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Typical Fall Tasks

September 19, 2012

Now it’s our turn for heat and dry conditions.  The worst thing about this time of year is the fear of forest fires.  The air is heavy with smoke from several fires burning right now in eastern Oregon.  The smell is unsettling, you don’t know how close the fire could really be and the worry is always there in the back of your mind.  Historically some really bad fires have roared through this area in the fall.  Everything is tinder dry and conifers are full of pitch.

Falls Fire – October 1991

The last fire that came close to here was in 1991.  Called the Falls Fire because the lodge at Multnomah Falls was threatened, it made a lasting scar on the landscape on the Columbia Gorge hiking trails.  It’s funny looking back at these photos and seeing that the field just west of the house was worked up giving us a place to park equipment.  A ready-made fire line.  What’s even funnier is thinking back to all the time I spent on that little D2 cat discing the crap out of that pasture!  If I only knew then what I know now about making good pasture…sigh.

Falls Fire – October 1991

This was also when we discovered that the cows wouldn’t drink treated water.  All available heavy equipment and fire tankers were at the ready and we filled a trough from the tanker for the cows since we had them locked up in this pasture.  They refused to drink for two days and then finally had to give up their water boycott.  They realized they weren’t going to the springs anytime soon and we were feeding them hay so they were very thirsty.

Witching helpers

But despite the smokiness and worry, fall marches on.  Jobs that are nicer to do when it is dry need to get done.  Like finding a waterline that we were just sure was over here…thank heavens for dowsing.

Pullet triple play

Fall also means pullet eggs.  It’s always exciting to find the first egg, and then watch the double and once-in-awhile triple yolker appear in the breakfast pan!

2011 Sweet Meat – September 2012

Another fall task is cleaning out the old and making way for the new.  Winter squash we didn’t eat and won’t.  Now you can see why I say the Sweet Meat winter squash should be on the homesteaders seed list.  What’s not to like about a squash that keeps for a year with no fuss until you’re ready to eat it?  The hens are enjoying these and making that squash into eggs.

Lawn mower

How’s fall shaping up for you?

21 Comments leave one →
  1. September 19, 2012 8:26 am

    No fire risk. Lots of work though. Getting in the fall garden, composting horse manure, peddling those pullet eggs, picking apples, putting up applesauce, apple butter, apple pie in a jar, collecting nuts, planning next year’s garden, composting, composting and composting, wrapping up broiler production and pig production, and have a long list of honey-do tasks ahead of me. Ugh.

    • September 19, 2012 12:13 pm

      HFS, what would you guys do without a honey-do list? Don’t answer that!! You do sound busy, and adding more milking chores to the mix too!

  2. September 19, 2012 9:19 am

    We’ve been smelling and seeing the smoke from fires here too. It IS very unsettling. Praying for rain to come soon….everything is so dry! I’m going to have to add those squash seeds to my list. 🙂 Thanks for the tip. 🙂

    • September 19, 2012 12:12 pm

      Valerie, well we finally have some onshore flow this morning, started out smoky but now the cool, Pacific air is here! Thank heavens!

  3. September 19, 2012 11:59 am

    Nice eggs,beautiful color on them.
    It has been the driest year here since 1963,thanks heavens for the much needed rain heading our way tonight.
    We have been getting the freezers full,tomorrow is apple pie/chicken pot pie freezing day.
    Hope all has been well with your sweet Jane.

    • September 19, 2012 12:11 pm

      farmer, thanks! I think the steady supply of garden goods, and house compost stuff keeps the hens in pretty good shape even though I do have to confine them.

      It’s been drier here but not a whole lot. 😦

      I’m moving into the fruit realm myself, things are starting to ripen 🙂

      Jane is doing well, looking like she is bred back and generally just being a good girl!

  4. Charlton Estate Trust permalink
    September 19, 2012 2:21 pm

    Triple yolker! I am impressed 🙂

  5. September 19, 2012 2:23 pm

    Much like you, we’ve been experiencing a warm, dry September. Forest fires are a worry here on the Island, but more so an hour or so up from me, where the big timber stands and crown land are. Here, we might get a brush fire and there’s been a couple of grass fires, but quickly dealt with. Crossing our fingers everyone gets through this season safely.

    Fall tasks? I’m a little behind the rest of you – last batch of broilers will be “done” next week, I’m expecting pullet eggs toward the end of October, and have yet to pull my potatoes out of the ground, let alone get a fall garden planted – the rate I’m going I’ll be doing well if I get the garlic in. My neighbour will trade me winter squash for my spent hens, which he uses for dog food (I keep half for myself, but there’s plenty to spare), and I’m always very thankful for those squash. Pears are dropping, need to be canned, ditto applesauce, dried apple rings, fruit leather, and walnuts will be ready soon. I did get some herbs dried – lovage and rosemary mainly, and my husband made and froze about 1/2 dozen small tubs of pesto…yum.

  6. Bev permalink
    September 19, 2012 3:44 pm

    We spent a month here in Scott Valley, Siskiyou County, CA contending with lots of smoke. With containment we are back to a blue sky. Still dry and yesterday a new fire. Most things in the garden are pretty much stocked away. Enjoying a second crop of green beans. Time for the manure detail and the tilling. It is nice when the snow lays on the garden and we know it is resting and building nutrients for springtime. Our firewood is ready, too. Just hoping for have some nice days before winter gets here. There is nothing like fresh eggs!

  7. Christie permalink
    September 19, 2012 4:05 pm

    A triple yolker – AMAZING! And I will send good thoughts your way re: no wildfires. I was out in Colorado over the summer when both the Fort Collins blaze and small Boulder fire were burning. Every night when the wind shifted back up the slopes, it reeked of campfire. At first, a nice smell conjuring up memories of camping trips… until you remember where it’s coming from and you can’t escape it.

  8. September 19, 2012 6:10 pm

    Ah yes, well all of the above, I have help coming for a week so i really must make that list, but it seems to write itself.. the work just marches on like a benevolent elephant, plod plod plod, but it is good work.. c

  9. September 19, 2012 8:42 pm

    Now I have egg envy. Our September is like yours, weather-wise. I missed summer and am loving it…..

  10. September 23, 2012 9:07 pm

    I am just getting into winter squash and was wondering what the relative storage times of the different types are?

    Fall tasks are finishing clearing out the tomatoes, sorting out the new strawberry bed, harvesting Amaranth and Quinoa, Collecting the beans and buckwheat.

    • September 24, 2012 5:11 am

      Joanna, as a general rule C. maxima and C. moschata keep longer than C. pepo types like the acorns and pumpkins. And a lot depends on the curing and subsequent storage area too. Cool and dry is the key for storage. And I have never found it necessary to do the bleach wipe thing that you hear about so frequently. I brush off the dirt, cure, store.

  11. September 27, 2012 7:14 am

    Nicely done on the sweet meats! I was so sick of eating squash by spring that we sold the last few at the market in May, people were quite excited to be buying squash at the farmers market in May to my surprise!

    • September 27, 2012 7:51 am

      Ben, I could have cooked them for the dogs, but the chickens are really liking pecking away at them! Much easier for me the lazy homesteader 🙂

  12. October 24, 2012 2:26 pm

    *faints with delight upon seeing a triple yolk egg* Been a long time since I’ve been on the blogs, and of course had to stop by and visit yours. Glad to get caught up on your corner of the world. I send happy thoughts and give a wave to the south of I-84 hopefully in your general direction whenever I pass through the Gorge. Now I’m going to go get out a skillet and satisfy my egg craving! 🙂

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