How it has come to be the beginning of the last third of August is just beyond my understanding. Seems as if I was getting garden beds ready just a little bit ago and now they are coming into full fruit. I have a late season here being in the forest and on the mountain, or actually the ridge with an elevation 2981 or close to that.
I just came in from making turning large wood into smaller pieces and looking at what there is to be done. I am already feeling behind in my winter wood procurement. But winter is coming and one day some loving or kind soul will come along and take care of the bigger logs for me and I will appreciate it so.
While I was doing this, realized the forest was creeping closer to the house. Oh yes. Forests will do this. They want to take back to themselves that which we borrow. We need to remember it’s a loan. Never the less, I realized a week or so ago that I had a considerably shorter view into the tall trees behind the house. Summer with it’s many rainy days has helped the little maples, black locust and assorted other greenery come along and take back about thirty feet in some places. Many of the new young trees are much too close to grow to maturity. They are already crowding one another out, hungry for the sunshine at the edge of the cleared lot. I took a lot of them down with sturdy pruning shears and carried them off to the goat pen. Nothing is wasted if you watch and harvest it at the right time. The goats think the leaves are a wonderful treat. They will leave the branches and in a few days I will clear the pen and take those back for kindling.
I love my chores. Well, I love that there is great variety in what I need to get done. Recently it has been about watching what is ripening and figuring out the best way to use what is coming along. Shall I can, dry or freeze the wonderful fresh things my gardens are providing? It will be a long time before the yield here will be totally sustaining. This is the third year and I am learning. I buy produce from the farmer’s market too. I am never sure what, of the many things I plant will actually be the vegetables to thrive. I thought I planted many varieties of squash but there was never a single zucchini in sight. I have an abundance of patty pans. Those are the little round space ship shaped squashes. I have learned to love them and to dry and freeze and take to the market. If I am lucky, I may get a pumpkin or maybe two and if I do they will be my treasures. It looks as if I will get a lot of potatoes pretty soon. Maybe a green pepper or two and three or four egg plants. It has been a wonderful summer for beets and I love every part of beets. The greens and stems have their place on the plate as well as the gorgeous root. I see pickled beets and dried beet chips long into the winter months ahead and sauerkraut made fresh from the local mountain cabbage grown by a farmer whose makes this his specialty.
My strawberries gave me enough to make some preserves and I picked enough blackberries before I noticed the bear scat to put by few jars of jam. I bought a box of peaches because I could not resist their beauty. From my twenty five pound box I shared several for simple eating pleasure, froze a big bag for later on, made a cobbler, and processed seven half pints, and one full pint of preserves that also yielded a pint of syrup with the best peach flavor, just perfect for a liqueur.
Fiber from the alpaca and the Angora goats has been sent off to be processed and will come back in the middle of October, just in time for cool weather projects and for holiday gift giving. I should have a nice amount to offer for sale. It is always so exciting when the box comes back from the fiber mill! So many people at the market asked me if I spin, I have begun to learn to use a drop spindle just so I can say yes. I am creating about forty yards each time I use it as that seems to be the amount the spindle can hold. My product is a very irregular homespun. I will dye it and use it to accent hats and scarves.
The silk scarves classes I have been teaching here and at other venues have been popular. I have to comment here that photos really don’t do them justice. I think silk has to be worn and seen moving to truly show itself off to best advantage Each scarf is 100% china silk with a hand rolled hem. Each is hand painted making it a unique piece or wearable art. I am looking forward to filling an order for a wedding party. These will make such wonderful accent pieces for the bridesmaids as well as a lasting keepsake of the special day. Don’t you think so?
I hope, I always hope, to get back with updates much sooner that I usually do. So until next time, love life.