Week 17 – Autumn Arrives

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The week began warmly, with the first official day of Fall reaching almost 80 degrees – and it ended frostily, with a freeze last night, after the CSA harvest.

full moon over the processing area
full moon over the processing area

 

We haven’t been back to the Farm to take stock of the impact (and I’m sad we missed getting the traditional beautifully-melancholy photos of the first frost crystals on the field), but it sounds like we probably dropped down to at least 30 degrees, so many of the plants will be done for the year.

 

old Cleo can't get around easily at 15, but she still follows us around the outside of the field and keeps an eye on us - here, watching us cover up pepper plants
old Cleo can’t get around easily at 15, but she still follows us around the outside of the field and keeps an eye on us – here, watching us cover up pepper plants

 

Thankfully, the cold-sensitive tomatoes and basil were already kaput, we’d just harvested the last of the eggplant, and before we left to deliver boxes we covered up 400 feet of late-bloomer pepper plants with a gypsy assortment of bedsheets and used row cover material.

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As the plants slowed down, the workload didn’t – although last week was a pleasantly relaxing lull as the seasonal gears shifted, this week brought the reality of new work crashing home.

All week I’ve awakened (usually around 4am, and then again when the sun came up) with anxious awareness of just how much work there is to do before we head south for Winter – and how little time there is before that happens …

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The high tunnel project is moving along, but there is still much to do – and if it is not completed and inspected before we go, we lose the grant – and will have to spend ten thousand dollars. And I hope to design and build a rocket mass heater in the little greenhouse that will be ready to rock when we return in March, to keep next year’s seedling alive through the frigid nights of the winter/spring transition.

This week Kristin canned the last of the flawed tomatoes (so much BBQ sauce and ketchup!), and our intrepid musical WWOOFers B & Nora started tearing down and removing the tomato plants from the field.

In preparation for the oncoming cold, I decided to do a little chimey maintenance on the woodstove, thinking I’d replace the rusty external elbow pipe with a new clean-out “T” …

the exterior elbow was almost blocked with creosote flakes
the exterior elbow was almost blocked with creosote flakes

 

… however, once I pulled it apart and saw just how much creosote had built up in there (no WONDER the draft had been so fickle and weak this spring!), the “quick fix” project became an all-day affair of replacing the old entire single-wall pipe we’d been fortunate to have as a short-term solution with scavenged and donated triple-wall insulated pipe.

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The new chimney will not only have a much more effective draft, but will have a lot less condensation and creosote build-up … and now I’m excited to start using it, my previous firewood-hoarding drive be damned.

all done - topped off with the amazing milk can chimney cap from the ruins of Old Henry's place (where we got the car panel siding to build the Rust Shack)
all done – topped off with the amazing milk can chimney cap from the ruins of Old Henry’s place (where we got the car panel siding to build the Rust Shack)

Just ONE more box left after this! Ahh! It has been a simply gorgeous season – the most perfect summer I can recall … we feel so lucky that we’ve been able to spend it outdoors growing food for ourselves and you.

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Box 17

Kristin sez:

Acorn squash
These will store for about a month on your counter. They make cute edible serving dishes for soup or pilaf. Usually it’s best to roast them until they are just tender before filling. I love brown sugar or maple syrup with squash but savory preparations are great as well. This recipe for squash with kale and sausage caught my eye http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/acorn-squash-with-kale-and-sausage-51203850

Spaghetti squash
Wow. These did really well this year!

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They will also store about a month on your counter. Fritters?

Red kuri squashlarge shares only
Our first time growing these and we didn’t get many. A dry crumbly texture. Quite delicious.

Potatoes
We didn’t wash them this time. They store better that way. (And the water was very cold today.)

Eggplant
Last ones! We decided to harvest them all and not try to save the plants from frost. I plan on roasting mine over fire and making my favorite eggplant dish: baba ganoush.

http://www.food.com/recipe/baba-ganoush-the-best-in-the-world-67570

Salad turnips
Sweet and not too turnip-y. Definitely a nice addition to salad but also good to just chomp down raw.

Salad mix (lettuce, spinach, pea tips, mizuna, arugula, tat soi)
I put leftover dressed salad in a food processor and blended it into a pesto-like concoction that I then tossed pasta in. Not bad!

Cilantro
Guacamole.

Parsley

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Add to cream sauce.

Mustard greens
These are intensely peppery raw. I like it cut up as part of a salad. Cooking it may appeal to you more. You can prepare it as you would kale or collards. Sauté it with garlic, onions, soy sauce, chili flakes, and lime or lemon.

 

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3 thoughts on “Week 17 – Autumn Arrives”

  1. Once again beautiful photographs !
    We will all benefit from the High Tunnel ~ delicious vegetables will have a strong healthy start, and an extended season. Maybe the Potluck on Oct 11 – could be a fun ~ work day.
    Many hand make light work !

    1. See Gabe & Lady K… once again Marcie and I are on the same astral plain… even if it isn’t the 11th (I think before) let’s have an old fashioned green house build day. Hustle back and let’s do the 7th or 8th?!

      Paul

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