Sunday, October 17, 2010

Borrowed time

The starlings have arrived on their whirlwind fall tour.  The grove flapped hundreds of black wings and chattered loudly all afternoon.  One more reminder that summer has long departed and we are on borrowed time.  We have had sunny skies for several weeks now and above average temps, up until today.  Now we are back to normal -- days in the 50's, nights in the upper 30's.

The change in temperature has brought a renewed sense of urgency to our fall chore list.  Fortunately we've made good time with our list so far.  Hubby painted and roofed the bus shelter at the end of the drive.  Our snowblower has been repaired.  The chicken coop litter has been cleaned out.  The deck garden has been put away.  The hoses have been coiled and the outside water shut off.  The goats have been sheared, dewormed, deloused and had their hooves trimmed.  The yard has been tidied of toys and tools and scraps.

I worked a lot in the garden, digging the rest of the potatoes, pulling sunflowers and tomato cages, picking dried bean pods, saving seeds, harvesting the last of the broccoli and cabbages.

Hubby tilled the empty tomato and potato beds. I raked the hard soil and planted 150 garlic cloves, then covered the area with a thick layer of rotting straw.

Thanks to a fine gift from a good friend, I also planted and mulched some sunchoke tubers (Jerusalem artichokes).  I hope I didn't err by planting them in the fall, but I couldn't imagine trying to keep them alive all winter long in my refridgerator.  We'll see how it goes.

We had so much trouble with those darn cabbage moths this summer, I was afraid all my Brussels Sprouts would be filled with little holes.  [Filled with holes?  Is that an oxymoron?]  But upon closer examination (and removal of many worm-eaten leaves), I am hopeful for a good harvest.

I'll wait for one more light frost before I chop them down.  I think I'll use the machete my husband bought at a garage sale years ago.  Those thick stems really are a bugger to cut through.

Still to do on the chore list:  cleaning the goat barn, buying winter chicken feed, butchering roosters, pressing apple cider.  Hopefully the snow will hold off for another week or two.


Leigh said...

Oh, I think you should be fine planting those Jerusalem artichokes in the fall. We used to love them. I love seeing photos of your garden. I reckon we all have a similar garden chore list.

I've named you to participate in a pretty interesting meme. I don't usually care for them, but this one I couldn't resist. It's "A Day in the Slow Life." Do come check it out and see if it's something you'd like to do too.

Erin said...

"Filled with holes" LMAO! I had never given that statement much thought before! I am thinking of those sunchokes for next year, I hope yours work out. Lots of chores, I hope the weather holds enough for you to get your whole list done, I just planted brussels sprouts - I don't even like them but I love the interest is gives the garden!

The Apple Pie Gal said...

Boy you nailed it! Time to get the fall stuff DONE!

Mama Pea said...

Jerusalem artichokes are supposed to be planted in the fall, at least up here near the tundra they are. I think you done good.

Also sounds as if you're in pretty darn good shape with fall chores, even though there are still a few must-dos on your list. I sometimes think the only way we know we're done with fall clean-up is when snow covers the ground.

We're supposed to get our first really hard frost tomorrow night. Cannot believe we've made it this long this year!

Karen Sue said...

gave up on my brussel sprouts. just tiny on the stalk and time for frost...

Mr. H. said...

Your brussel sprouts look fantastic. I gave up trying to get a decent crop off them a couple years you make me want to give it another go. I do love brussel sprouts.:)

Anonymous said...

Your starlings must have come to Michigan - I heard them all day and then a giant flock flew over our garden as my brother and I were pulling tomato cages, digging carrots, and tilling the bed. We enjoyed 64 degrees and sunshine this afternoon, with a nice evening shower. I scrubbed the bird bath and coiled the hose up for the winter. There is still so much to be done before the freezing weather hits. You are so ahead of the game! I still need to plant my garlic! Instead, I made chicken noodle soup with homemade noodles. I have my priorities, ya know.