Monday, October 18, 2021

The Last Hurrah & Fall Prep

Hello, friends.  Last week, J dug our sweet potatoes, and as expected, it was a dismal harvest. If it was just the weeds, we would have had a decent harvest, but he found lots and lots of empty skins, where the critters (he thinks gophers??) ate them.  This year, we tried solar sonic repellants for the first time, placed on either end of the rows.  They obviously don't work.  Sigh.  I froze a very small amount of leftover squash dish to use in a soup, so it wasn't wasted.  I used what is probably the last of our yellow squash in a quinoa dish.  I tried using 1/2 as much olive oil, and added more squash, upping the nutrition, and lowering the cost.  We both liked it just as well with less oil.  A bin of shredded paper and a pan of crushed egg shells was added to the compost bin.  Laundry was hung on the line.

I made a sort of healthier version of garlic mashed potatoes with our veggies.  There was no milk or cream in it, but I sauteed the garlic in butter, and though not decadently good, it was still pretty tasty.  I made black beans with our onions with it, and another beautiful head of lettuce with our figs went into a salad.  I don't often cook something I can't eat, but earlier in the day, I tried a GF/MM compliant butternut pancake recipe, and it was truly gross in texture and taste.  The chickens were the recipients of that failed experiment.  I added the tiny amount of leftover black beans into the soup fixings container in the freezer, so it wouldn't go to waste.

Several days were spent on fall preparations.  One day, I washed all the windows and doors, as well as the sills, and cleaned several of the blinds.  I may not get the windows washed in the spring very often, but the added light from clean windows in the fall makes for happier plants over the winter, and brings us the most amount of light during the darkest days of the year, which helps keep spirits up.  J & I refreshed the soil in the house plants, repotted a number of them, and got them all back indoors before a low of 39.   That was a large job, and I'm so thankful for his help.   I harvested basil, purslane, lettuce, chickweed and nasturtium flowers for a dinner of pesto and salad.

Flannel sheets were brought down from the attic.  All the bedding was washed, including the mattress pad and pillow covers, and changed out to flannel sheets.  The mattress pad came apart at the seam in a couple of places when I washed it, and one of the elastic corner pieces came off.   My sewing machine is in the shop for a good cleaning and checkup, so I mended the pad by hand.  We had our first fire in the woodstove Sunday morning, and I decided a baking day was in order.  I used up the last of a jar of pumpkin to make dog treats.  While still warm, I roasted chestnuts that were gifted and grown by a customer J did work for, and then finished up with a GF blueberry pie.  I'm keeping an eye out for food shortages at the grocery store, and only noticed the frozen potato section almost empty last week.  I didn't walk down every aisle, but that's what I did see.  

A number of herbs were harvested, including thyme, oregano, sage, lemon balm and a small amount of lemon verbena.  I started a glycerite with the lemon balm, and the rest were dried.  While I was getting the flannel sheets from the attic, I also brought down a box of fall decor.  I placed our fall bow and leaves on the mailbox, and added a few touches to the house and porch.  There are still flowers blooming, which is a treat, as we're a couple of days past our average frost date.  We'll enjoy them while they last.  Wishing you a most enjoyable week. 


daisy g said...

Oh, so sorry to hear about your sweet potatoes. It's one of those crops that you're never sure what you'll end up with until harvest day.

Your mashed potato recipe sounds good, and extra nutritious!

It's 39 here this morning. I wasn't expecting it to be quite this chilly and I hope my worms are okay in the worm bin. They are moved to the garage over the cooler months.

Enjoy your week and these glorious, crisp mornings!

D. Ask said...

We got only about a dozen sweet potatoes when we harvested. I used some of the smaller ones with our last butternut squash and some eggplant in roasted vegetables yesterday. I added red potato, onion, olive oil, rosemary and parsley. It was lovely. Sounds like you are well in your way preparing for the cold. My plants haven’t come in yet but they will very soon! Best.

Laurie said...

I've sourced an organic sweet potato farmer a little over an hour away, so I'll probably be getting a couple of boxes from them. Growing food is always interesting, that's for sure. I hope your little wigglers do OK. J has been reading a book that talks about ways to increase worm numbers in the garden, so for now, I think we'll try that first. I had already asked him for a worm farm for Christmas, but will put that on hold until we see how this other method works. Lords knows, I don't really need another chore to add to my list :o).

Laurie said...

That sounds yummy, Denise. We only got around 1/2 a 5 gallon bucket of potatoes. We usually get a wheelbarrow full. Oh well, now to figure out how we can manage this new critter challenge.

Jeannie said...

You have been very industrious this week! My garden is still taking up my time, trying to harvest the last food before the first frost and getting the winter garden out.

That is a shame about the dismal sweet potato harvest - first your white potatoes and now the sweet ones have not been prolific. I have never had anything eat the potato but leave the skin. Don't stop trying. I went to the grocery store today and the empty spots are growing. The prices are definitely going up and it is becoming worrisome.


Laurie said...

Yes, thankfully, after that first episode of rotting white potatoes, they are all holding well in the pine straw and lime. I noticed a little more empty spots this week, but it was mostly junk frozen food, like pizzas and fries that were empty. There seemed to be a good amount of canned fruits and veggies, dairy & eggs, dog & cat food, and plenty of fresh produce still, so that's a blessing. But yes, I'm grateful for all we were able to grow and put up this year, and hope both of our fall/winter gardens produces well.