"Commentary from the Countryside"
Thoughts on current events,
history, homesteading, preparedness, real food, and anything else I find interesting, from a cranky, middle-aged woman's common-sense perspective.

Friday, October 10, 2014

A Little Before and After

Can't believe it's October already.  I think it's my favorite month of the year - I love all of it.  The crisp, cool air, my neighbor's tractors roaring through the harvest, colors, football, geese flying overhead, their mournful calls echoing, and most especially the colors.  I can't imagine living where the maples and beeches and poplars don't burst into flames every fall.  We took advantage of it all by spending last weekend exploring the Houghton and Higgins Lake area, getting the truck muddy on the trails.

Got myself into a bit of heat exhaustion early in the summer, coupled with accidentally exposing myself to chlorine gas when trying to fix the pool pump.  So I've spent most of the summer sort of dragging my tail feathers with little energy to care for the homestead, or write, or can tomatoes. God was watching over me, though.  The chlorine incident could have been much worse.  And I'm feeling better now.

The garden this year was Not Good.  All was going well, even though I didn't know for sure exactly what plants I had in the ground, due to an unfortunately windy day and a failure on my part to properly secure my little greenhouse.  I came home from work to find it toppled over, all the little transplants tumbled in a heap.  I was able to re-pot many of them, however in the jumble it was impossible to know if I had Mortgage Lifter or Amish Paste, yellow squash, or zucchini.  But everything rooted well and grew quickly.  This little greenhouse was only $20.00, and was perfect for hardening off my transplants.  Properly secured against the wind I'd say two or three of these little portable units would be a great investment for folks with a small garden.  I've seen them in garden catalogs for well over $60.00, so make sure you shop around.
Some of the survivors.
I am glad I used the landscaping fabric, it made a world of difference in weed control and it didn't take much time at all the keep the plants weed-free.  The fence kept out those pesky rabbits and my beans were safe.  Everything was going well, until I made an impulse buy, late in the season, of a lonely little pumpkin plant outside local store.  It just looked sad, so I brought it home and put it in a corner of the garden.  Three weeks later I realized it had been mislabled.  Four weeks later I realized my adopted warty squash plant had brought in diseases, and my giant, happy spaghetti squash plant in the opposite corner of the garden died within a week, despite my efforts with anti-fungal soaps.  Then the tomato plants went.  Sigh.  However I did get a good bean harvest and I'm still digging potatoes and carrots.

Coming into the fall and winter I'm glad to finally have one of my on-going projects completed.  The window quilts for the living room are done, and hung in the windows.  I completed the pieced front, and then got blanket fleece in hunter green for the backs.  A friend at work used her long-arm quilter to do the seams for me, and I sewed rings along the outside edges for the cording.  It runs through the rings and across the top of the window in small eye bolts screwed into the trim.  When I pull the shades up I simply wrap the cording around a cleat screwed into the wall to keep the shades at whatever height I like.  I didn't want rings right down the center for a cleaner look from the outside, however there was an un-expected bonus - when I pull the shades up, instead of staying straight across like a roman shade, they 'pouf' into an attractive arc in the window.

Well, that's the updates, my friends.  I hope all of you have plenty of food put up for the winter and that you see God's blessings every day.

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