Garden Daybook 11/14/13

first snow sm

Our local weatherman, Dick Goddard, predicted an early winter followed by an early spring. As you can see, early winter is here. Snow fell in the still night air and silently lined every branch and plant. I woke in the darkness of very early morning and heard the snow plow scrape by – a sound that makes me snuggle down into the comforter with the feeling that all is well. By tomorrow the snow will be melted and we will sink into mud until the next freeze. We have been anticipating the cold and finishing up our fall chores . . . .

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We were just about out of firewood until a friend called to offer us several trees he had taken down. Greg and Nick split the wood and added it to the growing stack of wood brought up from our woods. Then, we decided that a huge maple next to the house had to come down before winter. It’s a sad day when we make the decision to remove one of our huge maples but this one was leaning toward the house and over half of it’s big branches were dead.

huge maple down sm

The tree service brought their cherry picker and safely took out the huge dead branches and then dropped the trunk. The earth shook when that trunk hit the ground! They cut the trunk into 16 inch lengths and left us to our work of splitting the chunks into stove size pieces. The cut trunk was a little over three feet across so those 16 inch lengths were formidable. Thankfully, our neighbor loaned us his gas powered wood splitter. We worked for a week splitting and stacking the wood. Payment for the loan of the splitter = a few truck loads of wood. I think we got the better part of the deal.

bagged leaves small

Greg has been cleaning up the fallen leaves. He chops the leaves with the mower and collects them into big garbage bags. We collect the bags along the fence in the vegetable garden for next summer’s mulch. The raised beds also get a fall layer of chopped leaves to enrich the soil and keep the worms happy. I have to be careful when I move the bags in the spring because garden snakes love the warmth of the leaves and curl up between the bags. Yikes! is always my first reaction then I calm down and carefully remove them to a safe spot. I used to have a small snake that lived in the stone wall in my front garden. He would stretch out and watch me with his little black eyes and we would have conversations while I weeded.

vodka preplant smgarlic soaking preplant sm

Does anyone else use vodka in the garden? Notice I did not say drink vodka in the garden – I said use vodka in the garden. I presoaked my garlic in an overnight preplant soak of 1 tablespoon baking soda and 1 tablespoon liquid seaweed in one gallon of water. The next morning I drained it and soaked it for 4 minutes in Vodka. These soaks are supposed to control mites (the vodka) and fungal problems (the baking soda/seaweed soak). So – the garlic is soaked, planted, and mulched. I can’t wait to see how it grows next spring.

The chicken coop is clean and the water heater is plugged in so the hens will have fresh water even on the coldest days. Six roosters and one old hen have gone into my stock pots and I have added 28 quarts of chicken soup to the pantry. Here is the beautiful Barred Rock rooster we chose to keep. He is tame and treats his “girls” nicely. Now that all the other roosters are gone the coop feels peaceful. The hens are calmer and are laying more eggs.

barred rock rooster sm

We are so ready for a winter break. There is still a bit of garden work to do but if hard winter comes early we are ready.

Hey from the farm,
Fran The Country Cousin

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2 comments to Garden Daybook 11/14/13

  • Debbie Venus-Fenrich

    Fran, what a beautiful description of life on the farm! Your rooster is magnificent! Your pantry must be a great feeling with all that you’ve preserved. I never heard of the vodka trick, as you are full of great tricks! I already planted mine and they are sprouted up in little rows in my raised beds. I have them mulched with straw but may add another layer of leaves. Litchfield has a new vegetable market. It is on route 18 towards Medina and is in the old tack shop. I mentioned to them about you. They are getting wares etc. from local farmers/artist etc. They have a wonderful lady (in her 80’s)whom I can’t remember her name bring her maple syrup, and beautiful paintings that would make wonderful gifts. They have homemade breads, pies and pastries all using organic ingredients as well as noodles, and soaps. Now they have an abundance of fall produce.They are trying to bring locals together for a learning center. I’ve been told Mendal farms on Smith road sell organic grain. I maybe checking in with them to see about their wheat for grinding. However, I want to be sure it is clean so it won’t hurt my Nutri-grain mill. I have been paying a little over $8 per 5#’s for my organic flour from Eden foods. It is the shipping charges that are killing me as it doubles the cost they charge per bag. I love my mill and bread maker which now with the new pan is performing wonderfully!
    Thanks for all your information and inspirational ideas! Maybe you could also share your talents at the market. They are very open to all information. The owners live on Bryton road just outside of Litchfield and have been using the tattler lids now for awhile. Kindred souls.

    • OMGoodness1 I am interested in the new vegetable market – especially the “learning center”. Do you know their open hours? I love to hear about “kindred souls”. It feels good to talk to others that are trying to do the same things we are. I am interested in local maple syrup and local honey.
      I am glad you enjoy my posts – I work hard on them and try to choose what to write about carefully.
      Speaking of our rooster- he is such a sweetie. Now that all the other roosters are soup and we have only one rooster the coop is so calm – the hens are quieter – less to feed – less poop to scrape! Yay!
      I think we are at about the same point as you with our chimney – I wanted to replace the old stainless steel liner when we put in the new stove but Greg insists that the old one is fine so . . . I just started some lettuce seeds in the basement – they have germinated and I will grow them under a fluorescent light. I love greens in the winter!
      Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

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