Hello, November

The first day of November and it’s probably not even really cold enough out right now to merit a bonfire. But don’t think that’s stopping me, as I’m currently writing this post from, well, here…

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These last months of the year are a bittersweet time on the farm. I love fall– the change, the colors, the smell of apples and woodsmoke on the air. But it also means I have to say goodbye to some of my favorite parts of summer. No more chickens running up to greet me when I get home for work, no more strolls in the field to check on my grapevines or fruit trees.

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It feels a little premature to talk about “the things I’ve done this year” when we’ve still got eight weeks left in 2016, and while I do fully intend to do more work inside the house before it’s over, that sense of closure– of finality– has started to settle in. I took a few days off last week to get the last of the big farm work done before winter, which meant starting to clean out the garden. It was an unholy mess…

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Seriously.

Four bucket-loads of weeds later I’d barely made a dent.

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(But I did make a dent, and that’s the important part… or so I keep telling myself.)

I did take some time out during The Great Garden Clean Out of 2016 to do a couple of important things though. The first was to drink some wine (obviously) and make some notations in my farm journal about where things were planted this year so that I can properly rotate everything next year…

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The second was to plant a new little apple tree in the garden…

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And, yes, I do have all kinds of apple trees out in the orchard, but this one is special because a few years ago my mom bought some honeycrisp apples from the grocery store, ate them, saved (and planted) the seeds, and one of them turned into an actual tree.

Because, moms.

Any time my mom comes up to my house I find weird things after she leaves… like my cactus plant in the sink, or an aloe plant that usually resides in my laundry room all of the sudden soaking up sun on a kitchen windowsill. And I won’t lie and tell you that I don’t occasionally roll my eyes at someone “babying” my houseplants, but I can tell you that I’m done with the eyerolling now because it turns out my mom is the woman who turned an apple seed from a random apple she once ate into a fricking tree. So there.

That little tree is now planted in my garden because we thought it deserved a place of honor on the farm, and also my current orchard is all squared off so if we plant one tree we’d have to plant at least two more to get it square again and I’m just not up for that right now. I also don’t have any great spots for shade plants like lettuces in the garden currently so we thought the tree might provide that eventually. In like a decade. But still, you’ve got to plan ahead on a farm.

Anyway, I’ve still got at least one more weekend of garden work before I can officially close it up for the year. While I got a lot of jalapenos…

(And also may have tried to eat one raw on a dare earlier this summer, because boyfriends…)

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And a fair amount of tomatoes for fresh salads…

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(But not enough to can for the winter.)

Also, some acorn squash…

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Which I paired with some 2015 raspberry mead for dinner once this summer…

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The truth is, I’m actually not thrilled with my garden harvest this year. My cucumber vines produced so many cucumbers, most of which I didn’t manage to pick in time to eat or pickle. There were also so many zucchini (which I love) that also got too big, too fast and were only good for chicken food. I managed to pick a bunch of brussels sprouts on time once, but then they sat in my fridge for too long before I found a chance to roast them.

Over the last three years I spent a hell of a lot of time turning the garden from this

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(Back in 2013.)

To this…

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And then this mess that I attempted to tackle this year…

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And finally I think I have the structure of the garden in a decent (if weedy) place…

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Four of the raised beds still need fill dirt, so I should have 19 to plant next year. But, with all the work I’ve put into the garden in the last 3 years, I’ll admit I’m more than a little disappointed that even with all fresh produce growing in my very own backyard, a lot of the time my dinners still consist of cottage cheese straight out of the carton. (Although if we’re honest, not disappointed (or hungry) enough to stop eating cottage cheese for dinner.)

I’m really hoping I find enough hours in the day to cook more meals with the food on hand next year, but we’ll just have to see.

In the meantime, there’s still a fair amount of work to be done before the deep freeze hits, so I don’t have too much time to lament the things I didn’t get done this year.

And let’s be honest, I still find time for a glass of wine or a good beer under the pergola…

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So it’s not all work around here.

from Bathroom & Home http://diydiva.net/2016/11/hello-november/

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