This past weekend found us hiking in the mountains outside of Westcliffe, CO. The high-country autumn colors are just beginning, but are so glorious! I think this weekend and the next one will be really a show of color.
The marmots were keeping a close eye on us as we walked the trail past their homes. This fellow looks like a miniature bear sitting there in the rocks, but no, it was really a very vocal marmot. I really like these critters.
I harvested some clusters of ponderosa pine needles on that hike, which I will use to make another pine needle basket sometime this winter. Here is a picture of those needles and you can see a small pine needle basket I made some years ago. It is a pleasant task to weave a pine needle basket, but it takes a lot of time, so I’ll wait for a good snow storm to work on that project.
Some other signs of autumn here at the farm are the birds that arrive this time of the year and stay through the winter months like this downy woodpecker. There were two scuttling up and down the pear tree trunk outside my office window a couple of days ago.
This past Tuesday evening I gave a presentation to the Horticultural Arts Society. There was a good sized crowd that turned out and we talked about herbs that have special needs when it comes to growing them, plus how to use them. Here I’m talking about Lemon Grass, which is a delicious tea and culinary herb. Use it in soups and stir-fry, or generously in a noodle bowl.
Today found me again putting up loads of tomatoes, peppers and squash from the garden. I was able to freeze a few raspberries too for later use this winter. Before I even had my breakfast I was cooking big kettles of spaghetti sauce, making fresh salsa, and a pot of cowboy chili. I used up a half bushel of tomatoes doing that, but if the weather holds there will be twice that many more tomatoes by the end of the weekend. I’m in gratitude to have all this good garden harvest to fill the pantry. Growing your own food garden translates to groceries all year, which is never a bad thing.
On the greenhouse front, we have finished potting up most of the new stock plants, and I’m nearly done with my major cleaning projects. Next week we will hope to get the supply barn organized and cleaned up so that it will be ready when supplies start arriving for next spring’s inventory. I have loads of clay pots to wash before they can be re-used, so I work on that a little bit just about every day. Scrubbing clay pots is heavy work and it is hard on arthritic hands, but it still must be done, so a little at a time works.
Lizz got all the planting done in the gardens…thank you very much Lizz! There is still some gardening work to be done, but at this time of the year we start to not fret so much about it. We’ll work on it as time allows and enjoy all the autumn colors that will soon overtake the farm gardens, flower field, and trees. What a glorious time the autumn is!!
Elisa has been working on caulking the outside of the greenhouse end walls, which is a pretty big task too. She is doing a great job and it’s going to look really nice when it is all done.
This plant is called Desert Bird of Paradise, and the hummingbirds love it. It is in our south bird garden and really only started to flower a couple of weeks ago. That is quite late compared to normal. The hummingbirds should be starting to think about making their trip south now for the winter, but with flowers like this still blooming around the farm, those little birds are hesitating to start their migration journey. I hope they hit the road soon, because its starting to get cold here at night…last night was 37 degrees…too cold for little hummingbirds to be very comfortable I should think.
Chris continues to work daily on bringing in the seed harvest. The flower seed crops are behind schedule this year due to the cooler than usual summer temps. There are a lot of crops that are still in the flower stage and haven’t yet begun to form seed. That makes us just a little bit nervous as we hope there won’t be a hard frost here for some time to give those seed crops time to finish out.
Recently, I wrote a little piece for the Storey Publishing September Newsletter about drying rosemary and also making rosemary herbal honey. Here is the link if you would like to read that newsletter. Beyond my bit, the whole newsletter is quite fun. Check it out…
With Green Thoughts, Tammi