late summer sunshine……

late summer sunshine.....

late summer sunshine.....

late summer sunshine.....

late summer sunshine.....

late summer sunshine.....

I've been slowly tidying up and putting the garden to bed over the last few weeks. I struggled with whether or not to start a fall bed of greens and decided to let it go. We have a wonderful winter CSA that keeps us eating fresh veggies through the end of December, and I could use the break. Next year I hope to build a few cold frames for early & late season growing….. but this year I am ready to hang up the gardening hat. Like most first years, I learned a lot. This fall will have us moving the raspberries, blackberries, grapes, and apple trees who are too shaded in the first spots I chose for them. Spring sun is tricky and the leaf cover was much bigger than I expected. The squash patch proved to be a long finicky haul for the hose and so it will get moved much closer, to the compost pile where the accidental (or volunteers as my friend calls them) squash from our CSA seeds grew much better with much less tending. About 18 beautiful squash came from that pile…. a good start for our winter pantry. Next year I will plant less lettuce. More beans. More herbs, the Fedco tree catalog arrived and I've got my heart set on several perennial medicinal herbs, elderberry trees, and rhubarb. I'm slowly peeking at library books for my annual fireplace reading session of garden books. So far these have made the list : Backyard Winter Garden, The Resilient Farm & Homestead, Carrots Love Tomatoes, and The Thinking Beekeeper.

I fell in love with those Inca Marigolds you see pictured. Such big lovely happy flowers. I've been feeding them to the chickens, they have medicinal properties and encourage bright orange yolks. I've been sprinkling them in nesting boxes too, hoping to discourage any bugs and keep things smelling nice. I've read that they can be used in teas and salves, so I've been drying a few (along with the Calendula) every few days for winter herb projects. Of course I'll add some to the chicken's feed in the winter too. Or perhaps sprinkle some into a popcorn treat sometime in January when they have about had it with snow and cold. Oh yes, and savings seeds from both….

The last of the cherry tomatoes have been picked and a good lot of them have made it into the dehydrator. Yes, I bought one. I'm so glad I did too. We've dried peaches, apples, pears, herbs, tomatoes, sage bundles, marigold petals. Putting up the harvest just got a whole new category….

I find myself trying to firmly plant my feet into this earth…. here. Sometimes it's hard. This tour is just four years. It may not be long enough to enjoy an apple from the trees we planted or harvest elderberries. But it will be long enough to learn to care for them and perhaps pay it forward to whoever calls this place home next…. and in the meantime I remind myself there is nothing I would rather be doing than tidying up a fall garden. Dreaming of the next just one year at a time. Collecting the last of the tomatoes in the late summer sunshine……

xo,

s

 

14 thoughts on “late summer sunshine……

  1. Beautiful! I can’t wait to checkout some of those books you recommend! ๐Ÿ™‚ Your CSA are epic really how many do you have now? I know you have veggies and grains.

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  2. Thanks KC ๐Ÿ™‚ New England has such a wealth of local food & our Farm is the best! We have local produce 9 months out of the year! Heart Beets Farm is their name, we love them! Our grain share is from Pioneer Valley Heritage Grain…. I actually knew the woman behind the share through the blog world and was so happy to find her again and support her family’s business when we moved to the area! It’s our first year with them… it’s an annual CSA so I’ll be sharing how we store grains & beans after that pickup. Local beans! Exciting stuff. There are several meat CSA’s in the area, and local raw milk…. we just haven’t ventured into those. Part budget, part time/driving commitment for pickup. And the freezer is full of fish from Alaska right now too….. fingers crossed that next spring will see us raising some of our own. xo~

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  3. Carrots Love Tomatoes is one of my all-time favorite books – it’s a great fireplace read and reference book. It made me smile to see it on your list. ๐Ÿ™‚
    If you enjoy reading cookbooks I strongly recommend The Herbfarm Cookbook by Jerry Traunfeld. You will be want to start an enormous herb garden just so you can try some of the recipes!
    On a completely unrelated note – do you think you’ll be making any more aprons anytime soon? Like maybe after all of your food is canned, and the garden finished, and the last warm days have stopped beckoning? ๐Ÿ™‚ I bought an adorable toddler apron from your shop last year for my son as a Christmas present. (It was made from the grinning vegetable fabric.) We call it his “boy apron” and we use it almost everyday! My husband buys my daughter and me matching ruffle-y girly aprons from Anthropologie each year. I love that my son now has one to wear with us. He loves it. Although he’s now growing out of the toddler size and is a full-fledged kid! Sniff. Sniff.

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  4. What crafts are you planning with the marigold and the calendula this winter? I have been drying some calendula, but I’m not really sure what to do with it. Any grand ideas?
    This is a great list of books! I need to whittle down the giant stack by my bed, but then I am getting to work on this list. Thanks!

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  5. i love what you wrote about “pay it forward to whoever calls this home next”… where we live their was an orchard planted many years ago… and i am constantly so thankful to whoever it was that planted it… and hopefully you will end up living in many places where someone else planted lovely things for the next person… and get it paid right back ๐Ÿ™‚

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  6. I added that book to our library list, thank you! I might have one boyish apron left. I think it’s got orange feathers on one side & a turquoise chevron on the other? I’ll take a look. I am happy to sew up a custom one for you too…. but I won’t be adding more to the shop right now. Just not finding time to sew as much these days!

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  7. So…… I’ve hear you can infuse oil with african marigold the same as you would calendula. And also that it can be added to tea. It looks so pretty dried and I’m hoping to have a few tea blends in the shop come spring (shhhh! still some secret plans in the works there).
    I always have a *huge* stack next to my bed too. Not enough time…. or perhaps just too many good things to read!

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  8. That makes my heart so happy to hear ๐Ÿ˜‰ I left fruit trees in Louisiana too. I always picture my forever house in my mind (or heart perhaps) and it has a magnolia tree or lilac bushes and several old fruit trees. A girl can dream……

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  9. Oh, tea blends sound delightful. Don’t worry, your secret is safe with me. I just got a new book from the library yesterday that you might like. It’s called Adventures in Yarn Farming: Four Seasons on a New England Fiber Farm by Barbara Parry. It has so many photos of cute little lambs, as well as knitting patterns. I can’t wait to crack it open tonight!

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  10. I could tell from your posts that the sewing was on pause for a while. And that make sense! That’s how life is. Sometimes you have to take a break from one thing to focus on another, since there just isn’t time for all of it!!!
    I figure the time in the garden is limited, so that’s a priority, (along with all of the cooking and canning that goes with it). But as the season winds down, if your studio starts to beckon, you already have one order should you want it. ๐Ÿ™‚ I would probably request a custom order though. Blue and orange are the colors of our rival college, and even though we don’t get too hung up on that stuff, we also don’t make a point to wear their colors on purpose.
    I look forward to hearing what you think of The Herbfarm. It’s a favorite. The flavors are amazing and the recipes are not so difficult – especially when you consider that they are from a fine dining restaurant. Most restaurant cookbooks have ridiculously complicated recipes for home cooking, but this one is straight forward and pretty easy. Plus you feel like you’ve learned so much after reading it.
    My husband and I moved up north after college, and the gardening is completely different from Florida (where we now live). But I found that chervil is an herb that grows extremely well and doesn’t die back when it snows – which is nice when you’re craving something green and fresh. It is high in vitamin C, has a flavor between parsley and anise, and if I remember correctly has a positive effect on digestion. It’s too late in the season this year, but if you ever want something to brighten things up, when everything else has died back, this one should work for you area.

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  11. I will definitely add chervil to my herb list for next year! That sounds delicious. Iโ€™m investing in some herb perennials next season too. More medicinal than culinary, but also able to transport when itโ€™s time to move again. The college thing made me giggleโ€ฆ. weโ€™re not sport fans but I have a lot of friends who are so I totally get it. Iโ€™m happy to do a custom too. Weโ€™ll just have to find some fun fabric for him ๐Ÿ™‚

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