TLDR; the deer, the cold, the party.
The harvest today took a long time, even though Kristin had done a ton of stuff yesterday to prepare. I knew Winter Was Coming, I’ve been blabbing about it since early August or so, but somehow, I still am not ready for this transition. The wood stove heat sure is nice though. Anyway, winter was the reason we were so long afield today, because we expect a hard frost tonight, and the sprawling squash is far too widespread to protectively cover … so we had to harvest it all to squirrel away in the greenhouse. And there was a lot of squirreling to be done! (ahh, abundance problems … somehow just as stressful as scarcity problems, despite the edible and obvious silver linings of having too much of the good things.)
Anyway we compromised and only hauled a dozen or so wheelbarrow loads of various squashes, focusing on the ones laying on the row covers, exposed to the open air and freezing vacuum of space we call the “sky.” The vines had traveled for an absurd distance, leaving fruits hidden through the lush weeds that surround the dried beans on the western edge of the field – those, we left in place for now, hoping the tall, thick weed cover would, in a spirit of co-operation, shield them from the worst of the night’s cold, holding the ground heat slightly in place.
It’s a good theory anyway, I’d like to report back next week and tell you that it worked wonderfully. We’ll see. Anyway we were out of time and he surfaces in the little greenhouse was filling up.
Of course, any squash that we leave in the field will become desirable wild critter fuel, and we really don’t need to provide them with anymore go power. We have labored for many hours this season to carefully grow a smorgasbord of delicacies for the local mammalians. We are trying to make it a little less appealing to the deer still this week. When the nights were still warm, we already had hundreds of feet of row cover fabric draped across the field – not as a defense against frost, but as a barrier for the midnight raiders. That’s the quiet part. We also set a motion sensor alert up in one of the more popular rows in the deer buffet – and so one to three times a night, I spring from the bed when that bell chimes, throwing on a bathrobe and a shotgun to stalk to the field and terrify the audibly-munching monsters into running away into the woods … for an hour or sometimes more. These things do not spook easily – the AM radio-listening mannequins and the previous jack in the box shotgun scare seem to have made them jaded, and insouciant. They’ve been warned now at least a dozen times, and none will blame us for wishing them to change their names from “deer” to “venison.” And toot sweet.
Well I had a lot more in mind to ramble on about but Widget heard a car and flipped out, waking up Jasper who had just fallen asleep – he was inconsolable until I took him on a walk to the greenhouse to close it up, preserving some of the sun’s warmth for tonight’s big chill n kill. We harvested some tomatoes that were just starting to ripen, to hide away in the root cellar where they might finish their ripening snug from the cold and safe from the voles.
Anyway, the farm party is this Sunday, and we hope to see you there. Enjoy your veggies, and stay warm and cozy tonight.
Inside Box 16
Tomatoes – at least one good ripe one, and nice firm one that will ripen over the course of the week.
Tomatillos – These are sometimes confusing for us northern folks to use, but don’t fret. You can make salsa verde, or roast them to make soup or enchilada sauce, and you’ll likely be glad that you did.
Winter squash – This week, a buttercup. If you want to stock up on more squash, consider buying some from us at the party? I have a feeling we will have a good supply available.
Bok choi – After losing the entire rainbow chard crop to involuntary wildlife tithing, we fought hard to keep this row undevoured – row cover saved the day.
Salad Turnips – edible greens and sweet, juicy roots.
Radishes – throw these greens in with your turnip greens. Note – don’t let the root veggies languish around the fridge with the leaves attached; this desiccates and rubberizes them in short order. Cut em off while you’re still thinking about it? The roots, fresh or roasted, are what scientists call ‘good.’