Monthly Archives: October 2015

Another Thing To Do With Pumpkins

Probably the most common thing people do with pumpkins is make jack-o-lanterns, and we are no exception. Our Halloween celebrations have changed over the years, from going to the orchard to pick pumpkins out of the field, and dressing the kids in the costumes of their choice for trick-or-treat, and passing out candy to a hundred+ kids in our community, sometimes even in costume ourselves, and one time even making a haunted deck; to the kids now being grown and moved away. There are very few trick-or-treaters in our community now, so we don’t buy several big bags of candy to pass out, and we didn’t make the expensive journey to the pumpkin field at the orchard. We did however carve jack-o-lanterns.

Our pumpkin field produced a few nice jack-o-lantern pumpkins this year so we selected a couple that we wanted to save the seeds from. Last night my husband and I carved our pumpkins.

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My husband set things up in the living room. Set up also included a fire burning in the fireplace, a Carpenters CD playing, and he with a whisky and water and me with a limon’ and coke. I do believe this is the first time we ever carved pumpkins in the living room – my how things change when the kids are grown.

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Scout got curious and decided to join us. Trooper decided to stay elsewhere, as he does not like the cracking sounds the fire makes.

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My husband decided Scout should have some treats.

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The trick was how fast Scout could eat them.

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I thought our jack-o-lanterns turned out cute. Mine of course was the female looking one, while his was the masculine one. We didn’t plan it, but I though it was cool the way they appear to be looking at each other.

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We decided that they should have a toast.

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Then we turned off the lights and let them do their thing.

A fun night it was. They are lighting the living room again this evening and will probably remain there until Halloween.

The Missing Pictures

You may have noticed that my recent blog posts have been missing pictures, especially the series on garlic planting. The truth is that my camera was missing. For several weeks I could not find it. I looked over and over, in all of the obvious places and then in the not so obvious places. I looked everywhere, but I could not find it. Finally my husband decided that we would buy me a new one. Our plan for last Wednesday was a date night, shopping for a few items that we needed, including a camera, then dinner at our favorite restaurant, Carrabba’s.

Wednesday morning, as I was dreading shopping for a new camera, (I hate shopping, especially for technology type things) I realized that I was missing something else, my crochet bag. It is a burlap bag that I keep my crochet project in. I remembered the last time I took it somewhere, and it was around the same time that I remembered seeing my camera last. Well hmmm, where-oh-where could it be. I was no longer searching for the camera, but now I was searching all the obvious places and then the not so obvious places for my crochet bag. Ah Ha! there it was, tucked away, in a not so obvious place – a corner of a shelf behind soap making stuff, and yes my elusive camera was in the bag.

As grateful as I was for the finding it, and for the timing of the find, I could not help but analyze how these things became missing. My first thought was, “who put that bag there, I would not have put it there.” After thinking about it for a while, here is what I believe happened. I took my crocheting with me one day while I was tending our farm wagon, so I would have something to work in between serving customers. Upon returning home, I grabbed the bag to carry it in the house, without thinking about it, I put my camera, that also needed to be carried in the house, in the crochet bag to make things easier. When I got in the house I dropped the bag in a corner in the living room, to be dealt with later, and I went on to do other things.

A few days later, I believe my husband was vacuuming the living room, I remember him picking up the bag and saying, “Oh, that’s your crocheting,” I think he put it back where it was. At this point, I think, I decided to get the bag out of his way, so I picked it up and instead of putting it in it’s normal place, which is next to my recliner in the living room, because it would still be in his way as he vacuumed, I mindlessly tucked it in an out of the way spot.

Fortunately this was just a little incident, and it worked out well without me even spending more money on a camera, but it has made me think about how often we get busy and just do things without thinking about our actions, we forget where we put things, we lock our keys in the house or the car, we leave our head lights on and run our batteries down, and while these examples may be frustrating and time consuming, they have little other consequence. However it is this same mindless action that could cause someone to leave something on the stove and cause the house to burn down, or leave a child closed inside a hot car with potentially deadly consequences. The act of rushing through things, of not paying attention to what I am doing could have serious consequence. So, I have decided it is time to slow down, to act intentionally, and to pay attention to what I am doing. To quote my husband, “take care of the small things and the big things will take care of themselves.”

Although I don’t have any photo’s of the actual planting these photos might give you an idea of what we did.

The 2015-2016 garlic field planted and mulched.
The 2015-2016 garlic field planted and mulched.

This is the area where we planted around 5000 garlic cloves. It may not look very big for that much garlic, but I have read that one acre can grow 30,000 to 40,000.

The lattice grid that we use for panting garlic 4 rows at a time.
The lattice grid that we use for panting garlic 4 rows at a time.

This piece of lattice is what we put down on the ground, as our grid, we plant only in the rows that have 4 spaces across. With my husband on one side and me on the other we each do the two rows closest to us. Then we move this piece of lattice to the next part of the row and do it all over again. Each time we complete one lattice (grid) we have put in 64 cloves.

Our garlic plating tools.
Our garlic plating tools.

The sticks in the above photo are what we use to poke holes in the ground, through the lattice, to put the cloves in. My husband cut these for us last year when the soil was wet and clumpy. They make a hole that is just the right size and depth for planting the garlic clove. When they are not being used for planting garlic, they are at home, on display, in our living room, so we know where to find them next year.

The back field is mowed.
The back field is mowed.

This is the back field that I spent about a total of 4 hours, over a two day period, cutting with the tractor and brush hog.

Until next time 🙂

Other Things We Have Been Up Too

My husband made a comment the other day that, “we must have the cleanest kitchen in the county.” I don’t think this comment was because our kitchen looks that clean, but probably because he has seen me cleaning it so much. The reason I have been cleaning it so much is because I have been using it so much. In just one day last week I put a roast with veggies in the crock pot, then I started a pot of soup that would be for the following days dinner. I then made a batch of soap (pumpkin spice), cleaned some beeswax, then made some pumpkin bread. In between each task I was washing, drying and putting away dishes and wiping down counters. After all was said and done I cleaned the floor and of course took out the trash. There have been several days this week that my kitchen has been busy like this, cleaning beeswax, making face, hand and body balms or lip balms, cooking squash or pumpkins for eating, freezing, making pies, bread, and most recently pumpkin fruit leather in the food dehydrator, as well as cooking three meals a day and canning the left over vegetable soup. The clean-ups continue between each task, but no, I don’t believe I have the cleanest kitchen in the county, and I don’t believe I would want to. If I were to see a perfectly clean kitchen I would think that it is simply a show case, and not used for so many practical purposes as mine.

The other thing I have been experimenting with is candle making. I plan on posting about this soon.

While I’ve been busy with all of my kitchen projects, my husband has been tending to the farm. He finished the harvesting of the pumpkins and squash, the peppers, eggplant, cabbage, carrots and swiss chard. He brought in several truck loads of horse manure to be spread in the gardens before he puts in the winter cover crop. He also checked all of the bee hives. We lost one. We are not certain why, but the hive was completely empty when he checked it. He took one full box of honey from one hive, and since it does not have frames we will harvest (package) this as honey in the comb. He decided to leave each hive with an addition box full of honey for the winter. In the spring, when the bees begin making food again, if there is honey leftover we will harvest it then.

Until next time 🙂

A Day On The Tractor

I’ll be adding another post soon, but today I plan on being on the tractor mowing the field. It’s time to cut it now that the frost has killed off the wild flowers, so the bees are not in there foraging. I haven’t had much time on the tractor this year and I miss it. So I am looking forward to today. 🙂

WOO HOO! The 2016 Garlic Crop Is Planted

The sun was shining, the wind was blowing, the ground was dry, our minds were set on getting the rest of the garlic planted, and thank God our bodies did not object. Monday morning turned out to be the perfect time to get the rest of the garlic in the ground. Oh how happy we are to have this done, and how thankful we are that the weather has been so perfect for this task. Last year we learned how difficult this job can be when the ground has excessive amounts of moisture (can you say mud), and in past years we have learned how physically challenging it can be to our bodies (both now in their 6th decade) when we were working under the gun (marathon planting) because my of husbands limited time at home. So, with 5000+ cloves in the ground, I say WOO HOO! and Thank God! the garlic is in, and now we can move on to other tasks.