Garden Daybook 10/19/13

I know, I know, I have not written about what is happening around the farm for a while. I have practically been living in my kitchen tending the dehydrator and the canner. The pantry shelves are better for it though. I have canned potato/bean soup, chili soup. beef stew, apple juice, applesauce, apple butter, chicken stock, beef stock, tomatoes (not many of these this year!), pears, peaches, cherries, corn, wild grape jelly, and wild grape/walnut jelly. I have dried apple slices, banana slices, celery, garlic, onions and probably a few other things I cannot bring to mind at the moment. The kitchen and I are on intimate terms.

old kitchen sink small

What I know for certain is that our kitchen needs a makeover – the main route through the kitchen takes you right through the middle of the work triangle. The flooring is worn through to the bare plywood underneath. There is a hole in the counter at the top left corner of the sink I could drop a glass through. The windows are in such poor shape we dare not open them for fear they might not close. Do not even get me started on our Jenn-Air range – it is without a doubt THE WORST appliance we have owned in 41 years of marriage. We will be spending this winter researching and planning a new kitchen! We have been cooking in our old kitchen for over 30 years (it was already 20 years old when we moved here in 1983!) – waiting for an update and this winter we will begin to make that happen. I hope you will follow along as we research and make final decisions. Stay tuned and be ready to offer suggestions – we will need all the help we can get.

fall weeds 3 small

Out in the garden the weeds are RAMPANT!! Aaraughhh! I always promise myself I will not let it happen. Yet . . . here I stand, in the middle of a garden overrun with weeds. When I say to myself “It will be fine, Fran, you have all of October to get things cleaned up” – I always seem to forget that October brings shorter days, wet, dewy mornings that make working in the garden a misery of cold, wet fingers, cooler temperatures and seasonal garden burn out.

swt pot in mound small

The chance for frost increases as we move through October and because of that it is time to dig the sweet potatoes. I allow my sweet potatoes to grow as long as possible because they put on size at the end of their growth cycle. Did you know that sweet potatoes are planted in a mound and hang down as they grow. I cut away a mound so you can see how they look as they grow.

swt pot 1 plant small

This pile of sweets grew on one plant. Not a bad haul! I will keep the sweets in room with a small space heater for about a week to cure them for storage. Next I will carefully wrap each sweet potato in sheet of newspaper and stack them in a basket. They will be stored in our basement which means they will stay about 55 degrees for the winter. After about a month in storage the sweets will be ready to eat – they sweeten up in storage.

I have also brought the houseplants, summered out in the garden, into the house for the winter. Rosemary, Sweet Bay, String of Hearts, and few others are transitioning to less light and the warmth of the kitchen. Rosemary can be tricky to overwinter. I keep mine very cool and well watered. It is true – a dry Rosemary is a dead Rosemary. Scroll back up to the first picture and you can see one of my Sweet Bay plants in its winter quarters – a cool western exposure.

I can only hope that the weather holds and I can accomplish the rest of my to-do list. When I wake in the morning I tell myself to “keep moving and what needs to be done will be done”. Clean and organize the hoop house, bring all of the garden decorations into the hoop house for the winter, cut down and weed the asparagus bed, pull out all of the tomato plants, spread compost on the raised beds, clean the chicken coop and give the back room of the coop a new roost for the young hens. That and more keep my days full. I love the physical work but there is a point when I wish for winter and less busy days. That point is creeping closer and closer. Until then “Keep moving, Fran”.

Hey from the farm,
Fran The Country Cousin

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2 comments to Garden Daybook 10/19/13

  • Debbie Venus-Fenrich

    Thanks for sharing your family recipe! Let me know if you need suggestions on your new kitchen although you probably have a library of books on kitchens! I had one (maybe still have) a book called “Building A Harvest Kitchen”. I’ve had it since the early 80’s. I do decorative painting as well that might work for the end result. :-))

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