Saturday, September 30, 2017
SEpteMber was full of lots of happenings:
Canning apple sauce and apple butter with the daughters
Making plum jam
Planting garlic and lettuce
Working cows and pregnancy testing
Turning in the bucks
Pullet hens begin to lay
A few nice rainy days
Painting kitchen cabinets (still in the process)
Starting a watercolor nature journal
Now it's time to say, "So long September, it's been nice knowing you."
Monday, September 25, 2017
Pom Pom invited me to participate in keeping a fall nature journal. I really love doing this. I used to keep a nature journal for years when I was homeschooling the kids. We all kept journals and learned together. Those journals are treasures. With this nature journal, I'm challenging myself to do it in watercolor. I'll probably add in a little ink too, but basically, I'm wanting to practice watercolor all the way through.
The past four days have been very cloudy, cool, and drizzly and we've even had a pouring rain a time or two. It's been such a blessing that I had to make a cloudy, gray, fall sky for one page of my journal. The temperatures have cooled off here -- 40s for the highs -- so the air really has a cold snap to it. It's definitely jacket weather. I had a nice walk along a fence line this afternoon. The skies were watercolor grays and there was a light mist that felt refreshing as I walked. CarpenterSon drove the pick-up while I pulled steel posts out of the back and leaned them along the fence. Behind us, Hubby and TheGolfer were pounding them in. Fall teamwork!
I hope you're appreciating all that Fall is bringing your way. Don't forget to stop and smell the falling leaves. I love that smell!
Thursday, September 14, 2017
There's been a hatch! Painted ladies are flying around everywhere this past week. They are especially interested in my zinnia patch. It's wonderful to see. How many can you count in the zinnia patch?
I've been in the garden planting my garlic and a little bit of lettuce seed just in case we continue to have warm-ish fall weather. I'd love another crop of lettuce before winter days come along. If the lettuce doesn't germinate, the seed is there for next spring and I'll be watching for early lettuce. I'm also doing an experiment with some garlic seed. I let a couple garlic plants go to seed (like onions do) and then saved the seed to plant. I have no idea if they will produce since garlic is a bulb and produces from bulbs, but I figure if I don't try it, I won't find out if it works. I like experiments.
I dug up more potatoes today and I figure I have roughly 70 pounds or maybe more. I had to quit today because some of the potatoes are underneath the pumpkins. The pumpkin vines have sprawled out over the potato patch and there are some hefty pumpkins laying on top. I could move them, but I decided not to. They can just keep on growing and continue to bask in the sun until the vines are all withered or frozen. Then I'll resume the potato digging. The grandkids have already spied the biggest pumpkins and are anticipating pumpkin carving.
The onions are pulled up and drying on newspaper in the garage. There are some really nice, big Walla Wallas. I love onions and use a ton of them through the year. I really ought to grow more of those and less of cucumbers and zucchini.
Speaking of zucchini (which I always do), I plan to do a big baking tomorrow. We are expecting some nice rains for the the next couple days or so. Hurray!! I'm going to make zucchini-everything (breads, cupcakes, and who-knows-what). I also have some grapes that my dad harvested in the freezer so I might pull those out and make them into jelly.
It seems there is always so much to do when September rolls around. Soon we will be working cows and calves -- vaccinating and sorting and pregnancy testing. We turned the bucks into the ewes on September 11th which is our tradition for February lambing time. The young ewes will receive bucks on Christmas Eve which is our tradition for their May lambing time. Hubby bought 6 new bucks and my goodness! they are handsome fellows.
There was a prairie fire just 6 miles from our ranch and so the men were called out along with the other volunteer firefighter-ranchers. Someone had a trailer tire come off on the highway and they were driving on their rims with sparks flying. The prairie caught fire from the road sparks. We have a very old 1000 gallon tender truck here that was filled and ready to go so when Hubs called me, I jumped in and took it to our turn off at the highway. I didn't stay and fight fire, but JLynn and I did stomp out some fire next to the asphalt with our shoes and water bottles. I guess we did our part.
One of my Bloggy Friends, Pom Pom, is going to be keeping a fall nature journal. I'm thinking of joining in on the fun. Everywhere I look, I see things to record in a journal or at least, in my mind. If you'd like to join us, please do! The more, the merrier. I'm seeing white asters, goldenrod, maxamillion sunflowers, spiked gayfeather, and curlycup gumweed growing wild in the pastures just now. What kinds of fall flowers are growing where you live?
Thursday, September 07, 2017
(or hummingbird moth)
The first few days of September have been cool, in the 70s during the daytime and as low as 38 degrees in the night. We were waking up to a very chilly house because we like the windows open. The last couple of days we've reached back up into the 80s but every night is very cool. I'm noticing the trees starting to show little patches of yellow leaves here and there, almost like a man who is going gray at the temples. That's what I always think of when I see the beginnings of leaves changing.
The sunflowers are thriving and so are the moss roses, zinnias, marigolds and petunias. In the evenings or early mornings we see the sphinx moths flitting from flower to flower sucking nectar just like hummingbirds. They looks so much like hummingbirds that some have nicknamed them hummingbird moths. Have you seen them? The grandkids and I have been noticing an unusual amount of red-tailed bumblebees around. They love my moss roses, but will hover over any flower that's still in bloom this late. They've been good pollinators for me this year and constant companions in the gardens.
The fencing project has been going great! The men have accomplished so much. I have contributed a little bit. I go out with my bucket of clips for the steel posts and clip down as many wires as I can. There's lots of walking and squatting in this little job and my hands do feel the effects of twisting clips around posts. I try not to overdo it. I have that luxury, but the men don't. They just keep on working when I'm ready to call it a day and go do something else. I figure I'm helping them, even if it is just a little here and there. The girls and I do bring out iced tea and snacks most afternoons and that's a fine contribution when you're hot and tired and need a break.
The daughters and I spent Tuesday working up the apples that we picked from my parents' apple tree. I'm guessing we picked about 3 bushels or maybe a little more. It took us all day washing, cutting, cooking, and milling the apples but many hands make light work! By the end of the evening I finished off pressure canning the last of the jars of apple sauce and the final total was 28 quarts and 17 pints of apple sauce. The apples were so sweet that I think we only used a total of 4 cups of sugar for all of it. We probably could have gone without sugar, but adding that little bit sure did mellow the sauce out. There is yet another tree almost ready for picking so we will have another applesauce making day very soon.
The garden is still supplying us with fresh broccoli and green beans as well as carrots, potatoes, cucumbers and zucchini, but the lettuces are waning. I have some new lettuce sprouting up so I have hopes for fall greens. The tomatoes are still green, but there are many on the vine. I suppose once they ripen, they will all go at once and we'll have to have a tomato canning bee! Pumpkins and squash are setting nicely. The grands will love the pumpkins for carving jack-o-lanterns. I think I will carve their names on the green pumpkins and see how they turn out when they are ripened! I'll plant garlic very soon for next year's crop.
We've had a few days of smoke drifting down from Western Montana fires. I can't imagine how awful it must be there in the midst of the fires when we have had days with thick smoke being hundreds of miles away. There have been a few fires in our area too. NumberOneSon and CarpenterSon have gone out on several fire calls. Our volunteer department is small, but effective!
I hope your September is going well. Are you enjoying the big moon? I guess it was full on Wednesday. It's sure big and red-orange in the sky when it is rising. Tonight I'm going to tip back in my lawn chair and look at the stars. It's a beautiful summer night. I'm still hanging on to summer!