Saturday, August 25, 2007

Harvest Time

It's really starting to feel like fall now. The weather has turned cold and damp again, and I just picked 14 lbs of apples from our Alkemene (or for those in the UK, Early Windsor) tree. The Akane apples are just about ready, too, although I think I only have a couple of pounds of them this year. My harvest tally is really going up now, having pulled the potatoes this week, too. Now I need to figure out a way to store all of this....

My original goal was to harvest 100lbs of food from our yard. I'm pretty sure I'll make it, since I still have all the tomatoes on the vine, at least 20lbs of acorn squash, 5lbs of cabbages, plus carrots, lettuce, and spinach, and the apples from two more trees (although not as productive as Alkemene). So maybe I'll hit 120lbs or so. Next year, I'm thinking 200lbs would be a good goal. But I think I'll go metric. 100kg? Adding up ounces and pounds is a royal pain, especially since I try to use a calculator as little as possible. Why? It keeps the little gray cells active.

I spent all day out in the yard yesterday. After the week of vacation, and a summer of general neglect, it was time to weed out the veg beds (400sq feet), and the herb beds. I accomplished quite a bit, and it should reduce the amount of weeding that I'll need to do once the rains come and all of the weed seeds germinate. One more day and I should have the edibles beds taken care of. I need to pull out the thyme and replace it, and totally get rid of the horehound. That stuff is nasty, and seeds itself all over the place. And since I've never actually used it, it'll make room for things I will use, like marjoram. I probably won't get to the front yard until after school starts, but we'll see.

I am a convert to mulching. I used some dry lawn clippings on half the carrots and some broccoli. The carrots on the mulched half were larger, and had fewer bug problems, and less weedy. The broccoli had been plagued by fluffy little evil wascawy wabbits. Apparently they don't like stepping on lawn clippings, because as soon as I put down a couple inches of grass, they left those broccoli alone. AHA! Now if I can just keep them away from the peas in the spring....

I know, put up a fence. But I don't want a fence, and the way the beds are set up - 4ft wide beds with 4ft wide path of grass in between - Mr. E wouldn't be able to mow. No, I'll just figure out other means, and keep chasing them off like Mr. MacGregor. I just need the coyotes to come back, and whoever keeps shooting them, to knock it off.

Last night I snuggled with the boys, and read three chapters of Pride and Prejudice to them. If Mr. E can corrupt their minds by introducing them to Rush's music, I can at least try to give them a little culture through good literature, right? They groaned about it before I started, but once started, didn't want me to stop. Thing 1 giggled over Mr. Bennet's comments about his wife and children. Thing 2 commented about the "bad" grammer. I'll see if they want me to read to them some more tonight. Now that there will be no more Harry Potter books, I'll need to find something else to read to them. I've read all of the HP books out loud to the boys, even when they were old enough to read them by themselves. I put in the voices for the characters, and they prefer my reading to the book-on-tape version, except for when my voice cracks during emotional scenes.

Mr. E did a wonderful thing last night. We were at a bookstore, and they had all these Jane Austen books in hardback. I've nearly worn out my Emma, and the others aren't going to last long. So I told him, for Christmas/birthday, I'd like the books in hardback. What do you think he did? Bought me one of each of the books they had to enjoy now! Awwwww. Thanks, honey! I'm missing Mansfield Park and Sense and Sensibility, but he said to order them online. Now I have reading material for cold, blustery nights.

Isn't that what fall is all about? Preparing for winter?

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