Most people think of autumn in terms of oranges and yellows, but before that, and just after summer has dipped away, there is a time in September that is just ‘purple’. Now, of course purple has been very much at the forefront for much of this spring and summer as it was the primary colour chosen by Richard’s niece for her wedding, so we were planting and painting in a lot of those shades. But the morning glories didn’t choose to bloom until this month (and before the frost last week they were in tremendous glory indeed, and not just in the morning!) And the hills have had a purple haze on them most mornings and evenings, with much mist and fog and drifting smoke from those choosing to already start heating their homes (we haven’t).
But September is NOT a time to settle and relax yet, in fact it is THE busiest month of all months on the farm – even worse than late May-mid-June when all the planting and watering is being done. Harvest has always been a ‘crazy’ time, what with picking and pickling, processing, carrying, cooking and canning, foraging and freezing. The only one who slows down a bit in September is Simba. Well, not that Simba (old and fat) EVER does anything in a hurry, but the cooler days means we don’t force him out the door at 7 a.m. now, or really at all. So he’s back in happy-mode (he doesn’t really like outside!) Thus, for only one of us, there is time to stretch a dainty ballet-dancer’s paw and rest easy.
Considering the morning glories were all planted in early June for blooming by late July’s wedding, it is shocking that they took this long to show themselves. They are supposed to be one of the fastest-growing climbing plants – but here they are now, along with some scarlet runner beans which also grow quickly and were meant to cover all our birch arches in time for the ceremony.
Richard is excited because he FINALLY got to find the first egg laid by one of our original Buff Orpingtons. We THINK it’s C.C. (cuddly chick) but they are hard to tell apart anymore, and C.C. isn’t as friendly as she used to be… Of course, as in the last blog entry, Lucy was our substitute and she came laying for us already, but now we are finally getting 2 eggs a day and I can breathe a little easier knowing that baking time (which really slows down during harvest as there’s so much else to do in the kitchen) through the winter will have a reliable supply without anyone having to make a trip to the chicken farm!
Speaking of chickens, Richard is building a greenhouse out of recycled windows from various neighbours, (next blog!) and he can’t MOVE for stumbling over a bird. Boy, dig up a little earth and do they come running! (That bluish-purple flower is the Borage – gone MAD this year, but it’s so great for attracting the bees; it’s their very favourite of anything on the property and it lasts from June through to even after the first frost or two!)
Our edamame didn’t get as big this year as the other two years ; the weather makes so much difference to everything and while most veg did BETTER this year, and we were over-flowing in squash and cucumber and tomatoes (and beans, always bloody BEANS!) the edamame which is one of our favourite snacks too, just didn’t do as well. But we still have enjoyed them AND frozen some (steamed a bit first, then dried!). Best way to eat them though, is as the Japanese do it – steamed lightly, salted heavily, and popped into your mouth right from the pod! Highly suggest if you haven’t before that you try both ground cherries (you don’t do anything to them, just open the paper lantern and eat the sweet YELLOW fruit!) and edamame.
Above and below are photos taken of the garden in the mist one morning, by guest Mary Walker. She and Dave came by again this autumn on their way through the Maritimes with their big R.V. The purply borage can be seen above on either side of the garden in a haze of blurred colour and below, among the corn, amarynth and herbs (which I’ve been both hanging and drying in the oven for use over the winter) A note on sunflowers – I thought I planted the right kind this year – the kind of seeds we can eat for snacking. The chickens like them, but they aren’t the human kind, so trial 3 was a bust on those again!
Another plant I’ve been introduced to this year is kohl rabi. We aren’t really cabbage-eating people here, and it’s very hard to grow anyway, but Pierrette, who has lived here her whole life suggested the kohl rabi. Fist-sized when ready for picking, it’s cabbage-like, but a bit more parsnip-tasting and I invented (due to what was ripe at the time) a great pureed soup with fennel leaves, kohl rabi and whey from all the cheese-making I’ve been doing. The other pureed soups I have made up and frozen are zucchini and fennel and cucumber and whey. Best served cold with dollops of Cammie’s yogurt in the centre like sour cream. Yum!
Kohl Rabi (above in basket) ready for a batch of soup to be made up, with quarts of goat milk in the foreground ready for our favourite cheese – the herb-rolled chevre. I’ve also had some success (in texture and quantity, but not TASTE yet) with feta and mozzarella. Thanks to Mary Walker for the photo!
Cammie can be SOOOO naughty! When she’s loose she isn’t just foraging the flowers and plants we don’t want her eating, BUT when we notice Smitty sitting really close to our kitchen door, it’s because that darn goat has come on the porch and virtually kicked Smitty off his sleeping bag bed so SHE can lie on it~!
She doesn’t even act guilty when you go out and shout at her to get off!
Purple Haze on the mountains close out most of our September days, although the oranges and yellows are starting now and will be featured in the next few posts, which will include the building of the greenhouse, plus a plethora of scarecrows, and murders of crows, and Thanksgiving and pumpkins and straw-bales…