This year autumn is somewhat similar, and yet vastly different than previous years for us. The cool weather is arriving, nights are getting down into the 40’s, the wind has been picking up, and the shortening of the days is becoming more and more apparent. No leaves turning yet, but I have a feeling it’s just around the corner. Last week I heard the first sound that signals autumn around here – the bugling of an elk. It was such a beautiful noise and it gave me goosebumps up and down my spine. Then yesterday a huge flock of geese flew right over the farm, honking to eachother as they went. I’ve also noticed the swallows are long gone – unfortunately that means there is no one here to eat the flies, and they are not gone yet, but the flies definitely wont be missed the way the swallows are.
The main difference for us this fall is the lack of garden. Normally this time of year is packed full of harvesting and putting up the bounty from the garden. We have such a short growing season that most things aren’t ready until this time of year anyway and it all comes at once. But since we moved into the new farm too late in the season for a garden this year it is very different. We have walked the property planning and dreaming of the garden(s) that we will have in the future, the first one next year. I’m definitely missing it, but enjoying the hope of one next year and for years to come.
Despite the lack of garden I have been doing some canning. I got some good prices on peaches and tomatoes and canned 33 quarts of peaches (quartered in honey syrup) and 27 quarts of stewed tomatoes. I love to have the stewed tomatoes to put in soups, stews, and chilis all winter. And the kids eat the peaches as a snack just as they are, or we pour them over shortcake and sprinkle them with a bit of brown sugar. Mmmmmmm! We might do some apples as well, but the possibility of that is looking a bit bleak this year, it hasn’t been a good year for apples in our area. Which brings up another thing we dream about adding to the farm in the future – apple trees! We shall see.
This is my first try at canning with honey. I got a book for my birthday called “Putting it up with Honey,” and finally was able to put it to good use. The peaches tasted delicious in the honey syrup and I love knowing that they are healthier for the kids than using white sugar. I haven’t tried any jams or jellies, and I hear they can be quite tricky with honey, but at some point I will try and hopefully the book will help me be successful.
So as the sun heads for it’s hiding place behind the mountains I better get back to the kitchen. I’m going to be making some butter and then using the fresh buttermilk for pancakes for dinner. Yes, we enjoy breakfast for dinner at least once a week around here!