Tuesday, September 15, 2015

A touch of frost, greens, and more.

On this cold morning, we have lots still on plants, and some that I strongly suspect won't make it through the first killing frost, but won't be ripe by then. Always a bit of a challenge with our location. As for the beans, at this point it just comes down to picking them off the plants. Even with the weather, the beans don't seem to be done flowering as you can see Right. Even the scarlet runner beans set more flowers just recently despite being heavy with beans. 

The Kale is also absolutely thriving in this cooler weather where it had wilted in the heat of summer. The two varieties sitting here, side by side make a nice intertwined mass of kale when ever we want collared greens or anything of the sort. I'm hoping that when spring comes both plants survive to set flowers, and that they cross. I think it would be really cool to see the variation that would come from that, and then be able to select for the plants that do best. Honestly though, I don't know how much we're going to have to do to grow solid Kale for our environment, it seems to be happy taking care of itself.
This overgrown front slope will be revealing the stone bordered beds within it shortly. A friend who is out of work, and wants something to do has offered to come help out. That greatly appreciated hands on time will be excellent for preparing the beds here that have spent most of this season fallow and overgrown. Once they are prepared I'm going to put down mulch to keep them from having things growing before I plant the garlic seeds that we have sitting on our counter top for the overwinter pre growing cycle. I know that it's going to take a couple years to get results from the garlic, but that's ok. If things go right I'm looking forward to seeing what the results are, and tasting them more to the point. We do go through a somewhat obscene amount of garlic year to year. That reminds me I'm going to have to see if I can find some garlic to plant for this year, we wouldn't want to wait a  year for more of our own garlic.
There is getting to be some urgency about us figuring out getting some hens to go with our turkey that we're planning to keep. If we don't come up with that we're going to have to go with the rule of, we're not a dude ranch, and seriously consider keeping zero turkeys over the winter, since we want to be producing come Spring, and if we have to get hens then they won't be ready to produce then.
One of the interesting challenges with the turkeys is this whole tree sleeping thing. Especially as the dawn is coming later and later, they are still up the the trees by the time I'm leaving for work. Sorry about the not so high quality photo here by the way, it's really dark in the woods which leads to poor details. I'm figuring that they need to be lured into a coop some time before the first snow. As long as there is plentiful forage for them, I'm just going to let them keep it up since it's working for everyone involved. The turkeys also perch in interesting areas, like the rabbit hutches. Speaking of the rabbits I'm still having trouble getting the does to lift, part of that is that I'm not consistently trying due to fatigue in the mornings. I may just have to set my alarm 15 minutes earlier to try daily for a couple weeks 'till they just do their thing.

Last but not least, over the weekend we had a chance to have a bonfire not associated with work, but just to relax. As seems to be a pattern with our bonfires and social gatherings, it rained. That was ok, we made tarp shelters, and enjoyed fire in the rain. I didn't get photos of it at full blaze which was one kind of beauty because I was enjoying the fire and the company too much. Instead as we were putting the fire to bed this jumped out at me, one of many reasons I'm glad I get to live the way I am. I will say for certain, grilling meat and vegetables over a wood fire is different from the flavor of charcoal, and in its own way very satisfying.


  1. I am already enjoying your lovely blog. I found y'all via Mary Jane's Farm magazine and was immediately hooked --- we are from Michigan and left in 1983 for North Carolina, but we knew your area from long ago childhood vacations. We too are living our dream on a farm. My husband and I found this place four and a half years ago. And we're working harder than ever even though we're retired; I taught high school English for 37 years while my husband was in the corporate world. All the farm work is well worth it. Y'all have a fabulous rest of the week up there, the best time of year as far as I am concerned. Mary Ann at Windy Hollow Farm in Oxford, NC, right down the road from Stem and Shoofly. (Yes, really!)

    1. Mary Anne Potter, thank you for reading, and I'm glad you found us. I love this area, challenges and all. I actually was born in Henderson North Carolina, so while I don't know the area well, I do know it somewhat! I'm glad your farming dreams are also going well, and I hope to hear from you as we keep sharing as we learn and grow here.