Monday, August 12, 2013

Catching Up

Goodness, I have so much to share with you.

The last few days have been a whirlwind of activity.
A quick 5:00 AM train trip to NYC with "the girls" on Thursday
had us exploring the West Village and the Flat Iron district.

We searched out the bakeries, Italian markets, and a trendy thrift shop.
We stuffed ourselves with Brooklyn bagels on the High Line 
(an elevated traintrack-turned-park)

and enjoyed a terrific authentic Italian lunch with wine.

We searched out the Victory Garden, a ice-creamery that serves
goats milk ice-cream made in the Middle Eastern tradition with a hint of floral and herbal essences.

In the middle of harvesting/food preservation season, a day exploring the city
was the pause that refreshed... despite the fact that we were all exhausted by the time
the train brought us back home at 11:00 PM.

Friday and the weekend brought a return to the garden,
where we busily harvested tomatoes

cukes, pattypan squash, acorn squash, peppers, cantaloupes, and pumpkins.

Saturday we picked blackberries and the last of our blueberries.

It's been a great year for berries with the copious rainfall we have received.

I have to tell you, I am a little confused by our weather.

As you can see, Saturday morning looked more like a September morn,
than an August one.

The air was cool and moist as we walked through the woods in search of berries.

Becky and Sid were practicing in the arena...
surrounded by fog.

Even the wild critters seem to be ahead of themselves a bit.
The swallows are flocking and the spiders have been busily spinning autumn webs,
as if Halloween is right around the corner.

Somebody loves photo-bombing!
By the end of Saturday we had 4 more jars of spaghetti sauce in the freezer,
(for a total of 22 quarts)
and mixed berry jam and hot pepper relish processed.

Hot pepper processing is a group effort.
Note the required attire...gloves and ski masks for the less seasoned pepper cleaners!

Sunday's task was garden weeding,

followed by ground cherry/orange jam preserving.

Mixed in with the kitchen chores was another goat moving.
We herded the fainters into the large pasture....

moved a couple of their houses...
 (in addition to the run-in shed that is already present in that pasture)

This field gives them lots of room to romp and graze...
a big change of pace from their smaller goat yards.

After that it was time to check the temperature of the compost/manure pile.

We have taken a rather scientific approach to composting.
The desired temperature of a compost pile is somewhere between
130 degrees and 180 degrees.
It needs to be 130 or above to kill weed seeds,
and under 180 to prevent killing bacteria, which is necessary for breaking down the compost.
When the temperature falls below 120-130, it is time to turn the pile with the tractor.

Optimally, your compost pile should be 40% green matter (grass clippings, veggie compost, etc.)
40% brown matter (wood chips, coffee grounds, etc)
and 20% manure.

While our pile is a little heavy in manure,
we are trying to introduce as much of the other organic matter as we can.
Hubbs plans to get even more scientific about his compost by
attending a course at the Rodale Institute this winter and studying our piles 
under his microscope.

Yep....that's my Hubbs... always approaching things scientifically!

Sorry this post was so long winded, but there was just so very much to catch up on!


  1. wow...quite a busy weekend. you got so much done! looks like we are in for so decnt weather for the next week!

  2. "Sorry this post was so long winded" - You are erring on the humble side, I say. Your entire Blog is a delightful gift. Thank you!

  3. Wow busy lady I bet you sleep soundly at
    Everyone needs a change and it looks like you had a terrific time.
    You nailed it..we are all talking about the weather!!! We "farmer" people are totally confused like everyone else. I saw a flock heading north last week..what is with that??
    Our barn swollows have a new batch of babies and I am sure are stressed that other birds are flocking.
    Very odd!!
    Your compost temperatures is so interesting. Looking forward to hearing how hubs makes out this winter with his course.
    Another misty morning and cool Rain coming later.
    Have a great day.

  4. Happy for your NYC day outing with the girls . . . and the "bits and pieces" you have been busy with since then. I enjoy visiting you and I am constantly amazed at all you accomplish!

    Happy Monday . . .

  5. A day in New York sounds delightful and it looks like you had good weather. I can't believe you had such a busy weekend at the farm and took the time to capture so many photos. Thanks for sharing it all with us!

  6. I didn't notice the long and windy for I was so engrossed in reading. Sounds like a fun break to the city! Always need a girl trip here and there to just giggle! All I can say is Miss Ambition!!! I would love to have your energy!! Hugs!

  7. Your trip sounds great! and you've accomplished so much over the weekend. Busy lady indeed!

  8. All that it 2 days !! Glad you had a good time in NYC..Looks like you may have eaten your way through...Good fun...Good to keep an eye on that pile !..Always a plan :)
    This summers weather has been the pits mostly..Saturday was it's hot again..Have a great week..

  9. My goodness you had a busy weekend! I got tired just reading about it all!.. New York looked fabulous! I had to laugh when I saw the photos with the hot peppers.. I can only imagine how much it would burn someone who's never done it before..Love everything you canned as well.. I envy you for your energy.. Thanks so much for sharing your weekend! :)

  10. Busy weekend you all had but sounds and looks like a fun one to ! Awesome photos and post ! Thanks for sharing ! Have a great day !

  11. Oh yes.. those jalapenos can do some damage to the eyes if you forget to wash your hands well and then scratch the corner of your eye. Very painful. Glad to see they are using gloves. xox

  12. Love those foggy morning shots! Glad you got away to see the sites and eat some super fabulous foods. You know how to do NYC!


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