Monday, October 28, 2013

In Memory of Ringo

It was a long hard battle fought. It started Labor Day weekend. Ringo was unable to stand and after hours at the emergency vet we were told he had the spine of a 13 year old. He was 8 1/2. Pain meds and many, many trips to the vet seemed to help some. After a month though and knowing he was still in horrible pain, I had to make the difficult decision to let him go. It has been three weeks but feels like yesterday....
Sometimes we connect with an animal. We connected from day one and though I have other dogs that I dearly love, Ringo was different. For 8 1/2 years he was my loyal shadow and was never more than a few feet away. When I wasn't home he would wait at the gate, follow me to the house and as soon as I got out of the car he would greet me with a present. Sticks, shoes, gloves, always a welcome home gift. I feel lost without my shadow and my heart is broken but I know he is not in pain anymore. 
We buried Ringo by the gate where he faithfully spent many hours waiting for me. I am in the process of creating a memorial garden. Goodbye my friend.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Jack Came To Visit

Jack Frost that is. Yes last night we had a record low of 29* and all the stragglers from the summer were zapped. Of course it is time, but the first frost always makes me a little sad. No more bits of basil, the last okra, the little cucumber vine that seeded down and had itty bitty cukes on it, all gone. For now, anyway.
A good thing Mr. Frost did was to kill all the pesky aphids that have been happily munching on the kale and collards. We are actually hoping for a cold winter. The last few have been so mild that the mosquitoes never died!
Today I gleaned the garden. Amongst all the sad dark foliage there were tons of peppers to be picked. We will enjoy them every way possible for the next while and I will freeze the ones not eaten for soups, stews and cornbread.
I also picked quite a large mess of butter peas. Those will be a tasty treat as well.
While picking I saw the broccoli is starting to form heads, spinach and kale are ready to harvest as well as the leaf cabbage.
The homestead will settle into a sleepy lull for the next few months. At least on the animals front. The sheep are separated into breeding groups and the goats are not far behind. The garden is easy to maintain through the winter. This will give us some extra time to hopefully finish bigger projects.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Edible Landscaping

I guess I could have planted pansies in the pots beside the gate leading to the kitchen herb garden/ someday cold frames (no they are STILL not done) but I opted for lettuce and spinach. Sometimes its just kinda nice to step out the door and pick a salad. Oh, I like pansy blooms. I just don't find them near as tasty as salad greens!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Sky Is On Fire

I just had to share these beautiful pictures!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Saving Seed

Today we harvested a couple of dried bushels of the new crowder pea we planted this year. It is called Red Ripper. It is not really a new pea, in fact a very old pea, whose seed was shared with us from a very old farmer. We were thrilled to try it and the family agreed it was one of the best we have eaten. So, excited to add this to our seed bank, we are keeping LOTS of seed. After shelling, we will put the seeds in jars and store in the fridge. We won't need all the seeds we shell out next year, but always keep extra in case of a crop failure. This pea was so delicious fresh we are going to try eating them dried as well, so that was another reason for the quantity saved.

I have also let the okra go and we will harvest that seed once it is very dry on the plant. (Some have already started to dry.) I decided on this plant because of the multi-branching genetics it showed. Most of the okra branches somewhat but this one was awesome.
Another seed we usually save is a purple hull crowder that we call JO's pea, for the farmer that shared those with us about 15 or 16 years ago. This year we had a great fresh harvest but not any dried seeds. We think maybe the squirrels harvested those for us. Not to worry though there are plenty stashed from years past. The squirrels have wreaked havoc on the farm this year and come cooler weather we will be harvesting some of them! Recipes will be posted on the eating blog ;o))