Monday, September 20, 2021

Fading Summer 2021

 As summer days start dwindling and cooler nights refresh the morning air we are rolling into our autumn preparation and contemplation. As we soaked up the final weeks of summer with some family field trips and daytime excursions, our garden projects filled in our gaps of time and the long days seem to go from trickling away to having the drain pulled into a vortex of here comes September! Thus here we are midway through September and and our life schedules and seasonal adjustments have begun. 

One major highlight of our late summer excursions was a trip to the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens in Boothbay. Cassi and I have always enjoyed visiting this place to explore the trails and exhibits but the addition of the giant troll sculptures made it even more appealing now that we have Hazel to entertain in our journeys and they did not disappoint! We had a lovely day spent hiking through the various eco-landcapes, gaining inspiration for our homestead planning and just taking in some serenity that is always much needed in the daily chaos of the current times. Having Hazel as a co-navigator, continually asking where the next troll is and pointing out her favorite things made the whole experience a memorable one that I hope we can replicate next year. Im not sure the length of the trolls existence but we are hopeful that we can visit the weathered trolls next year as well! 

In all there were 5 trolls and they all are the size of a small houses so the scale is quite grand. They are dubbed  "the Guardians of the Seeds" and were constructed byThomas Dambo of Denmark using recycled materials that mainly consisted of palate wood and some natural tree elements.
Learn more HERE!

Along with family trips around Maine we also spent much of our free time stocking our freezer and filling our bellies with seasonal fruits. We made a handful of berry picking excursions to Bradbury Berry Farm, Winslows Farm and now that September is rolling along we have started visiting some of our favorite local orchards for peach and apple picking and cider sampling!

At the homestead our garden has been bursting with productivity and wildlife. We have had the pleasure of observing many species of frogs, snakes and all sorts of insects. A pair of finches and mourning doves are always perching on the trellising and I think they are a big factor in the lack of pest pressure we have had this season!

Hazels flower garden has been providing lots of lure for our local pollinators and the waves of blossoms have kept her enthusiastic about getting out to the garden and creating flower potions and bouquets to share with the family.

Pickling season has slowed as the late summer and more time intensive crops have begun to take center stage. Eggplant has been flourishing for weeks and after many yummy eggplant bake dinners we have also pivoted to a new addition on our menu, baba ganoush. It is simple, easy, delicious and a quick way to turn 10-15lbs of eggplant into a couple containers of snacking goodness! Traditionally it is smoked for optimal flavor but I have found pan roasting to be the quickest method. Split it in half,  roast it at 350* for 20-30 minutes, scoop into strainer and let cool and drip excess liquid for an hour then blend with tahini, lemon juice and salt to taste, and to impart that smokey flavor that roasting in the oven misses... sprinkle with a bit of smoked paprika! Serve with vegetables or pita chips and it makes a great alternative to hummus in sandwiches!

Along with a bumper eggplant crop our beans have been very prolific and I think they will be one of the crops we will grow for market next year... more on that in the winter months :)
Our potato nests started showing signs of exhaustion so Hazels persistence of asking when we can dig our potatoes was finally met with "TODAY!"

If you remember from the spring we constructed 4 potato nests using some old wire fencing I had rolled up behind the shed. We lined the bottom with a foot of mulched leaf compost from the forest floor then shoveled in about 6" of compost in the middle planting 4 different varieties. On top of the sprouting plants we hilled the nests with straw and all in all it was a great success considering the minimal cost of material and the mobility of the method. I trimmed all the wilted growth to make the harvest a little less daunting for Hazel and after removing the top foot of straw we were delighted to see some of the most perfect unblemished potatoes we have ever grown! 

We yielded about 10-15# of each variety ending up with just over 40lbs of taters that have been a staple on our plates for the last few weeks and Hazel has a new found appreciation for the spuds! She is a very open minded eater but for some reason never really was a potato fan except for french fries but I've yet to find someone who isn't a fan of french fries. Anyhow, I think the whole experience of harvesting her food opens her mind to trying new things and gives her as much pleasure as her parents knowing it was our hard work and the help of mother nature that produced our meal.

The other great success of this growing method for potatoes is all the straw and leaves made for great balancing of green material in our compost pile and after a quick rake the footprint of there existence was gone until next year when Im sure we will grow them again!

Now on to TOMATOES!!!!
Everyone's favorite garden delight, I'm not sure if its the patience it takes to nurture, prune and trellis into existence or just the fact that a store bought tomato will always be inferior to a fresh vine ripened sun warmed orb of summer goodness, but tomato season has finally arrived in all its abundance!

Our windowsill has disappeared as the ripe orbs have piled up the first few weeks of September with varieties like Bosque Blue Bumblebee, Violet Jaspers, Cherokee Purple, Black Icicle, Pineapple, Brimmers, Pantanos and more... I'm guilty of giving up on a seed packet library and sometime just dump all like varieties of seeds into a glass babyfood jar and just let chance decide what I grow from year to year. That happened with a few types this year, I can usually decipher them based on what I know I've ordered for seeds and the look of the final fruit but in the beginning of the season they are all just tomatoes to me! 

Let Saucin' September begin... so far I've done sauce batches on the 1st/9th and the 15th bringing our total cellar haul to 18 quarts and we should easily hit 24 by the end of the month!  

One of our favorite ways to cool down after a long morning canning tomatoes and harvesting veggies is to take a quick ride up to our favorite swimming hole Range Pond!

I always enjoy the less populated shady area that provides a nice privacy buffer so I can just relax let Hazel enjoy being a kid and dad can get a little painting done too!

Range Pond Study - September 9th

As the season winds down, we have harvested some celery, chard and leftover cukes to make the autumn clean up a little less daunting. After expanding the garden quite a bit this year we decided to not fuss too much on getting a fall planting in and extending the growing season but we did manage to sow a bit of amaranth and edamame and will see how those do. Im already scheming next season in my head and thinking about opening up a little more of the tree canopy so we can finally integrate a couple of our own fruit trees into the localrootz arsenal! 

Edamame sprouting up to about 12" currently and just starting to form pods.

And the Red Amaranth is sizing up nicely with the interplanting of rudbeckia resulting in a very visually stimulating bed for the early autumn!

Our moss garden has also been blooming with lot of fungal diversity after a drought stricken year last year, it seems they are thriving once again!

Had another great day out at Oxbow this past weekend providing a soundscape to the All Species Fishing Event. Thanks again to everyone who has passed through this amazing spot in the western hills of Maine!

Looks like one more installment of Beets & Grooves for this season on Sept. 25th then Ill be dropping some fire at Goods from the Woods on October 9th... after that stay tuned for some serious sessions from the Rootcellar which I hopefully will be streaming online or uploading to a platform for your online enjoyment!

Don't miss this last one... its PURE selectors choice from 4-8pm... and maybe later because its my birthday weekend and I do not have to go to work at 3am on Sunday like I normally do! Come early stay late, farm to table pizza and the best farmhouse beers this side of the pond!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...