Donna had so much fun picking out her own apple the other day...And there's nothing like...
...fruit fresh on the vine!
So, I can no longer deny that fall has come to the u.p. In some respects I'm fully expecting the coming of winter, in that we're already practicing Christmas carols, (yes Christmas carols, much to the boys chagrin), but in other aspects I'm in denial, like in the fact that I'm refusing to dig out my winter sweaters and instead prefer to catch my death in a Tshirt and light spring jacket on a windy 30 degree day.
The other night was our first frost and it was a heavy one. The locals say it's late this year, but it still managed to catch our garden at the end of harvest season here. We covered and managed to save a lot of things, but still suffered a few losses.
The chores have been continued harvesting and processing of everything, as well as putting the gardens to rest for the winter. Today the girls and I put up four and a half quarts of salsa--our salsa crop this year.
We've also been harvesting lots of weeds, both greenery and roots, for the winter. I dug a big armful of dandelion roots to be dried and ground as a (partial) coffee substitute and Mom was able to put the greens up for added nutrition during the winter.
I put up our mint and stevia harvest; only a pint each. But they will make some yummy hot tea this winter. The stevia can also be used as a sugar substitute. Maybe we'll try that for some Christmas treats this year.
We finished backfilling the root cellar. It took about a week of good heavy work and we are now all sporting a good set of callused blisters. Anyone else want some shoveling work done before they disappear?
The list of chores, while being slowly checked off, seems never ending as there are always new ones appearing. We have our 'sunny' and 'rainy' day chores. The sunny ones are far more labor intensive which is why no one complains on a rainy day. They including harvesting, putting the gardens to bed (hauling manure), trimming horse hooves and shearing sheep, working on the root cellar, collecting rustic furniture wood, fixing (raising) the fences in anticipation of winter snow, etc. etc. The rainy day chores are usually cozy more rhythmic tasks of processing, stitching, cleaning, building, carving, fixing and, as always, singing and making music.
Aside from a few rainy days, we've been experiencing skies of the deepest blue, contrasted by the whitest of clouds and an array of red and gold trees along with a big, still green pasture. So much pleasure for the eye in just a single glance. Now to add a few happenings of interest to the scene, (as though scenery of brilliant colors wasn't enough): the filly and the colt are kicking up their heels in the pasture together as they race from end to end, spitting out a spray of horse manure and mud as they take the corners. Just in front of the garden fence, the mother hen with her new clutch of eight chickies are scouring for bugs among my pink and white hollyhocks. In contrast, a mother turkey leads a large train of fat little turkeys across the back pasture, with obvious idleness toward the completion of their destination. A glance out of another window will catch you the scene of Dad and Theresa competing on the volley ball court. It seems like just yesterday that Andrew and I put that court up, yet now I see it's ground is covered in yellow leaves. Why is it that fall is an annually occurring surprise for me?
If only there were words worthy of portraying to you the smells that go along with this color and these scenes. It's a cool air, fresh off Lake Superior and new after the rain. It's nippy with a hint of winter and, an almost literal taste of fall. And yes, it has that smell of farm which some refer to as 'stench' while others recognize as the bidding of home. It's altogether wonderful and completes the feeling, like the lace around a tediously embroidered hankie.
This lifestyle is truly a way of living life to it's complete and total fullest.