The weekly, local Farmer’s Markets are coming to an end. My Dad and I went to his town’s market and I was excited to see that almost everyone there was selling organic produce . I got some squash, giant apples and tomatillos . I never tried tomatillos before. The lady selling them said they are very easy to grow and make a good jam or green salsa. They’re also nice just as a bit of tang in a salad. I fermented mine with some of the last pickings from the garden.. red peppers, green tomatoes and garlic. I fermented some carrots with grated ginger too.
The local Garlic Festival was held this past weekend. I try not to miss it because I buy my planting garlic from the same farmer there every year. Besides ordinary cloves there is every garlic thing you can imagine…garlic ice cream, pickles, breads, kimchis, oils, vinegars, cheese, relishes, spreads and jellies. They also have vendors selling their crafts, honey, maple syrup, soap and produce. Did I mention lots of food trucks ? Our Garlic Festival started out with about 15 tables and a few curious people poking around. Now it’s huge, attracts more than 10,000 visitors and even has an official Garlic Queen.
Clearing through the attic last week, I found a treasure. When my girls were little I used to make their clothes. Whatever material was left was cut into patches to make simple quilts. I found a bag of these patches, wrinkled but otherwise perfect. I ironed them and sewed them together into a quilt. I showed it to my daughters this weekend and it brought back such nice memories for all of us. My middle daughter is the most sentimental of my 3 so I’ll do some hand quilting on this and have it done for her by Christmas.
I’ve been wanting to make my own cheese so I started with an easy one..cream cheese. It was just a matter of getting the milk to the right temperature, adding the culture and letting it sit until the whey separated. Then I set it to drain. It came out delicious.
Now that gardening season is over, I’ve been putting aside time to take walks. There’s woods, fields and streams right outside my door and this time of year is especially beautiful.
I’m mad at myself for not taking better care of my car. It’s 9 years old and the road treatments for snow have created a big rust problem. I should have rinsed it down and parked it out of the elements but I never did. Soon I’ll be traveling a lot to help my daughter take care of her baby since she has to go back to work. I was hoping to trade in my jeep and get something newer but the rust has devalued it. Lesson learned. The money part is a problem but what bothers me most is that I didn’t care properly for something that I was lucky to have. Poor stewardship. To me , that says there’s a lack of gratitude. Not a good thing. I started this blog for the opportunity to stay focused and thankful for all the wonderful things in this world and in my life. It’s been so great to see, read, learn things and make blog friends from all over the world. Thank you all!
My college girl was home this weekend. I made a big pot of chicken and dumplings on Sunday and we ended up having a nice family dinner. My sister joined us and my other daughter came with her baby and husband. Everybody stopped along the way at Farmer’s markets and Fall festivals and brought donuts, apple cider and pumpkin cakes, adding to the feast.
The weather had been continuously dry and hot. The hibiscus went onto a second bloom. Overnight, rain came and a cold snap with it. Now, the leaves are suddenly turning and daytime temperatures have dropped 30 degrees. The outside plants have been brought in, cut back and repotted and Fall cleaning has begun. I guess that’s sort of a nesting instinct… getting things clean and snug and organized for the long, cold stretch ahead. Curtains, walls, floors, pillows and windows washed. Area rugs dragged outside and damp mopped with soap and water,front and back, spot cleaned and dried in the sun. Winter blankets pulled out of storage, washed and dried on the clothesline. Summer clothes put away. All the cleaning agents I use are natural..vinegar infused with orange peels, borax, essential oils, homemade soap. Soon my little old farmhouse will be sweet and sparkling.
Some of the trees are bare and I’m ankle deep in leaves. Nights are cold and the days have been warm. I’m watching the temperatures, hoping for more red peppers before the first frost. Cabbage will soon be sauerkraut.
I tinctured some Echinacea root today. This is a chunk of root from a 3 or 4 year old plant. What’s left will grow back nicely in the spring.
It’s best to use grain alcohol when tincturing roots or bark. There’s no need to dry the root first. It actually makes a superior tincture with fresh root. Wash the root well, cut and macerate the pieces and follow the same procedure I describe for the whole plant tincture.
The tomato patch is looking grim but the fruits are still ripening on the vines. There are still a few bright spots in the gardens.
This season is coming to an end but I’m still picking a few things every day. This has been a wonderful year in the gardens and I’m already excited and making plans for the Spring.
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