Summer on the Ridge

Hi everyone, Kent here.

Well, here we are, facing another fall; summer seems to have left us in the dust (literally.) We finally got some rain last week, but it was not enough to replenish our pond, which is down six inches at least.

Summer is always a busy time on the Ridge, but this year more so than normal. In addition to the harvest, which waited until the last minute and then came on like gangbusters, we were in the thick of family issues, property maintenance, and just plain “life.” You all know the feeling I’m sure.

June found us planting our gardens very late (for us.) The strawberry patch was pretty much a loss (again!!!) And we ended up tilling it under. We only got a handful of raspberries from our new patch. The blueberries did “OK”  – we were able to put some of those in the freezer, thankfully. By the end of the month the peas were on; we planted sugar snap peas this year instead of the traditional Wando, and the sugar snap did not do as well as we had hoped. We ended up eating a few batches, but none for the freezer. Coccidiosis broke out in our meat chickens, and we lost quite a few before we could get it under control. Such a deadly disease, and so fast moving!

Our daughter was home for the entire month of June, so our family was expanded from 2 to 7 for the month. It was great to have the grandhildren home, but, as you can imiagine, running a busy household of that many people made the month go by pretty fast.

We butchered our own chickens this year to save some money, and that went pretty well; we put 24 birds in the freezer (out of an original count of 30) in two batches, each batch took about 3 hours to process. We skinned them rather than plucking them; and rather than putting them in the freezer whole we elected to cut them up and freeze them in portions so that they would be more convenient for us. 

July was hot and dry; and we didn’t water the gardens nearly as much as we should have. We made several trips to Pittsburgh for doctor appointments (yes, we’re getting to be that age), hosted several family get togethers and kept grandchidren, and generally tried to keep up with life. We started the Bright Line Eating diet together after my sister bought us the book. It seems to be working well for us and we were pleasantly surprised how well it fits our food philosophy – we’re finally eating the way we’ve always encouraged others to eat LOL.

Chickens still seem to be our “game.” One of our laying hens was determined to set, despite our best attempts to discourage her. We finally broke down and went to a neighbor and purchased a clutch of fertile eggs. The hen’s hard work paid off when she hatched 7 little chicks;. Our friend has a “colorful” flock with several different breeds, so now we do, too! We also started a second batch of meat chickens, and those have done much better than the first batch, with only two lost this time (so far.) We may consider raising all of our meat birds later, rather than earlier, going forward.

August has found the garden finally producing – carrots, kohlrabi, cabbage, tomatoes and – wonder of wonders! – corn. We’ve never had a decent corn harvest on the Ridge, so we were glad to have something to get excited about.

The big news of August is that we are moving. Our oldest son is buying the big house, and we are hoping to build on the other end of the land. Thus we will have some of our grandchildren close by to help again, we will be able to begin the process of “downsizing” while staying on the land, and hopefully we can engage with another generation to pass along the knowledge, skills, and values we’ve been accumulating. We are trusting God for wisdom and guidance as this new part of our journey unfolds.