Sunday Homestead Update

Another beautiful fall week in the mountains!  The mountain sides are covered with gold as the aspen trees change color.  We fall asleep to the sound of distant elk bugling as they are in the middle of their season of rut.  And the breeze has a cool crispness to it that speaks of the coming winter.

We are continuing to work through all the ripening tomatoes.  We have put up 18 more pints of salsa this week.  Plus the last 7 qts of apples from last week.  We are hoping to finish the tomatoes off by the end of this week.  The canner has definitely been getting a work-out this year!

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We harvested the Brussels Sprouts this week and ate them.  There was enough for one side dish for one dinner for the six of us.  They were delicious, but we decided that for the amount of space they take up in the garden it just isn’t worth growing them because they produce too little for their garden space.  So no Brussels sprouts next year.

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The lettuce is still working on its seed heads.  We blanket it when it frosts, but I am not sure if it will make seeds or not before the cold really hits.

The screen box of spinach, turnips, and beets is doing excellent.  The turnips and beets are expanding their roots now.  We are hopeful to harvest a nice batch of them soon.  We have already been harvesting and enjoying the spinach.  This little experiment was originally just to test out pest-management, but more has come from it than that.  We have found that we can plant a “fall crop” of the cold weather veggies and keep them alive as long as we blanket them during frosts.  The box may have something to do with it as well.  This knowledge might turn out to be an excellent season extender for us!

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We have been chopping and stacking wood to keep us warm this winter.  We have two wood stoves and they are the main source of our heat all winter, so there is no such thing as too much wood chopped and stacked around here.

My sweater class ended this week, and thus my sweater was supposed to be completed.  Unfortunately, the decreases on the sleeve were too close together to fit me right, so I almost completed one sleeve only to find that it was too tight.  So I tore it out and started again.  Then I hurt my back while we were chopping wood and couldn’t knit for several days.  So I am working hard on it now and hoping it will be done by the end of this week.  I have REALLY enjoyed making it and it has definitely given me the confidence to try more sweaters and other larger clothing items in the future.  I’ll share pics when it is complete.

This weekend we butchered the lamb ram, Duncan.  This was definitely the hardest butchering for us emotionally.  Duncan was very friendly and we all really got more attached to him than we should get to meat animals.  It all went very well, his death was instant and he was eating his favorite treat at the time.  We got through it and are very thankful for the meat.

We ended up with:

30 lbs of meat divided as follows:

  • Roasts – 8 lbs
  • Hock – 3.5 lbs
  • Ribs 3.5 lbs
  • Crown – 1.5 lbs
  • Tenderloin – 6 oz
  • Chops – 1.75 lbs
  • Ground – 10.5 lbs

4 lbs of Dog Food

4 lbs of Soup Bones

7 lbs of Fat to render into tallow for soap making

We are also sending the pelt off to be tanned.  We have never had a sheep pelt before, so it will be interesting to see what it is like when it comes back.  We have seen them at wool events and they look really nice and very soft.  Duncan also was shorn earlier this summer, so he provided meat, fat, wool, and the pelt.  All in all very good provision for one animal.

This week contains rendering the sheep fat for tallow, plus more canning, and knitting as the cold weather moves in.  We are winding down with the busy fall season of butchering and harvesting, and not a moment too soon because we are all pretty worn out from it all.  Next weekend we will butcher the last of the chickens.  This week husband filled both his hunting tags, so we are heading into winter will freezers full of game meat, chicken, and the lamb.  The freezers are also packed with all the carrots and green beans from the garden.  All we have left for canning is the last of the tomatoes and some crab-apple jelly.  The pantry shelves are overflowing with all the canned goodness from this year.

It has been an exhausting harvest season, but so very fulfilling and profitable!!!

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