Fall is an enjoyable time on the ridge; the harvest is mostly in, the days are slowing down (in part because it gets dark earlier!) and it’s a good time to pause and reflect on all of God’s goodness.
It seems like every year some things do well on the farm, others don’t.
We got a lot of apples again this year thanks to some dear friends. Ours produced, finally, but not enough to do anything with. We got some pears and some peaches, but mostly we have to buy our fruit, or barter for it.
We rushed to get our gardens all planted before we went on vacation in May, and we came home to find that woodchucks had eaten almost all of our tender young plants in our absence. We are blessed to have good and watchful neighbors, and they were able to dispatch five of the critters; we got rid of two more when we returned, and we replanted the gardens. (NOTE: that trick about using Double Bubble bubble gum on woodchucks appears to work!)
For the first time that we can remember, our green beans did very poorly. We don’t know why, and this is real loss for us as green beans are one of our “staple” crops.
Our strawberries did very well but unfortunately we were not home to harvest them so we bartered them in exchange for the woodchuck elimination and critter sitting while we were on vacation.
The squash were the big producers this year, including butternut, spaghetti, and zucchini – I still can’t believe all my years growing up I never ate zucchini now I love it! We also have enjoyed using our “spiralizer” to make zucchini spaghetti.
The tomatoes were prolific but not very healthy. Last year we had blossom end rot; this year we were overrun with mice. They would eat the tomatoes right when they got ripe, so we had to pick them early or lose them. We got some soup and some salsa, but no spaghetti sauce and not much juice.
We got some root crops: turnips, sweet potatoes, red potatoes. We also got some kohlrabi – a new addition to the garden for us, and one we will definitely grow more of in the future.
Paula was able to dry some parsley and celery, and she also made some dehydrated zucchini noodles for a winter treat.
You never know what you will end up with for the winter when you live on a natural farm; but the freezers are full, the canning shelves are loaded,and we will survive another winter (and probably put on a few extra pounds if we’re not careful!
We are thankful.