Friday, October 28, 2016

Po-tA-to, po-tah-to....

I finished digging up the rest of the potatoes today and there were loads of them.
Thank goodness for littles who like to kneel down and pick up spuds!  The grands were a great help.  I'm guessing we dug up 50+ pounds of potatoes today, adding that to about 25 pounds previously dug.  I'm happy with it, especially in a dry year.  One thing I'm a bit frustrated with though is the scabbing that happened on them.  At first I thought it might be due to some insects or maybe pill bugs (roly poly bugs), but upon further research, I have come to find out that it's a bacteria that happens on tubers when the pH is too high or when watering isn't sufficient or is applied at the wrong time.  There are also potato varieties that are more prone to potato scab than others.  So now I'm armed for next year's planting with more information.  As I've said before, every year is an experiment in the garden.  Just when you think you've got it figured out, you find another twist in the garden variables that you didn't reckon for.

 Letting the freshly dug spuds dry for a few hours in the sunshine.
 Do you see the scabbing?  
I noticed it more on the red potatoes than the white, but the white had it too.
I also noticed that the smaller spuds didn't seem to have as much scabbing.  Perhaps they got more water at the particular time they were setting on?  I'm not sure.  The good news is that the scab doesn't affect the edibleness of the spuds.  They won't win any awards at the fair and won't bring prime dollar at the farmer's market, but we'll give thanks and eat them up gladly!  I have to say, there's really nothing like a homegrown potato! 

Next year's pre-planting chores:

*  Test the soil.  pH should be 5 or 5.2  No higher.  Add sulfur to decrease pH.
* Choose scab resistant varieties:  Chieftan, Netted Gem, Nooksak, Norgold, Norland, Russet        Burbank, Russet Rural, Superior, Viking.
*  Water well especially during bloom time when potatoes are setting.
*Consider a new plot (?)

One more thing I wish to share with you.  Since I do the "No Dig Method" of potato planting, I've also been looking at the "No Dig(Till) Garden method.  Basically, you smother grass and weeds with a good layer of compost or use heavy carpet or other stuff to suffocate the grass.  Instead of tilling, you apply a thick layer of compost or well-rotted manure on top of the soil and plant.  I'll leave a couple links for you to explore if you're interested.  This fall I dumped my raised beds and added more rotted manure to my fenced-in garden.  In our dry climate, I have found that the ground beds seem to hold moisture better than the raised beds.  I didn't till the garden because the tiller quit me.  It needs a carburetor.  It turns out to be a blessing -- I will try the no-till method instead!  Less work!

All that's left standing in the gardens are the asparagus, parsley, and a few short lettuce plants.  I think I'll dig the lettuce up and bring it indoors for a mini-salad garden under grow-lights.  I've ordered a few lettuce seeds to plant indoors for winter.  Another experiment!  I did cut a gob of parsley yesterday and I'm drying it on the dining table.  It really does taste better than the dry, powdery stuff you buy at the store.  It's SO green!  And delicious!

Thanks for stopping by!

No Dig Abundance, Charles Dowding
No Dig Organic Gardening

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Hallelujah carrot....

 I've pulled up all the carrots, washed and bagged them up for the garage refrigerator.  I always like seeing what kinds of extra legs and limbs some carrots grow.
I found this one amongst the bunch and named it
The Hallelujah Carrot.
CaregiverSon says, "Your garden is blessed."
It was fairly successful despite the dry summer.
The potato patch produced quite well. 
I've uncovered and dug up half of the spuds.
  I'll wait to dig the rest until it sounds like a cold snap is coming.

 We have finished weaning calves and turned out all the cows to their winter pasture.

 Wide open spaces.
Can you just breathe in the clear, fresh air?
Crisp and clean.
Fall has been snappy these past couple weeks--
Sunny, but with a chilly wind that forces me to understand
that summer is past and winter is just around the corner.
Even though I've brought the Big Geranium into the garage to keep it safe from frost,
I know better than to think I will save it forever.  I brought in the Rosemary and Oregano with hopes that I might keep it growing indoors awhile, but the lack of sunshine hours will likely cause them to fade quickly.
Fall is here.
And that is that.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

First Snow...

Was the First Snow.
Just a skiff,
but still
It's gone today.
That's okay
by me.

Saturday, October 08, 2016

Work and play...


Gathering cows from the far North pastures takes time.
The pastures, as you can see, are terrible.  There has been less rain up there.
We probably should have brought the heifers home sooner.
We've been working cows, boosting vaccinations on all the calves, sorting into bunches,
and weaning some of the calves.  We've had several days of this.  It's fun to go through all the cows and calves and see how they are doing, but it's a lot of hours of work too. 
 Cowpokes like me feel it in the shoulders and hands.

We also worked the bred heifers to see which ones we will add in to the herd and which ones we will sell in November.
154 head averaged 949 pounds.
(a tally we need)
We DID get some rain!  
About an inch, which is wonderful for us.
No water running into stock ponds, but moisture nonetheless.


 When I'm helping trail cows, I am always looking for interesting things along the way.  I find feathers and plants, rocks and bones.
On this particular day, I found a pile of bones.  An old cow died.
This was her skull.
Evidently she had a lump jaw.  
I thought it was cool how the lump turned into a kind of calcium coral reef.
Ugly and beautiful.

Below is more of my playing...
...fiddling with watercolor paints.
I've been having fun with some video tutorials.
They are very inspirational!

 The sketchbook on the left is my nature journal.
When I homeschool our kids, we all had nature journals to keep.  I've kept one on and off since retiring from my teaching job, and I've decided to start up again.
I tried to plunk a little watercolor in on my sketches.  It works ok.
I like it, but the paper is not so great (for watercolor) since it's just sketch paper.
I might look for a watercolor journal next time.

 Do you know the movie:  
It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown?
I grew up watching it when I was a girl, and our kids grew up watching it too.
Now it's time for the grandies to love it.
Well, my pumpkin watercolor above is a tribute to that Charlie Brown story 
and a tribute to my pumpkin patch
which is very sincere.
My grandkids had fun picking their very own pumpkins -- for decorating
and for carving jack-o-lanterns.

Sunflowers and a chickadee.
The chickadee is in my nature notebook too.
They've stopped by to feed and water in my backyard.
I do hope that some of them will decide to stay with us through the winter.

I've pulled up all the tomatoes now and have the green ones setting beneath newspaper in the garage with great hopes that they will ripen as the days pass.  The kids helped me pick all the pumpkins and those, too, are stored in the garage.  I'm leaving the potatoes and carrots underground and will pull them up as we need them.  They store best in the earth....until it freezes.
We did have our first freeze last week.
It's turning.
Fall is here!
Guess what?
I'm getting 33 eggs per day from the hens!
It's an EGGstravaganza!
Omelet anyone?

Are you taking a little time to play this fall?
Please tell me about it.


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