ursulas_alcove: Robin of the hood woodcut (Rock On!)
I spent the morning harvesting. I started with the potato onions. They are called potato onions because they grow in clumps like potatoes. Supposedly they are the oldest known breed of cultivated onion, going back several thousand years. The ones I planted in the Kuiper Belt were very small. The soil back there needs work. Probably more water and sun as well. The mulberry tree needs some trimming back to allow more light in.

Austrian Crescent Potatoes and Potato Onions

Then on to the front yard to examine the potato bed. What were thought to be a late season German Butterball potato turned out to be Austrian Crescents, which are an early potato. Yes, they need to be dug up. No the soil isn't loose. These guys ended up turning green from exposure to the sun, rendering them toxic for human consumption. I will use them as seed potatoes for next year. I thought some of the carrots might be ready as well. No. They were wide but only an inch long. I got the back portion of the bed done. The sun got too hot to do more and the honeybees arrived to do their work.

More onions were planted in the next bed. They were laying on top of the soil, begging to come in from the sun. I planted both potato onions as well as yellow rock onions. The yellow rock onions went to seed. I wasn't happy about that. They were supposed to be regular cooking onions. I may have harvested two onions out of the couple pounds I purchased. All the rest were potato onions. Mostly in clumps of three. Usually they are in 5 or 7. The better quality soil and direct sunlight gave me a usable size. Still somewhat small compared to store-bought onions.

Magic Beans

Green beans were from a very old seed packet from Ferry Morse. They were not an heirloom. Called yard long beans, this is my second year growing them. 2002 seed germinated last year giving me a basis to continue. They are hanging out in Middle Earth with the raspberry bushes. There are not many, maybee three plants. They seem to be growing fine. They like the trellis. The Purple Queen beans are growing in the SE mandala with the rhubarb. They are a small bush bean.The rhubarb had fresh, young and tender shoots which I also picked.

Purple Queen and "yard-long" beans

More rhubarb, still looking good

With the potatoes already dug up, I headed to the backyard where I had planted the rest of the Austrian Crescent potatoes. Sad, isn't it?

Martian Death Ray wipes out garden bed

After some digging, I determined the top soil to be dry and hot. An inch down was pure wet clay. The potatoes had been steamed by the water and hot sun. They were very squishy. This was my Martian death ray. It is turning the squash plants yellow. Too much water in the clay. Next round it will get a mixing of sand and compost to loosen it up. Or else I'm just going to dig up the clay and starts working cob.
ursulas_alcove: Robin of the hood woodcut (Rock On!)
The rubber seal on the freezer is broken. It tends to ice up a bit. Accidentally, the door didn't close while I was away. All the frozen fruit on the door thawed. Oops! So after a long day with very little sleep, I pulled the necessary items together and put up two gallons of rhubarb wine. Ten cups of sugar gone just like that. Need to buy more sugar next time I'm at the co-op. I hope to get mulberry started soon too. This year it will be wine instead of melomel. The black ants have discovered our honey jar. Hundreds died so that their brethren could climb on the backs of the dead to obtain the ambrosia. It was not a pretty sight. Gotta get the DE (diatomaceous earth) out and dust where the ants are sneaking in.

Looking at establishing a worm bin. Need to drill some holes in a tub and we should be set. My soil needs help beyond coffee grounds. Worm castings will help. Today, we head to the woodworkers to pickup sawdust. My garden paths need to be defined again. I've been raking the old sawdust and adding it to new beds as compost. It's mostly decomposed at this point. The woodworker says he has 14 garbage sacks of it.

The mega shipment of yarn came in for Pennsic. I will be winding my arm off over the next week. I miss my electric ball winder. Everything I sell is hand wound on a simple ball winder. More naturally dyed wool should also be skeined. The tarragon turned out nice. I've lemon balm dyed wool in the sink now. It needs a quick wash and then re-skeining before it gets a photo opportunity.

Russian Tarragon

A quick garden update so I can remember what to do next year. While I was away, so much happened in the garden. I lost most of my coreopsis during SCA 50 Year. It bloomed early. I tried drying it. It turned brown and went to seed. It freezes better but I needed to try drying to learn. Next year . . .

Drying parsnip and carrot seed

There has been a brief rainstorm almost daily. The rhubarb became enormous. I shall have to run another dye bath with rhubarb. Skirret turned into bushes that were trimmed back, making sure it doesn't flower. I may just move them in fall along the fence line. I think they'd make a nice border. Garlic was harvest before SCA 50 Yr. Potato Onions and Brussels Sprout seed were harvested before WW though I have one more patch of onions to go. Parsnip seed, Daikon radish seed, pea seed, carrot seed and bean seed were harvested for next year's planting and are currently drying. Black dahlia flowers were also snipped and frozen for a dye bath. As I write my homestead report, I am nibbling on anise basil biscotti ice cream. Yum! Thai basil provided the anise taste. Lots growing in the herb spiral. Other herbs were chopped and harvested while I was away. Instead of drying all the herbs, some are minced and placed into the ice cube tray. Once they are frozen into a block, the herb cubes are removed, bagged and labeled. Parsley, basil and thyme cubes await winter cooking to remind us of what fresh tasted like.

Mulberry Currant Jelly

While I was away, peas and beans were harvested. These were frozen for later use. We didn't get that great a yield. The rabbits ate any beans and beets that poked up. We resorted to planting beans in the window box. The peas were fine and are growing all over the yard. They are such great nitrogen fixers. I missed the entire black raspberry and strawberry harvest. They ripened over SCA 50 Year. SCA 50 Year was too long an event for my garden. Ten days plus travel time and setup. I missed too much and harvesting. My daughter bore the brunt of caretaking and harvest. I think there are two containers, 2 cups each of black raspberries in the freezer. Not enough for wine or jelly. Probably will combine those with other fruit to make something later. Strawberries were eaten outright. Nothing to store for winter. Mulberry Currant jelly was made before my travels.

Methinks it twar a good year for horseradish

There will be horseradish this year. Got to look up recipes. I harvested more onions this morning. They need a couple of weeks to dry out before I weigh them. Once the green tops are totally dry, they will be chopped off. The final product will look like this:

ursulas_alcove: 19th century engraving of a woman using a drop spindle (Default)
While I was away at War of the Wings, the temperature dipped down into the thirties and then last night into the twenties. Fortunately, Chronographia was home to bring in the crops. It took some time to weigh all of them. There are 15 pounds of tomatoes. This doesn't count the ones we harvested throughout September.

15 Pounds of Volunteers

We only managed two pumpkins this year, smaller than last year. One was 7 lbs.; the other 4 and a quarter pounds. I planted them later, in June I think, but with the weather so bizarre, it would have been the same. The mustard greens I planted in May just germinated two weeks ago. Yes, it was an unusual climate this year. My cauliflower planted in April still has not yielded a head. We covered it so if there is an Indian summer, maybe? Chronographia did not pick the Purple Kohlrabi in the front yard. I'll have to take a look when it warms up later on.

Frost on the Pumpkin (and watermelon)

The watermelon were a treat. A great ground cover and a welcome surprise. I love buying organic food because it grows! It hasn't been treated to prevent germination. I planted garlic from the co-op too. No idea what kind it is. It had a hard stem. There are both hard and soft stem varieties. October is the month for planting garlic.

The farmer's market goes through the end of October. Since I head to SAFF the last week of October, next Thursday will be my last chance to see all my favorite vendors: Eggs from Kern's, Grass-fed beef from Longmont Farm, produce from Jodikinos, fair trade chocolate and olive oil from the Presbyterians, tea from the plant people (Miss Autumn's Heirlooms), maple syrup and honey from Beduillon's, hand made pasta from Mia Cucina and so many other vendors. http://www.msfm.org/vendors/ I will miss you over the winter.

Farmer's Market
ursulas_alcove: Blakes 7 (world domination)
Small harvest before dinner

Yesterday was long enough for three days. The garden's been dug. Potatoes didn't yield much this year or maybe we've dug a few times earlier in the year. Found that after removing the zucchini vine, we ended up with a couple of parsnips that did germinate. Surprise! It's hard work removing the crabgrass from the clay. At least it was cold enough that I could get at the stinging ant area to pull weeds. I am going to have to make a point of going to Starbucks and begging for coffee grounds. That ground needs coffee!

Bedding the Garden for Winter

I managed several dyebaths this week for sock yarn just in time for SAFF. I really should try to keep more on hand. We all spent time weighing and winding yarn. The hemp yarn crate looks better with some more color in it. I added the acorn. This week I need to finish the mustard and do some leaf green. The color wheel is very lopsided right now. I've eggplant, wine, raspberry, and scarlet along with white and pale blue. Some yellow and green should help dramatically. About 2 pounds of assorted yarn has been wound into skeins and is in the scouring pot right now.

Chronographia is heading down to SAFF with a friend to help her out. We got the van unloaded from moving John home from Oregon. Most of the stuff is put away or sorted. Then we restocked all the crates from last weekend's show. Ball winding was done by hand as the electric winder is having issues. Personally I think it's a mid-life crisis. That ball winder just loves it when I take it to Master Herveus to fix it. Maybe it's sweet on him. I wish it wouldn't give me such a hard time. Anyway, I found more Turkish drop spindles to sell at SAFF.

What is SAFF? It's the Southeastern Animal Fiber Fair out at the Asheville, NC fairgrounds by the airport. There is usually a big sign that reads "This is NOT the antique tractor show". We've never seen the antique tractor show but they have a big portable sign at the exit on the highway. For more information, visit http://www.saffsite.org

Last year's booth:

After we got the van loaded for SAFF, Chronographia headed out in time to beat the worst of the snow and ice in Western Maryland. And to top off the day, I spent a bit of time cooking. I fried pita in olive oil and the fried up some zucchini. I think I washed four batches of dishes and skeined more sock yarn. Tired doesn't begin to describe it.

Today is another day. Yarn is being scoured. Doctor's appt schedule for this afternoon. The weather is cold and clear. I'm content that I got the air conditioner out of the window and all the attic windows shut tight before the temperature dipped. I still need to bring in the Dahlias from outside and turn off the water. Life is good when the sun is shining.

Now what project to work on next? Too many possibilities. Guess that now the dishes are done, felting should be next on my list. Three art shows coming up so felting, it is!


ursulas_alcove: 19th century engraving of a woman using a drop spindle (Default)

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