Sunday Homestead Update

The seasons are shifting in the Rockies.  Fall is closing in with cooler temperatures and a crispness to the mountain air.  Our first frost will arrive any day now.  We are watching the weather reports closely so we can harvest all the tomatoes right before it frosts.  We have had quite a lot of rain, and even some hail, which is not normal for this time of year.  But otherwise it is beginning to feel like autumn in the Rockies.

Preserving

The freezing and canning continues.

The purple bean harvest and carrot harvest continue to come in.  We are slicing and freezing the carrots, and canning the beans.  Occasionally we freeze some of the beans when we don’t have a good sized canner load.  When we freeze the carrots and beans we use our Food Saver vacuum sealer to package them.  We have had it a few years now and really like using it.

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On sale this week at the discount grocer…Golden Delicious apples!

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In our house Golden Delicious apples means applesauce.  So we washed them, put them through the peeler/slicer/corer, cooked them, and then used the food processor to make applesauce.

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We seasoned some of it with cinnamon and spices before canning, and some we left plain.  They both taste delicious!  We are really hopeful that we will get our orchard in next year, which would mean someday we could can apples from our own property.  The never-ending homesteaders list of new things to add to the property!  🙂

Garden

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The garden is beginning to wind down for the year.  We have probably 1/4 of the green bean harvest left and half of the carrot harvest left.  There is a little bit of lettuce left, but what was left of the spinach has bolted.  The tomatoes are looking good.  We will pull them all up right before the first frost and let them ripen in the basement (that’s how we do it in our short, cool climate).  It isn’t looking to be a very big tomato harvest this year, which isn’t a big surprise considering the hail storm in the early summer that did so much damage.

What is going to be a surprisingly large harvest is the herbs.  Not the herbs in the container herb garden…they all were demolished by the hail.

I always plant all my herbs in the container herb garden each year:

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They usually do pretty well, although I feel like the herb plants are pretty small.  I figured that was the altitude and climate.  Turns out that I was wrong.  This year each child got a section of the garden to plant how they wanted to.  Young Man decided to plant his section as a spaghetti sauce garden.  So he put in a roma tomato, parsley, oregano, basil, and garlic.  He had some extra space so he also put in savory, marjoram, and rosemary.  We are shocked at how big and healthy the plants are!  They are MUCH bigger than they ever get in my container garden.

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They are so big, in fact, that I almost have trouble recognizing them.  It is that big of a difference.  So this brings up the question: what is wrong with the container garden?  It is not on the drip system that the main garden is on, and I sometimes forget to water…maybe it is lack of water.  I add a layer of compost to the top of the containers each year, and/or put all new soil in the pots…but could it be the soil somehow?  Or is it the space?  Do the plants feel cramped?  Or it could be my indoor plant black thumb.  I have a green thumb with my outdoor gardens and patches, but I have a black thumb with potted plants indoors.  Maybe I have a black thumb with potted plants outdoors too.  I really don’t know the answer.

I love the look of my container herb garden and don’t want to get rid of it.  But I would really love it if the herbs grew as well in there as they do in the main vegetable garden.  I will have to try to figure it out and make some changes for next year.

The carrots are being plagued by aphids.  So much so that we can see them and their droppings all over the soil and drip system too, as well as on the carrot tops.  We have never had this bad of an aphid infestation.  Luckily, it doesn’t seem to be negatively effecting the carrots.

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The corn “field” experiment has been destroyed.  We had fenced off the lower part of the barnyard to put in a small patch of corn as an experiment to see if we could get it to grow in our climate.  Here is a picture from early in the summer:

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Our farm dog Finley broke in there when one of our barn cats was hunting a chipmunk on the other side of the fence.  He goes crazy when the cats are hunting and he can see them.  So he broke in there to get closer to the cat and then ran around like crazy tearing apart, breaking, and squashing most of the corn.  It was surprising since earlier in the year when the sheep broke into the corn field Finley herded them out like he knew they weren’t supposed to be in there.  The corn hadn’t grown very well anyway, and we are not sure if it would have produced before the first frost.  We have two stalks left, about 24 inches tall.

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So back to the drawing board with the corn “field” next year.

Sheep

I haven’t talked about the sheep much lately, so I figured I would include them in this update.

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Nothing much has been going on with them.  They have done well this summer.  Toffee is growing, though she is quite a petite girl.  I thin she will end up being smaller than the other girls even when she is full grown.

We have been working with halter training Toffee and Violet.  Violet is already super-friendly and her friendliness has helped young Toffee to learn to be friendly.  So the training has gone well.  We will be taking them to the breeder in early November to stay for about 40 days to be sure to hit 2 full heat cycles.  Toffee may or may not take since she wont be quite a year old by then.  It will be Violet’s first breeding, but she will be coming up on almost 2 years old so she is plenty mature enough.  And it will be Fiona’s third breeding.  Fiona gave us twins this last year, so we are hopeful that trend will continue with her.

We still need to get and put up the last of their hay for the winter, which we will likely do in the next few weeks.

Complete Dinner From Our Homestead

This week we ate a complete meal that came off our property.  We love it when that happens!  We had home-raised leg-of-lamb with potatoes from our garden.  It was seasoned with herbs and garlic from our garden.  As side dishes we had salad greens, and steamed green beans and carrots – all from our garden.

The only thing not from our property was the butter, but it was home-churned from cream off of the raw milk share we get.

It is so very satisfying to eat a meal that comes completely from your own homestead!!!

3 thoughts on “Sunday Homestead Update

  1. Wow, you’ve been busy. One thing I admire about your blog is that you don’t live in the tropics😉 We have similar climate issues. I have considered starting corn inside and transplanting it but haven’t had the gumption to do it. I love your container garden. One thing I discovered (by accident) is that if you cut the bottom out of your container – or in my case have it completely rust out- the plants do better. I think they wick moisture from down deep. Not that you want to do that with some of the nicer containers, but it might be an idea to play with.

    Liked by 1 person

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