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The Shadow Knows

September 4, 2014
"Pick me something"

“Pick me something”

The phenological fall on the farm arrives much earlier than the school calendar we are all too familiar with.  For weeks now we have been watching the bird species shift and the full-time farm inhabitants fall into full harvest mode.  Squirrels are squirreling, and the woodpeckers are pecking.  One time chores are getting crossed off the list as the days tick away.

The hens got the last of the winter squash stored from last year, our new crop looks to be stupendous, or if not stupendous, at least ample.

The ravens are present in the morning at second chore to wait for eggs, they know I found the first pullet egg four days ago, and am training the pullets to the nest boxes.

The potatoes are harvested and the deer netting is on the carrots.

The calves are cudding to beat the band.

The corn is inching towards ripening, cool mountain nights really make growing sweet corn a challenge.  Heat units are everything and we don’t really have them.  Going on 90 days with 67 day corn… .

The dry beans are drying.


bees borage in the pot, nine days old 😉 Old farmer’s mondegreen

The winter root crops are swelling.

Onions drying down in the greenhouse and in the barn.

“Don’t go sun!  We love you so!”

25 Comments leave one →
  1. Theresa of CopperBounty Ranch permalink
    September 4, 2014 8:43 am

    I’m looking; I’m reading; I’m smiling.
    Thank you MOH.

  2. September 4, 2014 8:44 am

    Pullet eggs? Shoot. I haven’t been looking. And they are out in the tall weeds…

  3. September 4, 2014 8:52 am

    Oh, come to think of it. I have tried your Sweat Meat Squashes this year with good results. Now I’m wondering when to pull them from the vine, and what type of recipes? Do they need to age in the house before using?

    Also, my second year trying heirloom tomato variety ” silvery fir tree”. I have had “stupendous” bounty from this variety, while growing 3 other determinate heirloom types along side they cannot compete. Silvery fir tree is known for setting fruit at low temps.
    I’m growing outside on agri black plastic mulch with very good success . Remember I’m 5 hrs north of Edmonton Alberta Canada, where we have had frosts as late as June 14, and early as Aug 21 this year. Grrrr.

    • September 4, 2014 9:12 am

      Don’t bring them in until they turn from green to gray, and a white spot appears on the bottmom. They should be cured at room temperature and then moved to cool storage for the winter. Any recipe calling for pumpkin is perfect for them, we like savory or sweet 🙂

      Interesting about Silvery Fir Tree, I think I may add it to my list. My girlfriend and I are cooking and tasting tomatoes like crazy and comparing notes while canning into the night 🙂 Such fun fall is!

    • September 4, 2014 10:56 am

      Five hours north of Edmonton? As in Ft. Mac or High Level 😊 My kids lived in the former, I grew up in the latter.

  4. Bev permalink
    September 4, 2014 9:01 am

    Oh yes, the clock is ticking. What to do first This a.m. it was 38 degrees. Thankfully it is supposed to warm up the rest of the week. We have some beautiful ambrosia melons almost ready. Fantastic onion crop. Looking forward to your results on your Flint Corn. Today is clear, the wind shifted the smoke from our 65,000 acre wildfire to the west. Don’t want winter yet, but know the fires won’t quit till we get some major rain. On our list for today, run the wood splitter.

  5. September 4, 2014 9:02 am

    I did a phenology report today. Not as serious as yours though, which is just lovely.

  6. Jenna permalink
    September 4, 2014 9:09 am

    I have what sounds like a simple question, but is probably not so simple… how do you keep grass from growing between your crops?!?! Your rows always look so pretty.

    • September 4, 2014 9:14 am

      It’s called the Santa Claus method…Hoe, Hoe, Hoe! Actually we try to get rid of the grass for annual crops before using that ground for gardening, bare fallow and cover crops for a growing season help immensely.

  7. September 4, 2014 9:15 am

    Beautiful Captures – love the calves and the sunflower 🙂 Happy Day!

  8. September 4, 2014 9:40 am

    Your lovely photos capture the changing of the season so well. Love Jane’s l-o-n-g shadow!

  9. September 4, 2014 12:59 pm

    Here in Australia I’m planting summer crops. My tomato seedlings are still in the greenhouse and I’m looking forward to warmer days. Where I live we have fairly mild winters( no snow) Today I hope to get some more seeds started. I love your Santa Claus method:)
    Hope the sun stays a little longer for you!

    • CassieOz permalink
      September 4, 2014 5:11 pm

      Melissa, my tomato seedlings are struggling to first true leaves only. We will have frost until mid November so they have plenty of time until I have to put them in the ground (initially under grow cover). The ground is still too cold here to plant much at all but I’ve had my seed catalogue orgy and my planting plan is nearly upto scratch. I want to experiment with making seed tape this year, to see if I can get swedes and parsnips better spaced and reduce the thinning (which I know I can’t leave to DH anyway and he has to be the ‘gardener’ this year).

      I just love looking at the bounty in Matron’s photos. There can never be too many pictures of all that wonderful growth and food.

  10. September 4, 2014 4:40 pm

    Lovely post! I love Autumn but there is a part of every gardener who hates to see summer leave…there’s always a chore left undone until next year…Cheers!

  11. Stumplifter (Andrea) permalink
    September 4, 2014 7:08 pm

    As we start our final journey towards selling our house and finding our farm, I view my little 1/5 acre urban homestead and pictures of your beautiful rural holdings with wistful anticipation. I am finally at the point in my life where seasons truly mark my time here more than any other means of measure. I love this little place and have so vastly outgrown it in my desire to do more and love more land. MOH, I turn to your musings and draw such strength and inspiration in witnessing what is possible. I know that I am headed in the right direction as my biggest dreams in life involve a team of oxen, an expanding apiary and hundred foot rows of vegetables. Look out homestead, here I come!

  12. Barb in CA permalink
    September 5, 2014 1:25 pm

    The row between the carrots and the potato beds… parsley? Celeriac? I’m totally guessing. Can you tell? : )

    • September 5, 2014 2:40 pm

      It’s Jane’s parsnips, those are her carrots too, scroll on down and in the photo above the onions the real dark row is the celeriac. “Our” carrots are in the photo as well but don’t show as well, although Jane is much more interested in that corn patch right now! It’s hard to get a photo of either garden in their entirety.
      Picture this row setup:
      dry beans
      dry beans
      lima beans
      winter squash

  13. trish permalink
    September 5, 2014 2:11 pm

    “The Shadow knows”… seems so ominous. Here in Alaska, we had a week of frosts and it was down to 25 two nights ago so the garden has come to a crash. Its always a shock to me to go from full garden bounty to a couple nights of frantic harvests and covering everything tight under row covers resulting in the end of the garden glory. I think that’s why I get more satisfaction from raising animals- they don’t turn black and curl up when it frosts (or snows!), and they last so much longer. The garden seems to be 6 months of winter dreaming, three months of actual planning and starting seeds, for 3 months of life. Love your photos.

    • September 5, 2014 2:33 pm

      Ugh, I have to say I hear ya on that. Even with our long growing season we still get caught unprepared sometimes, and it’s so fast and deadly. Mush by morning 😦

    • reneeliamrhys permalink
      September 9, 2014 7:29 pm

      Your description of how the garden comes crashing to a close is very poetic . Not nice but a season end finality. Ours is starting with bees coming to the new lavender flower heads 🙂

  14. September 5, 2014 2:33 pm

    Beautiful, Nina. Just after sunrise I picked a posy of calendulas, nasturtiums and borage. I’m having visitors for morning tea today and when I look at that posy, I’m sure I’ll think of you and your phenological changes. xx

  15. September 8, 2014 3:49 am

    Those are some beautiful photos. Just saying.

  16. reneeliamrhys permalink
    September 9, 2014 7:33 pm

    Lots of very beautifully captured images showing the essence of your homestead life….my favourite is the borage. I really must plant some. It’s colour is so intense!
    Alexa a Simple Life
    from Sydney, Australia

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