It's fall now, and things are finally calming down around here. Summer is always a crazy time, working on the homestead, and keeping the broom shop alive simultaneously. It can be quite a balancing act, gardening, foraging for broom sticks, preserving food for winter, cutting firewood, and of course, filling orders from our wonderful customers!
We planted our garden a little later this year, about the first part of June. We have cold summer nights, frequently down to 38F, and a short growing season. Really, it can frost just about any time in the Okanogan Highlands. But this year the #1 annoyance turned out to be pocket gophers. Gophers apparently love carrots, because they ate 3 long rows of Nantes while we were asleep. They next started nibbling on bush beans, which luckily didn't taste as good as the carrots!
It's always amazing the yields we can get from our big patch of weeds come harvest time. Our spud patch gave us 300 lbs. of Yukon Golds, Kennebecs, and German Butterballs. The yellow onions were small, yet plentiful and tasty. The greenhouse kept us provided with ripe Early Girl tomatoes. We have canned fruit from local orchards, and put away everything we've grown in our own garden this year. It's a low paying job, that gives you a glowing sense of satisfaction.
We are gathering firewood now, knowing winter isn't too far away. The fall rains will turn to snow, and the ground will freeze hard as a rock - so we gotta keep moving until the woodshed is full to the brim. How well we enjoy working outside in the forested hills, where we find plenty of dry Douglas fir, lodepole pine, tamarack, and some Englemann spruce for the broom shop stove. By now we have most of the wood we need to get through winter, but would like a couple "insurance cords" before the roads turn to ice!
We know it's fall around here by the signs. The aspens are already showing signs of blaze yellow color. The turkeys, quail, ruffed grouse are congregating by the creek. Even our young whitetail deer friends Fuzzy & Wuzzy came home after venturing all summer in the higher hills. It's easy to become overwhelmed with gratitude this time of year. Fall might just be my favorite season of all.