Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Unofficially Fall

While it won't officially be fall for another 2 weeks, Labor Day weekend is now behind us and I think that is pretty much the end of summer to most people in the United States.  Kids are back in school and the days are getting shorter and the weather should be getting cooler.  Should be.  It is still quite warm here, though the weather Labor Day weekend was ideal here in this part of the country.

Which was nice because we had our annual party once again on Saturday.  I think there were fewer people here and definitely fewer kids than in past years, but it was a good turnout regardless.  Lots of food and homebrew on tap.  It was a great way to spend an afternoon and evening at the end of summer.  

Meanwhile, work on my studio has made fabulous progress.  I helped Sam get the second half of the roofing on and he got some of the sides on all before party weekend.  It will still be getting rough sawn exterior siding which I will need to stain.  Now he is getting ready to put the front porch on.  I dug post holes for that yesterday.  It is really coming along well.

 I thought I was done canning tomatoes over a week ago.  I had done 5 quarts and 6 pints of whole roma tomatoes, along with a dozen quarts of marinara sauce.  But the tomatoes keep on coming on and yesterday I picked enough romas to do up 6 more quarts of whole tomatoes.  Sam made salsa for our party and plans to make more.  We have had spaghetti with fresh tomato sauce 3 times  recently and still, there are tomatoes in the garden.  I will likely can again Friday.  I am not complaining, but it is either feast or famine.  We have had several poor years for tomatoes and this year is making up for it!

I also need to harvest sunflower seeds.  Most of the flowers are bent all the way over and drying on the stalks.  They look so sad now.  I probably have 8 or 9 big flowers like this, 12" or so in diameter, all ready to be harvested and roasted.

I am also going to have a good crop of butternut squash, though I have found only 4 sugar pie pumpkins so far.  They are difficult to find among the vines and leaves until they start to turn orange.  They are not large.  I had a few more than that last year and actually just used the very last of my frozen puree to make a pumpkin cake this past weekend.  Yummy.

I grew a bit of sorghum up by where 2 of the bee hives are and it has gone to seed heads.  Hopefully it provided a bit of nectar for the bees and I will likely try to make some sorghum molasses with it in a couple of weeks.  I don't have a lot, but this will be just an experiment to see if we can do it.  We will save at least one of the seed heads to re-plant and the chickens will likely enjoy the rest.

This weekend we are taking a road trip with the dogs to visit friends in Indiana who we have not seen in several years.  They have a big party every September as well and it just happens that this year we are able to attend.   The last time we attended Rowdy was only 2 years old.  I am very much looking forward to going.

The weekend following that, I am vending at the Wool Gathering just outside Yellow Springs again.  I missed it last year due to a delay in Sam's hunting trip plans, and while I am missing an agility trial to attend this year, I am looking forward to being there.  Here is the link to the event:  A Wool Gathering  It is by far my favorite "local" fiber festival.  I still have a lot of yarn and other alpaca products to sell even though most of my alpacas have moved on to other pastures.  I will be staying with Mom and she will help me out on Saturday and on Sunday I will bring her dog, Luca, home with me because she is off to be a tour guide in Italy once again.

Most of my time at home lately has been spent on canning and preparing for our party, so I have not finished any knitting or weaving, though I do have 3 rugs ready to be taken off the loom (which I need to do before the Wool Gathering),  and a woven scarf that only needs to be washed, pressed and have the fringe twisted in order to be finished.  I have a poncho on the knitting needles that is about 2/3 of the way finished and should be done by the time the weather will allow it to be worn.  No worries, there will be a lot of spinning, weaving and knitting weather coming before too long.  

The fields are full of color right now with bright yellows and purples.  The undergrowth in the woods is starting to die back and the evening light is becoming golden.  These are all things I love about this time of year.  I don't love the multitudes of various burrs that my dogs carry home in their coats and then pick out and leave all over the house.  Grover also gets seasonal allergies this time of year which seem to be particularly bad this year.  We have him on a new allergy medication which seems to be helping.  He is no longer scratching out all his fur.  Rowdy had some skin issues for several months but I am happy to say that a second round of antibiotics seems to have finally cleared that up and he is no longer scratching out all his fur. I think he will be happy when cooler days arrive.



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