Around the Homestead
Updated: Nov 21
Lots of stuff happens around here this time of year including "processing" the catnip. Willy is pleased that the catnip has been dried and crumbled so he can have his daily dose of "nip".
I was pleased with the results of my new herb garden. I cutback the parsley, thyme, sage, tarragon, and rosemary. Some I dried, others I am propagating to then plant in dirt so that I can have fresh herbs during the winter.
Once roots are growing, I put the cuttings into a plater box. Fortunately, I have a sunny kitchen where I can keep these herbs close at hand.
Gardens need to be cut back and leaves blown and raked. I do this. Whiskey set me up with an electric blower and a long extension cord. I have almost mastered not getting the cord caught on stuff.
I leave all of the hydrangea blooms in place; I cut them in late March. Mostly everything else I cut to the ground.
This is a tedious process but has to be done. The Kubota helps as I load the cuttings onto a tarp and drive it up to the way, way back to dump there.
Our first snowfall happened on November 9th. It was pretty while it lasted for the day.
Before the snow I captured fall images of the garden.
Cool weather means I spend most of my time inside now. Besides washing windows, which I do because I love clean windows, I make bread, bone broth, and spend a lot of time in the kitchen.
I'm working on other shapes of the sourdough while I wait for the oval banneton baskets to arrive.
Tip: I wash windows using Sprayway. I spray the cleaner all over the windowpanes then I squeegee off the cleaner and wipe the "blade" with paper towels. I have to use that mini squeegee because I have small windowpanes. This is the best and fastest way to clean the windows. I wish I knew of this 25 years ago.
Fall means squash. I hoard a bit of squash as I love all varieties. Everytime I cook a squash I set aside the seeds for roasting (and I've saved some for planting). Soak the seeds in water overnight then coat them with olive oil and salt and roast in the oven until dry and crunchy. So delicious!!
The firewood is stacked. I did all of the moving and stacking over a few days' time weather permitting. We employed the concrete block and wood studs method again this year increasing the number of racks to ten whereas last year we did eight racks. Once each rack is emptied, we dismantle it. By the time it's spring the patio is ready for furniture.
Whiskey cut up a fallen pine tree and split it to make kindling. Having a lot of kindling is really important because our old wood cookstove is not airtight which requires reigniting each morning with small wood.
Most of this firewood gets burned in our wood cookstove; a smaller portion is burned in our two fireplaces. In winter we spend most of our time in the kitchen and TV room where the woodstove it. This big hunk of metal throws off a lot of heat. Notice Willy in the back corner. That is a cozy spot.
That little firebox is a workhorse. It can be front or top loaded. Since the box is small and the stove is drafty you can see why this does not burn all night.
Besides just for heat, I also cook and bake using this. I call this my little "off-grid" corner. 😁
I let my sourdough sit in the back corner during bulk fermentation. This warmth makes the dough rise quickly.
To get the fire going each day, we drop a couple of denatured alcohol-soaked corks into the firebox on top of the kindling. These corks act as fire starters.
The pantry is tidied up after a busy summer and stocked with enough toilet paper for the winter. Remember the toilet paper crisis?
This area is off of the mudroom and part of the barn; it is unheated so I can't store anything that will freeze. It's a place for paper products, glass jars, and other stuff that I should probably get rid of, but I don't because there is space for it.
Once the outside chores are done, the firewood stacked, windows washed, and other inside chores complete it is time to hunker down and enjoy the long dark evenings. Time for cooking stews, roasts, and soups.
Until next time, get cozy and settle in for the last of autumn before the snow flies and piles up.