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Wood ‘n Apples – Fall Dispatch

October 9, 2012

Wooden you know, it’s that time of year again; hauling in seasoned firewood and not wanting to use it, and waiting for the late apples to ripen.  It’s a stupendous year for fruit, epic, you might say.  Oddly no yellow jackets, and hardly any deer…hmmm.  No shortage of lurking deer hunters, though.  A daily head count is in order in the cow department.  We had our annual vet visit last weekend and the little boys are now officially steers.  They are stepping a little gingerly these days, so I don’t have to worry about them creep feeding themselves right into a hunter’s sights.  Mama is a great comfort to them and they are actually staying in their designated paddocks.


The division of work on the woodpile is as follows – Hangdog and Ruthless split and haul the wood to the house, and I stack it in the basement or woodshed.  I’m the keeper of the wood pantry, too.  Some wood is hot and some is warm; no point in wasting hot wood when it’s not really very cold, so once it makes it back to the house, I am the one to do the sorting.

Another division of labor thing, is that Hangdog does all the heavy equipment stuff.  If it looks like I’m standing there with my hands on my hips telling him what to do, that is an accurate picture.  I’m having him push out brush and blackberries in an old orchard.  He’s pretty good with plants, but he hates hearing about killing the wrong thing.  It’s just easier this way.  Sometimes it gets a little too literal though.

Conversation after his recent jaunt with the hog mower.

Me:  “Did you mow down any of my electric fence?”  (This is after cringing every time I hear the mower bog down off in the distance…)

Him:  “No.”

Me:  “Okay.”

Two weeks later when I happen to walk by that section of pasture and see, of course, (slaps head) he didn’t hog mow it!  He pushed it all out with the cat a week before he ever thought of hog mowing in that area!  But, in his “defence”, the fence in question is always needing fixing anyway since that is where the deer and elk have their major trail from the canyon.  I have to repair it a lot.  What’s one more time?

Needless to say, he wasn’t touching the orchard with the blade and chainsaw until I was right there acting like a tree hugger.

NOT sorry to see the blackberries go.  I’m reseeding this area this week with a pasture mix and some old oat seed that I need to get rid of.  We are finally supposed to get rain this coming weekend, making it a perfect time to reclaim this area with some daylight and fresh seed.

That marks off a couple of things on the dry weather list, three more days of dry to cram in some cover cropping, soil amending, seed gathering and prune picking.  How is your fall going?

Northern Spy

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24 Comments leave one →
  1. Kristin permalink
    October 9, 2012 8:22 am

    You own a bull dozer?

    • October 9, 2012 8:27 am

      Kristin, yeah, rust, rot and depreciate…but when you need one, you need one. It’s for logging, and we have mostly forest, not pasture so it comes in very handy. We’ve had it for ages, purchased used when a dealership was going out of business.

      • Kristin permalink
        October 9, 2012 1:44 pm

        We have mostly forest, not pasture and we don’t own a dozer. Don’t even try and rationalize this one. I’m on to you. And you have sheep too! 😉

        • October 9, 2012 6:57 pm

          Kristin, lets see…the sheep eat lots of weeds?? And our trees are big… . The drum on the back is worth its weight in gold, can’t count how many times its pulled something out of a bind. Like my pickup in a snowbank 😉

          Actually they are pretty good for building fire lines, etc too 🙂

  2. October 9, 2012 8:25 am

    This fall has been great! I didn’t water the garden this summer, so there hasn’t been as much weeding, the yields are lower, but as many plates as we have in the air right now, I’ll take the trade off. That and we’ve gleaned TONS of foods. About #400 of apples, for one. We are also rushing to get some cover seed down, as well as the fall garlic in before the rain they are promising on Friday. Although I am not looking forward to swapping out my slip on’s for mud boots, winter does have to come…

    I heard today that they are predicting a dry warm winter, would you agree with the ‘experts’? I am kind of hoping for a good cold wet one…

    • October 9, 2012 8:40 am

      Adalyn, I haven’t hardly put on my rubber boots at all. Love, love, love wearing Romeos for chores 😀

      I’ve heard predictions all over the map. I don’t want too cold, but wet would be OK, dry winters are hard on this side of the Cascades. We need 6″ of rain to recharge our spring, sometimes that takes until December 😦 Or sometimes it takes a week 🙂

      • adalynfarm permalink
        October 9, 2012 8:51 am

        I guess I’m just not looking forward to the mud. Our place wets up really quickly with just a little rain, but it’s a dream when it’s froze up good. I’d be good with a week of heavy rain, and then warmer and dry till Turkey Day. Would that work for you? 🙂

        • October 9, 2012 8:54 am

          Perfect! We don’t really have too much mud to deal with, (loving that well-drained soil) so I forget others aren’t so lucky 🙂

      • October 9, 2012 8:54 am

        You can have our rain if you like, we have a lake where there should be no lake. Probably a blocked land drain and usually floods in Spring and Autumn but later than this. I hope that it freezes first to firm up the ground and then a moderate snow fall. Just enough to make it look pretty and let us do some cross country skiing and make sure the water level is high enough in Spring. After that blue skies will be fine all winter 😀

  3. houseofhalfdone permalink
    October 9, 2012 8:46 am

    Your blog always make me marvel at how much in the world I know nothing about. How do you tell warm wood vs. hot wood? Is it by species, or is it something else?

    • October 9, 2012 9:01 am

      HOHD, LOL, we do speak a different language here in the woods. Somtimes a passport is needed 🙂 Our predominate tree is Douglas Fir, and the best (most heat) wood is from trees that were brought down live. The sap is still up and it burns really well. What we burn mostly though is dead or dying trees, they are sick and lifeless (little or no sap) by the time we get to them, and they provide moderate heat. And the wood looks different too, the wood in the pickup is a from a old dead buckskin, not too hot, not too cold but just right! My favorite 🙂

  4. Lyelle Perschino permalink
    October 9, 2012 9:39 am

    We lit the back up stove for the first time night before last. It has been coldish and wet here and since we live in a log cabin, once the outside cools off, the logs do too. My Dh always waits to light the main stove (Flame View) until it stays consistently cold. Here we burn dead fall too, along with oak, hickory, poplar and some pine. We use the poplar and pine to get a good, hot, quick fire going for the cook stove. O love fall! We are “supposed” to have a bitter cold winter with lots of precep. in the form of….ICE! Heaven help us…

    • October 9, 2012 9:44 am

      Lyelle, I don’t like ice! It’s still pretty warm here, mid 70’s during the day and right around 38 at night. Not too bad, and once the rain starts it will actually be warmer at night but damp 😦

      I’m still holding off on starting a fire, but it won’t be long, we had beef stew for dinner last night and it was nice to have some cooler weather fare.

  5. October 9, 2012 12:09 pm

    I’m up by Seattle and I have heard weather predictions that seem to contradict for the winter. I would love warm and wet – that’s my perfect “normal” winter here. I DON’T want another Snopocalypse like last January! Too much ice and not enough flat land around here.

    I’m foraging for apples in nearby yards and putting up a new rabbit hutch for the meat rabbits. It’s a busy fall but the sun has been nice. Supposed to rain now all through friday – Monday. I’m taking predictions on how many accidents will happen on 1-5 b/c of the 90 day buildup of oil and gas on the roadway. Oil and gas buildup+instant rain+ stupid drivers = crazy town!

    You’re lucky your commute is through forest on trails, not by interstate!

  6. October 9, 2012 6:30 pm

    Thankfully it has been snowing a bit and freezing hard here in eastern Wyoming. Not something you usually say yeah about this time of year but Blue Tongue or EHD is plagueing our deer, killing hundreds of them along with brutally killing my favorite yak, Jasmine. It is spread by midge flies and hard frosts take care of them. Is EHD a problem in your area yet? It kills cattle too.

    As for wood, we still need to get some and like you, we put off starting a fire until we absolutely have to. Trees are far and few inbetween on the prarie and so we need to find some hours away and haul it in. We’ve used a little electricity in a couple rooms of the house now and then but mainly we just wear warm sweatshirts. We could sure use a wet winter for we’ve had drought conditions for over 8 years. The 300 foot water wells are running low.

    • October 9, 2012 6:53 pm

      Holly, no Blue Tongue here thank heavens! Sorry about Jasmine 😦

      Hoping the drought ends for you guys this year, low water tables are pretty scary!

      • October 10, 2012 5:24 pm

        My son found a doe in the woods when I was sawing this week. Blue tongue. Hopefully the recent frost will bring that to a close for the year.

  7. October 9, 2012 6:36 pm

    It’s mild here. Rain in the forecast, but just a sprinkle. I am hoping for a wet winter. We don’t get ice or snow, but it gets “cold” enough.
    I just commented really to say, those apples are making my mouth water!

  8. Mich permalink
    October 10, 2012 3:20 am

    Its mild here in central UK but we have had alot of rain & the ground is sodden 😦 On the farm the oilseed rape is in but too wet to get on the ground to put in the wheat.
    In the garden Im still harvesting beans, courgettes & beets…have the overwintering onions in but not the garlic….yet.
    Lots of cooking apples by the house but the main orchard got hit by the deer so not much fruit there.

  9. October 10, 2012 5:25 pm

    I’m too busy to write about it. One heck of a vacation I’m taking this week…

  10. Kay permalink
    October 11, 2012 12:32 am

    Do you spray your fruit tress w/ anything to prevent worms? Just curious. The fruit from my trees always seem to have so many worms in them.

    • October 11, 2012 5:22 am

      Kay, we don’t, and some varieties are just more susceptible. Some always have worms and some never do. Some years none of them have any signs of disease. If you’re looking to plant new trees, look for varieties suited for organic production,many require little or no spraying. 🙂

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