Summer to Fall almost overnight!

apple picking

A week ago it was over 90 degrees, and now it is already cool nights and mornings, the tall grasses are turning golden colored and we have more apples than we ever have! It’s a beautiful time of year but also a reminder of all that needs to be done before the winter winds blow. These apples will become Applesauce, and we will pick more today that will either become more applesauce or dried apples, depending on how much sauce the first batch makes.

The garden is ahead of most people’s gardens, because I risked planting early, and got lucky to not have lost it all for that very reason! So while others are just hitting harvest, I am harvesting and cleaning up the garden. The pigs are enjoying the garden clean up as they have been getting a lot of things thrown their way, such as outer cabbage leaves, some collard plants that the cabbage moths finally got, and a few not so good tomatoes.

lucky pigs

I collected what might be that one of the last few batches of cherry tomatoes and made amazing tasting roasted tomatoes that I was given a recipe for by a friend. The tomatoes and garlic caramelized a bit during the cooking and they were beyond great. This is what they looked like roasting…

tomatoes cooking

tomatoes on toast

…and this is what they looked like on grilled “no knead” bread with a bit of olive oil. We are enjoying every last bite of the garden!

The days are getting noticeably shorter and the skies have been beautiful. Even last night after it rained all night, we got sunshine just before sunset.

beautiful eveing

This picture was taken a couple of days ago, the clouds were changing shape every time I took another look.

Other news on the farm…

We have a Rooster with a mean streak. After lots of observation, it was decided that this bird needed to move. Fortunately we have another run, and fortunately also Hubby is amazing and built a small coop in a couple of hours for this very naughty bird. Although separate is not equal, we have done what we can to be sure he has all needs met, (apart from terrorizing the other birds) this includes, adequate housing, a sun/shade mix and plenty of food and fresh water, and that is the best we can do for this bully rooster. When he fattens up a bit he will make a wonderful meal for us. It will be the first time we eat meat we raised ourselves and I look forward to that becoming our new way of eating. While on the topic of meat, another thing on the agenda is figuring out what our options are for our pigs. They are getting fatter as we watch! Butchering time will be between October and mid November, and I have a lot to learn about the best ways to do this. Ideally we would NOT put them live, into a truck and haul them to a butchering facility but there are so many regulations, quite understandably. I would rather they were “lights out” on the farm and then hauled as it would be much kinder to let this happen while they are in their comfortable surroundings. The truck is bound to make them anxious which is not the way I want their life to end. Anxiety and fear can release adrenaline into the meat which is not favorable to the meat at all. A friend of mine did say though that she worried about this same thing but was surprised to see her pigs happily go up the ramp into the truck. The difference in farm slaughter and facility slaughter can mean the difference in legal sale, so I may have no options but to haul them live. So let the research begin, and believe me when I say this is all new to me! Talking to other farmers, reading regulations, searching other homesteading blogs and reading through my homesteading library should equip me to handle this decision.

little ones

We now have 7 cows. Our little guy from this past Spring looks like a big guy next to this young fellow! They have been enjoying each others company and have been quite playful and amusing to watch. We purchased this new little guy and his Mama and also a bull who will hopefully take care of our three girls and yield us three calves in the late Spring. We are not sure this bull has the stature yet to achieve the task but we’ve seen him try and we know the interest is there! Hubby is working hard on fencing new areas to expand our pastures. This seems to be an endless task, seems the cattle can eat things down as fast as he builds new fence lines!

colorful

I’ve been loving the harvest in the garden. The colors are beyond vibrant and as the season winds up, I continue to find new ways to use and preserve these vegetables. I could spend hours reading recipe books, in fact I could spend more than that, there just are not the hours in the day. Keeping a balance between my business and the farm is a tight rope act, I don’t want to leave either not tended to properly.

commute

Speaking of the granola business, this is just another beautiful view on my way to bake granola. I’m feeling so lucky to have one foot in each of these worlds, both farming to feed ourselves and baking delicious, healthy organic and local granola to feed ourselves and others:)

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