Sometimes I feel like I am part squirrel during the autumn months. I know it isn't technically fall yet, but that doesn't keep a farm from having "fall-like" chores. I couldn't choose topics specifically on this blustery afternoon, as the variety of things we have going on here is just too diverse! Introducing my life this weekend in pictures:
First up, potatoes. The kids and I dug up the potatoes in the patch this weekend. I leave them sitting out on a table for a few days (no washing the dirt off) so that they "cure" for winter storage. This conglomeration of starchy yumminess will last us through the holidays for sure.
I must mention that when you dig up potatoes, it's fairly certain that you will hit a few with the shovel as you work. I seemed particularly on target this weekend slicing and dicing several, so we are having potatoes for dinner tonight. It is important to not have any cuts or bruises on the potatoes you plan to store because they will rot all the others. This inspection takes time, but it is well worth the effort to have your own potatoes through the winter months.
Next up- meal prep. I cooked and prepped a ridiculous amount of food this weekend! I can't tell you how much stress this saves during the week when meals are ready to go. These burritos are an easy warm up in the morning as we race to school and work.
I stick extras of these meals in the freezer and just pull them out when we need them. Making lunches can be exhausting, stressful and expensive unless you think ahead.
Next- seed saving. I told you I was a squirrel right? I save all kinds of seeds as they turn on the flower heads. After they dry, I put them in ventilated containers and stick them in the refrigerator. This is called "stratification." It is like simulating winter for the seeds. I pull them out of the fridge when I am ready to plant.
The honey bees love the sunflowers that line the gravel driveway to our house. We have hundreds of sunflowers along the lane. I purchased these little mesh bags from the Dollar Store to help salvage the seeds from the eager birds visiting the bee garden. The bags allow the air to flow and dry the heads while protecting the heads from hungry birds. There are PLENTY of left over seed heads for our feathered friends and I will enjoy using the seeds next year in the garden. The seed heads in the bucket will dry in the basement this winter and guarantee a pretty garden next year!
The pumpkins along the lane are changing colors with the seasons. The honey bees have worked their magic pollinating carving pumpkins, gourds and all sorts of zucchini plants. This harvest will come in a few weeks (hopefully) as the first frost settles in. Besides the pumpkins, we have grapes, peppers and tomatoes left on the list to harvest and tuck away. It's a good thing that work gives us a break from farming during the week right?