Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Harvest Time!

Mark Twain wrote, "If you don't like the weather in New England, just wait a few minutes." Maine in September is a perfect example of this adage. Today, it was sunny, breezy, and in the low 60's. Tonight is supposed to dip from the 50's into the 40's. By the end of the week, we are supposed to be back into the 80's. With the fluctuating weather as one factor and the bugs trying to share our garden's produce with us as another, the time has come to begin harvesting everything from the garden beds to preserve for the rest of the year. (I wouldn't mind sharing a little of the garden, but the silly bugs insist on taking just a few bites of each fruit before moving on to sample another one- ruining all of them!)

Tonight, Sean and I picked most of the tomatoes and filled my canner full and then some! We picked everything that was full grown, whether it had ripened or not. The ripe tomatoes, (mostly romas) went into my stew pot and became a yummy marinara. This version consisted of tomatoes, onions, garlic, sugar, salt, pepper, basil, oregano and some red wine. Pretty basic. It was completely enjoyable, but I still think it was missing something. Maybe roasted bell peppers, I am thinking. We have 4 brown grocery bags ripening and if they cooperate before Saturday, these will be attempt #3 of perfecting a marinara for canning. Once I have perfected the recipe in my opinion, I will share it with you.

We also picked nearly 5 pounds of various hot peppers. I am planning on preserving these by drying them with a friend of mine on Thursday night. As the days get shorter and the air changes from warm humid days to brisk autumn days and nights, my desire for fresh breads, warm pasta dishes, hearty soups, and spicy chili grows. I love this time of the year.

Since I haven't written in a few days, I wanted to take a few minutes to update you all to our progress.

On the Goat Front:
Miss Ellie is doing much better. Her lower eyelids are still on the white side, but are pinking up. She is eating well, drinking regularly, and her droppings are returning to normal. They resemble very large pellets now. This is all good. She gets another injection of the Ivomec next Tuesday and we'll continue to monitor her health closely. She is still showing signs of anemia, but one battle at a time.

Chicken News:
Sean and I are planning on reintegrating our flock of Cochin chickens to the main coop. The grass has slowed down its growing. We are having to move the chicken tractors every day, but even this does not stop the chickens from nibbling the grass to bald patches before they are moved again. So, the time has come. We are planning on leaving 2 of the Cochin hens in the tractor for a little while longer. These poor girls had been plucked mercilessly in the main coop and their feathers are taking a while to regrow. Sometimes feathers grow back immediately, sometimes the hens are using so much energy producing eggs that they won't regrow until the fall molt. We want to give them more time alone to recover. The original problem stemmed from having 4 roosters and only 20 hens. With the new ratio of 40+ hens to 4 roosters, we are hoping that we solved that situation.

Our newest chicks will be moved outside this weekend. They have fledged out nicely and no longer require a warming lamp. I have enjoyed them very much, but a part of me is excited about having my living room back sans the au-de-chick scent.

Spiders (Ughh!):
Our trash cans are now accessible again. Read About Our Spider Troubles Here. The enormous garden spider living by our trash cans is gone and in her place is an equally enormous (and yucky) egg sac. In fact, since we have been overrun with these spiders this year, I have found no less than 3 egg sacs lurking in inconvenient places this week. We can add that to the list of things Sean must attend to this weekend- removing these!

Coming Soon:
Also in the plans for the rest of the week is to have a bonfire on Thursday night to dispose of the wood waste we have accumulated in the burn pile. The wood stove is ready to move onto the newly finished, tiled and grouted area in the kitchen on Wednesday night. The paint for the doors and trim has been purchased, so those will be completed. Daddy Dale is planning on repairing the roofing of the mudroom this week. And, my very talented friend, Cherie has donated a special item for me to gift one reader. You'll want to look for a very special "give away" post from me sometime before Saturday.

Whew! Lots going on around here! I hope you are all enjoying your week. Thanks for checking in.

Sonja ♥


  1. Hope you perfect your marinara because I would love a recipe. I agree with you, I crave hearty pastas and soups in the fall. It is also my favorite time of the year.

    And I'm happy to hear that Ellie is doing better!

  2. Glad things are going well up your way!