 2014

Autumn Arrives!

Autumn is arriving here on the farm!  It's been a graceful introduction to the season thus far and we're happy for it.  This summer was not a terribly hot one here in New Hampshire, but we had a few stretches of weather that were too hot for this yankee girl.  Now, we're down into the much more enjoyable temperatures with all it's beauty.

We're slowly wrapping up the harvesting season.  I was able to put by quite a lot of food in the past two months, some from our garden, some from the farm stands and I was gifted 70 pounds of beautiful roma tomatoes from my good friend, Diane.  I made a lot of sauce, diced tomatoes, salsa, pizza sauce and even tried my hand at home made ketchup.  The fruit ketchup I chose to try had peaches and apples in it as well and a kick of some jalapeno peppers.  It's a delight and will be great to light up some winter dishes.  I never appreciated that condiment until I made it for myself.  It is a real load of work!  Next time you put the squeeze to the Heinz ketchup, be thankful that anyone is willing to take on that task, it's a time consuming one.  Along with the ketchup and tomato products, I was able to put by zucchini salsa, chicken broth and soup, waxed beans, pinto and cranberry beans, 3 types of jelly, and big vats of sauerkraut (which I'm fermenting for the first time!) and we've still the full apple collection to get through with apple sauce, butter and pie fillings still to come.  I would also like to try my hand at canning a bit of venison if Music Man happens to get a deer this year.   I did manage to dehydrate some foods as well including zucchini and cherry tomatoes and a bit of beef jerky.
Among the wonderful things to harvest here on the farm included some wild foraging, too!  These grape vines are covering way too many of our trees and bushes here and will need to be beaten back a bit.  Here you can see that it has taken a liking to our crab apple tree. In the meantime I was able to harvest a large basket of grapes from just the ones I could reach.
Now, if you've not tasted a wild grape, they are a taste sensation and way too sour to actually eat off the vine.  Following an age-old recipe, I made some grape jelly!  I call it Heritage Jam in honor of the fact that these grape vines have undoubtedly been here for many years.  The jelly is amazing in flavor, like none I've ever had before, I'm truly enjoying it.  The boys are not as keen on it as I am as it contains a bit less sugar then they like in their jelly, so more of an adult flavor I guess, but I'm smitten for sure.  I still have about 2 1/2 cups to make into one more batch and I will be doing that just as soon as I get the apples together for my apple lilac jam, too.
As we're approaching our one year anniversary in our home next month, we remember the woefully cold first winter.  Determined not to have a repeat of that, we've got 3 cords of beautifully seasoned hard wood split and stacked and ready to grace us with it's BTU's.  We're all getting ready in our own way for the coming winter.
Finding charming sights like this help me to remember that we're not alone in this preparation.  The squirrels have been busy with gathering their necessary larder as well and we should all be well fed over the winter. 
This is the view of the garden in the distance, now dismantled except for the kale, which has gone strong all spring, summer and now into the fall, the sweet potato vines which have small roots on them and many voles.  My entire potato crop was lost to the voles save for a few of them, and it looks like they've discovered the sweet potatoes also, not sure we'll see any ourselves.  One of my friends told me to put Juicy Fruit gum in the holes and it drives them away.  Worth a shot, I guess so I'll be picking some up the next time I'm out.  When I have to compete with the voles, they seem to get the upper hand, every time. My sunflowers, which you can also see from this picture were just beautiful until the gold finches decided to pull every last petal off of them!  Not sure why they are so offensive to them, but this is the third time I've grown them and every time, the gold finches do their damage.
I've got the indoors decked out for autumn, as well. Upcoming in a couple of weeks I will be gathering the women in my family for my annual tea.  This is our 7th one and a day I really enjoy and look forward to.  The men in the household go to their annual trip to visit with Little Red's godfather and his family, they live a couple of hours away.  They visit and bang on drums for a while and  I get to have some much needed female bonding time with my family.  A good time is had by all.
I guess I will wrap this up here.  Wishing you all a wonderful, fruitful, thankful, blessed autumn season.  I know it's my favorite time of the year, and I hope you will find the joy in it that I do.
Harvest wishes to you all, ~Peacemom

1 comment:

Jennifer and Steve said...

Life is looking pretty festive for you around there! The colors here are so lovely right now. We are really enjoying the fall even though we are always sad to see summer leave us. Take care of you and yours!