Winter on the farmlet is peaceful. We do less, generally, and relax more. But in the months leading up to winter, there’s a lot to do, so it’s best to start early and space everything out. In this place, we live in two seasons simultaneously,
In the garden, the gorgeous – and enormous – stalks of Mexican Torch Sunflowers continue to bloom. These were a surprise, the only variety of sunflower that took root in the garden, out of the several types I planted. While they have dwarfed the fig tree they grow around, it seems to be alright under there. Butterflies seem to love them, so they will make a reappearance next year, although maybe next time I’ll give the fig some space.
I’ve got a few more weeks of tomatoes, and my Tomatillos are just starting to get ripe, so I have a bit more canning to do, but that too, is winding down. The rest of the pumpkins are almost ready too, and I’ll probably see a few more peppers as well. By around October 15th, I’ll be pulling out plants and prepping for next year. I love to garden, but I equally love putting the garden to bed for the season, just as much a pleasurable part of the rhythm of the year here as planting and harvesting. There’s a satisfaction in getting things ready for the next round.
This year that means we need to cut back and prune the overgrown raspberries, which have started to take over more than their share of the yard. I never did get to dividing irises and peonies, so that will have to be done next year. All over, it’s time to prune back the summer growth.
The chimney sweeps were here latst week, and a half a cord of seasoned firewood will arrive on Friday. The last chore in winter heating is furnace burner cleaning before we flick it on for the season. We can only supplement our heat with the wood stove, but it keeps the living room nice and cozy.
The bunnies will – when it gets good and cold, get a tarp over their hutch and run. I’ve tried a few options for insulation for them over the years, and that seems to be the simplest to keep them safe from wind and weather. We bring them in for a night or two if the weather gets dangerously cold, but generally they stay where they are.
We’ll keep cleaning the chicken coop as long as we can into the winter, and they will get a heat lamp and an electric waterer that keeps everything from freezing. Eventually though, we have to let it be until spring, other than surface cleans. Extra pine shavings laid down every few weeks help, but it gets hard to clean in the coldest weather.
I will also fill the freezer so that we don’t have to go out when the weather is bad. I’ve got a few months to do it. It’s interesting, always living in the now and 3 months ahead, but it’s the only way I ever want to be. When I’m blanching and freezing kale in June, or canning tomatoes in August, it’s an investment in the future. I’m ready for chilly nights, and when they come, I’ll be daydreaming about the next garden….