I prefer to think I'm deep and insightful, so here's what I declare that I'm contemplating:
- ...that this must be Gertie the Goat's favorite time of the year because nearly all of the poplar leaves have dried up and drifted to the ground, where she can't get enough of them. She trots her portly little behind up the lane from the chicken yard and munches these little spade-shaped leaves carpeting the ground in front of the house like there's no tomorrow. She doesn't often exhibit gluttony, our Gert, but with these dried leaves she's positively uninhibited.
- ...whether it's too late to get my garlic in the ground. For the past two years, I've meant to plant garlic in the fall and let it "overwinter", for harvest the following summer. I'd heard this is the best way to grow garlic in these parts and after tasting the most flavorful locally grown garlic I've ever known at a farmer's market this summer, I'm sold on growing my own. You know how a store-bought tomato tastes NOTHING like home-grown? Same goes with garlic. I'm sold. Now I just need to brave the cold and stick those little cloves' bums in the dirt before said dirt is too frozen to dig.
- ...putting the garden to bed. True, I didn't have a garden this year, but I have a big garden bed with soil that's getting better every year. We brought home leaves and yard clippings from Mom and Dad's and we've gotten permission to haul horse poo from the neighbor's corral. I may hit our hay farming neighbor up for steer poo from his property, too - now that's magical stuff, right there. I'm determined to put the garden to bed for the winter covered with this organic concoction with visions of nice, wormy soil waiting for me to uncover in Spring. I better get on it if I hope to do so before the only blanket covering that precious earth is snow!
- ...the sad state of my pantry shelves, forlorn with the absence of home-canned tomatoes. It was with great reluctance that I bought several cans of diced tomatoes at Safeway on Saturday. I hadn't bought canned tomatoes in two years because we've been enjoying the preserves of gardens past. While it was the right decision to forgo a garden last spring, I have pined for the harvest this year!
- ...how to design the right garden for next year, which starts with seed orders in January, and seed starts in February. We actually have seed left over from the garden-that-wasn't last year, so I have a head start there. I'm refreshed, renewed and excited to get started plotting the coming year's garden. I have visions of beans climbing teepees, exquisite fresh eggplant and monster pumpkins.
- ...how nice it is to still have the five hens and 2 roosters that we started the summer with, chiefly because Mike and the kids finished the long-needed, high-fenced chicken yard. Much as I wish we could let our chickens free range, we have lost dozens of chickens the past few years to coyotes and dogs and just can't let the carnage continue. I'm praying the coyotes don't outsmart the fence so that we can grow our little flock again next spring. In the meantime, it is wonderful to get eggs every day, and it was rewarding to watch the chickens cavorting in the grass that we seeded the chicken yard with, and hunkering down beneath the bushes we enclosed in the yard for them.
- ...how satisfying it was to pull out my wheat grinder last night to try my hand at homemade, whole wheat pizza crust, with Tanner grinding herbs in the mortar and pestle, and the kids ooing and ahhing over the beautiful pies before we stuck them in the oven. We're total food nerds around here - I'm not sure the visiting friend quite understood the level of rapture surrounding the pizza viewing. Of course, he went home with fresh peach jam, so if he knows what's good for him he'll keep the eye rolling to a minimum.
- ...adding a few drops of peppermint oil to our homemade laundry soap, just to add that hint of winter flavor to our clothes. (Whole new thinking on "winterizing" your wardrobe. Go with me.)
- ...the hope that this winter will bring many hours of inspiration and writing, with loads of
Love from the farm,