Sunday, September 28, 2014

Feeling like a squirrel

I’m not running up and down trees (yet) but putting food away for the winter makes me think that I may have some character traits in common with squirrels.  I know, squirrels are not popular critters with many folks due to their chattering and penchant for destruction, but you have to admire their industriousness, at least I do.  And they are cute…  Here’s what we are up to at Ole Lake Farm this week.

Beans:  Remember the Jacob’s Cattle Beans?  I finally got them shelled.  I love how they look!  (photo below) Not a bumper crop, but enough to plant next year, save a jar for the County Fair next summer, and cook up a batch. 

Spuds:  Kurt dug the potatoes this week.  We are big fans of this tuber around here, and if we had better storage for them we would grow more.  Some might say that there’s not much difference between a homegrown spud and a store-bought one, but I would disagree with that.
A few red potatoes for fall and winter enjoyment
Tomatoes:  Made more tomato sauce yesterday.  I was able to procure some paste tomatoes from Ole’s Farm, an Aitkin Farmer’s Market vendor so today there was a lot of slicing and dicing to transform them into salsa.  There are as many salsa recipes out there as there are salsa makers, and maybe easier methods.   I make it chunky, which makes it fairly labor intensive.  The finished product makes it well worth the effort.  By the way, there is only one more week for the farmer’s market in Aitkin, so I will encourage all you locals one more time to stop in and support the growers.

Awesome pasters
Plums:  A co-worker shared some plums with me this week, so I canned some plum syrup today.  We are not much for jelly or jam around here, but it’s nice to have some fruit syrup as an alternative for pancakes, and as a basis for making sweet-and-sour sauce.
Beans!  Salsa! Plum syrup!

Peppers:  More slicing and dicing for the freezer.

Field and Forest:  Rollie, Ardis, and Kurt have been working on getting up the winter’s supply of wood.  The outdoor furnaces that keep both of our homes warm (and by both I mean our house here at Ole Lake Farm, and The North House, where Ardis and Rollie live) have voracious appetites, and in case we have another harsh winter like the last, we need to be ready.  Kevin has been plowing and discing with whatever time he can scrounge.  He reports that it's pretty dry out there.

Apples:  Kevin and I visited Gilby’s Orchard this morning.  Locals, if you haven’t been there, you should visit.  They have more than just apples (even  honey, which has been a little scarce locally), and today they even had Northwood’s Pizza there making wood-fired pizza’s in their portable set-up.  It was really neat.  They were baking up a breakfast pizza for someone else, and boy did it look and smell good!!!  Anyway, I picked up some apples and next weekend I will be making applesauce.

Chickens:  The deed is done.  Some of my older hens, and the young cockerels were delivered to Wellspring Farm yesterday, and picked up on ice.  For me, this is a sad occasion.   I can and do say to other folks how they had a good life here, were treated well, and this is not a bad way for them to go, and that is true.  I still feel a little pang saying good-bye to those old girls. 

Future soup and hotdish
So, all in all, a pretty full week-end!

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