Harvest Moon

I have been writing things down as I go along this week otherwise I usually find I cant remember what I did and write the blog in a haphazard way.

After our weekend away the first job on the list was picking as this had not been done since the Thursday before, there were plenty of beans, cucumbers and tomatoes plus a few raspberries. We also decided to harvest the pumpkins, spaghetti squash and the onions before the first frost catches us unaware, they are now in the small poly tunnel drying off, the skins need to harden on the squash and the onions need to dry so that they can be stored overwinter.

On Tuesday a friend came to visit, remember the one with the bees and lucky me I got a little gift of honey, I have resisted pooh bear behaviour and have not opened it and stuck my finger in, but I can hear it calling me from the cupboard so I am sure it wont be long before I do!

Wednesday was a busy day starting with the usual routine of feeding everything, then I went on to clean out the dog kennels, we have some lovely smelling (bubblegum flavour) disinfectant that we use, I am not sure the dogs like it very much but it makes the chore that little bit more pleasant for me. The dogs had a treat of sardines to help with their coat for the coming months and we were all pretty pleased with ourselves. The pigs are doing a great job at eating up any surplus apples and veg, they have also been given some powdered milk that was left over from the lambs, we also gave some of the powder to the chickens, I mix in some oil with their pellets and then mix in the powder to coat the pellets, they have been moulting and the calcium will give them a bit of a boost with new feather production. I can report that since creosoting the coops the dreaded red mite have gone thank goodness, and we have just been given four containers of creosote so that will keep us going for a while. The battery was a bit low on the chicken paddock and as a result some have found a way out, luckily when they have laid an egg they make a complete racket about it, one was in the front paddock in the long grass laying, one has been in the hay barn laying, I just hope I am finding all the eggs as the numbers are still down, I counted sixty two laying hens and we are getting about twenty four eggs a day, quite a lot are on a free ride at the minute!

We have had a holiday horse for a few days, he was staying in the front paddock, we taped off the apple tree but he soon learnt that there was no electric on there and was helping himself to a free lunch. Our horses have now come off next doors paddock as they are moving, we moved them to the back and decided they could eat of the strip that runs down the side of the ménage as the grass has got quite long, I let them out and within five minutes they had decided the field looked like a better option and jumped the top rail to get to it, we have left them there as it would just be a continuing circle of getting them out and them jumping back in besides that field needs eating off too before the wet weather flattens it all.

A couple of the days were spent having a good tidy up, the other coops that were creosoted in August have now been put away for the Winter, they have been stacked and covered with tarpaulin, when we come to need them again they will have a quick coat applied and be ready to use a couple of days after that. The clearing up included having a bonfire, on a farm it is very wise to pick your moments to do this, obviously it could not be done during the heatwave when everything was tinderbox dry, it is also a good idea to take note of any wind and what direction it is blowing as we have a barn full of very dry hay! It was worrying moment when I had forgotten I had lit it that morning and came out in the afternoon to see smoke, realisation dawned, fleeting moment of panic over.

The temperature had taken a turn for the colder a couple of days ago although it is mild again as I type this, the heater was needed to take the chill off the evening air and so I decided that some comfort food was in order, we had a lovely piece of braised beef with onions, and mashed potato, beans and carrots all from the garden, followed by and apple and raspberry pie, delicious, that’s the only good thing about the winter months, the smell of a long slow cooked piece of meat waiting for you when you come in. I made extra large portions of everything so that some of it could be frozen for those days when I just don’t have time to cook.

I am very aware that there is a lot of picking still to be done, the apples, the plums, blackberries, elderberries, some elderberries will be given to the chickens and they make a nice addition to an apple pie, I also noticed that the sloes were abundant this year, I have not tried anything with those yet but hope to have a go at sloe gin if I get round to picking any. I have a large quantity of green tomatoes still outside, the plants have given me plenty of ripe ones but as the temperature drops they are slowing down, green tomato chutney is delicious with cold ham around Christmas time, if anyone wants any to have a go come and get some. I have been jotting down notes to formulate a plan for the veg garden, what was good, what was not, what needs clearing and mucking and where to plant some winter veg, broad beans can go in soon and the poly tunnel will be used to grow early crops of peas and carrots. I also have some green manure to plant, this grows on a vacant patch and then you dig it back in Spring, it helps in many ways, firstly it prevents any nutrients being washed away by wet weather, secondly it helps to stop any compaction of the soil because the roots are busy finding their way around the dirt and lastly once you dig it back in it feeds the soil ready for the new plants, as long as you don’t forget you planted it and let it go to seed (as I did one year and it spread everywhere) , it is a great help.

Quick update on the leaks last week, the gutter in the stable area was full of debris from the trees and so was blocked up, that has now been sorted and the leak in the kitchen ceiling was caused by Hubby not clearing up after himself when he cleaned to flue from Rosie, he left the deposits on the roof and it caused the rain to back up near a bolt and find its way inside, needless to say he got a telling off and now all is well 😉

The windy weather has taken its toll on the bean stalks, three of them have gone over but I am still picking beans from them as the roots remained in the ground, although with the colder, wet weather the foliage is beginning to deteriorate and it won’t be long before they start to go over. Then the job of tidying up the plot for resting will begin in earnest, I love it when the growing season begins but I also love the satisfaction of clearing it all ready for next time.
Look out for the Harvest Moon this Wednesday 19th, its a bit early this year as the autumnal equinox is on the 22nd, it is just a normal full moon really but I love the fact that it has got a name relating to the time of year in the northern hemisphere.

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