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October 8, 2013

From the blog anyway…I don’t know what your weather is like gentle readers, but after the driest summer in my recent memory we now are thrown into the wettest early fall that I remember.  It’s cold too.  The wet just slows down the work, and when we get a dry day it’s hard to know where to start.  It reminds me of that blank feeling you have when the first fall rain comes and you try to think of everything that has been left out and needs putting away.

So here is an update of sorts of what has been going on around the farmstead this past week.

STOP Winter!

STOP Winter!

While that cutie is squirreling away nuts for the winter, we’ve (meaning Hangdog) been shoring up gates due to deer damage and just general age and overuse.  I know exactly how those gates feel. 😉

Chestnut coppice for gate repair

Chestnut coppice for gate repair

Chestnut leaves for fodder

Chestnut leaves for fodder

Chestnut,  hazel, or vine maple work great for gates, but the chestnut was handier, so chestnut it is.

T shirt weather

I can’t remember how long it’s been since this gate was repaired/refurbished but the one I blogged about here, got spruced up a bit too.   Five years isn’t too bad considering the abuse these gates take, and all you  need to fix them is a few more sticks and some staples.  These wire gates are the only gates we have that don’t fight the snow, that ‘s why I like them.  Easy to open and close no matter what the weather.  No shovel required.

Final row dug!

Final row dug! Purple Viking – my favorite

So while the gates were getting gussied up I finished digging the potatoes this past weekend.  The soil was still a little wet, but the job had to be done.  I still haven’t finished sorting and weighing so expect a potato post soon.

My fashion statement!

My fashion statement!

Today, I’m back in rain gear for chores.  Sure makes the cows goofy and building fence a pain – fumbling around for my fence hammer that fits best in the back pocket of my jeans.  Today feels cold though, I didn’t mind the rain gear at all and was glad to stay dry, since it didn’t seem like there was a let up in the showers.  But building fence in the rain is nothing like milking a wet cow, so I take my blessings where I can find them and resign myself to the fact that I will have to use the sweat scraper on Jane.  Squirt, squirt, drip.  The squirts signifying milk in the pail, and drip is the rain water off of Jane’s hide going down my neck.  Sigh.

Rain gear is also nice for vegetable digging chores…you stay cleaner and drier because there is no getting around the dirt mud and wet.

Muddy roots

Muddy roots

In no particular order:  Napoli and Chantenay carrots, Gilfeather and Joan rutabagas, Brilliant celeriac and Turga and Half-long Guernsey parsnips.


I’m sensing a cold weather theme here for chores and in the kitchen.  Looks like roasted roots tonight!



17 Comments leave one →
  1. Louise permalink
    October 8, 2013 2:28 pm

    As the weather sails on east, I get some of your leftover moisture. Am now above the total years average, after Several years well under. Thanks

  2. Chris permalink
    October 8, 2013 4:20 pm

    Was wondering if you could re-blog the blog (was that redundant)? about the chestnut tree and all it’s wonderful uses as the photos don’t show up going to it from this blog…would love to see those gates and all the other fine things those mighty chestnuts grace you with! 🙂

    • October 8, 2013 8:10 pm

      Chris, do you think it’s because you’re getting via email or feed? What if you copy and paste that link in another tab? Will that work?

  3. October 9, 2013 2:33 am

    Eat much chestnuts? I got me some of this bred 15/16ths stuff. I real proud of myself. Gonna plant it out in spring and get a jump on everybody w/some blight resistant american stock. I pulled these seeds off of a 4 year old tree that was in a test plot and was 20 foot high, they’d inoculated it w/the blight and the canker had healed over real nice.

    • October 9, 2013 5:22 am

      Eumaeus, yes we do! Delicious! Good job on the seeds, chestnuts need to be planted more, I think… . I like how the chestnut story is so prominent in Prodigal Summer. Good article in the recent Acres too.

  4. October 9, 2013 2:49 am

    How do you store your root crops for the winter? Or do you just eat them all up quickly (burp)? Have you ever tried storing in a bucket of wet sand?

    • October 9, 2013 5:16 am

      Amy, read the post before this one about the milk cow’s “garden.” We store them in the ground because we don’t get deep freezes here due to the proximity of Pacific Ocean. We do have to deal with voles though that may eat some, but we grow too many (about a 1000 row feet) to store in buckets. A friend though just told me they pulled all theirs and stored them in soil/sand in coolers. I think the bucket idea is a good one if you need to keep them from freezing or from getting eaten by pests. Luckily I don’t have that problem, and can dig roots weekly or as needed throughout the winter.

      • October 9, 2013 5:32 am

        We have the big freeze every year near enough and we can have lots of snow on the ground for the whole winter, so we dig up our roots. Last year we stored ours in sawdust, which worked really well. It is lighter than the sand and the carrots and beets kept well. Those odd ones that didn’t keep rotted, but the moisture was absorbed by the sawdust and didn’t affect the rest of the carrots around them. Worked a treat!

  5. October 10, 2013 7:09 am

    Reminds me that I need to fix my wire gaps over the creek beds before we get rain.

  6. Chris permalink
    October 10, 2013 8:35 am

    I’m really not sure how to do any of that Nita! Would it be possible for you to send it to my e-mail address? If not, I guess I could go back through the archives and possibly see it that way…What month, year was it?

    • October 10, 2013 8:44 am

      Chris, it was actually August 8, 2008, 8-8-08, so you should be able to go to the archives and find it there. I don’t think the photos are too good though…

  7. Chris permalink
    October 10, 2013 12:20 pm

    I found it and do remember reading it when we were talking about chestnuts last year…which reminds me…I need to get a couple from Raintree to plant…probably won’t be around to see them mature but some folks will! 🙂

  8. October 15, 2013 5:24 am

    What rain gear are you using and do you like it? We’ve gone through more rain gear than you can imagine. It tears, it doesn’t keep out rain, we sweat like maniacs, and sadly, all made in China. Have you found something decent?

    • October 16, 2013 7:15 am

      Tara, can’t help you on the sweating :p Most of the time I really prefer to just get wet and go from there. But I have an old pair of Carhartt bibs that I used when I did nursery propagation here, raingear was mandatory then, since I was always working with water, of course in the rawest months of the year too, after fall rains started and before spring bud break. I froze my …fingers off. Those bibs have actually held up pretty well, except when I am near barb wire, but that can’t be blamed on the clothing.

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