Autumn slipped away in the dead of the night, leaving behind the barren tree branches naked of their leaves. She blew a kiss farewell to all creatures who scrambled through the brush, the last call for foraging. And in the morning when the world awoke, their eyes were greeted by Winter. No time was wasted as she painted the world white, and the frigid chill in the air was a sure sign she was here to stay.
While we have definitely settled in here for the long haul of the Winter months on the farm, there was so much left of Autumn to share with everyone. So before the pictures of the snow fall appear, and we talk about wood fires and temperatures dropping to twenty below, let’s take a step back and recap October.
October was a busy month here on the farm as we played catch up from our September holidays. There was garden harvesting to be done, fall clean ups and animal prep for the cold to come.
Before we had left for the East, we had tarped over our tomatoes in the raised beds in a hopes that should there be frost while we were away, the tomatoes would be saved until we could return home to pick them. It worked! While most of the plants themselves had started to wilt and turn to brown, we salvaged the tomato fruits and laid them out to ripen on newspaper in the man room off the garage. It was a slow process, but I would say over half of what we picked turned to a brilliant red and was used up. Whether it be in a home cooked sauce, canned for salsa or even turned into chutney, we were lucky to not have them go to waste.
It wasn’t our best year for the garden by any means, but we learn and appreciate it even more for that. We had only a couple of zucchini survive, a handful of cabbage, some carrots and onions, a few cobs of corn and a couple of pumpkins. But let me tell you, we will never go hungry because can we ever grow potatoes! We had planted six rows of potatoes in their own area of the yard, and we couldn’t keep up with digging them out. I think its safe to say, we’ll be eating potatoes all winter.
Gardening doesn’t stop in the Fall either. It’s the opposite of Spring gardening when you are breaking the ground and getting ready for new life. In the Fall, you cut back the dead plants, spread your fertilizer source and let the Winter prepare the soil for new life again come spring. A day was spent cutting back flowers, hostas and grasses. Cutting everything back from little garden circle of happiness was bittersweet. I had so enjoyed the sunflowers and wildflowers that had grown over the Summer months. But even in the last breaths of life, wildflowers are just so beautiful. I am excited to see how the circle will grow and fill next season!
Fall brings with it some bittersweet moments on the farm as well. Since Spring we raised seven hogs who would be for butcher. While I go into each year knowing this, so far it hasn’t made the task any easier when butcher time comes. I spend my Summer months caring for the pigs, feeding them each morning and night, watching as they run about the wooded pen they had this year. I am so thankful that my freezer will be full for the season and that we have helped to also provide for our friends and family. But I don’t participate. Not yet anyways. Perhaps as the years go on that will change. But for now, I am just happy to know that I raised them with love and care and that there is now pork for a year in my freezer.
But that is why we have an array of animals here on the farm to love! We were on the ball this year and were able to get the chicken coop winterized before the snow hit. We cover the run of the coop with plastic for wind protection, run heat tape around the nesting boxes with insulation to cover and keep them toasty and have to plug in a heated waterer. We also have heated waterers for the pigs and donkeys which are plugged in as speak. The chickens have all been moved to one coop for the Winter season and we said goodbye to all of the roosters. The three little pigs have lots of straw in the Pig Haus to keep them warm and the donkey’s also have straw bedding laid down in their shelter. Everyone on the farm is ready for the cold and snow!
We’ve also been busy catching up on all of our Home Brews. We tried out first ever batch of apple cider, with apples we had collected over our holidays across Canada. It is now in bottles and should be able to taste test for Christmas! We also bottled our first batches of fruit wine, including one of rhubarb and one saskatoon berry. We sure are excited to try them out!
The chill in the air also means its time to get back into the knitting! If I am to have dishcloths ready for Christmas gifts its best to get a head start. I always have so much fun trying out new patterns and seeing how all the colours come together. Once I get a stash of dishcloths I am itching to get back to knitting my first pair of socks which are still on my circular needles from last winter. Who knows, maybe there will be time for a blanket or two , or even an attempt at a sweater! I’ve also got a new favourite spot for knitting, on my comfy cozy sheepskin rug by the wood fire. It was perhaps my favourite purchase of our whole holiday! I’m also trying out my hand with my new sewing machine and making my first ever quilt. Stay tuned for the final project!
For Thanksgiving we made a special trip with friends to the local corn maze. It was such a fun day of getting lost, sipping on hot chocolate and of course feeding all the animals at the petting zoo. And while we may have wound up stranded on the side of the highway in our friend’s “Wittalbego”, it honestly couldn’t have been a more fun day spent with any better people. If I was going to be stranded, it would be with them any day!
Halloween wrapped up the end of the month, and while we don’t get trick or treaters out in our neck of the woods, we always pop in to see our god son’s costume and drop off some halloween books. He was the cutest little troll and his mom Jackie put in lots of work to their costumes. I look forward to those days for us, especially incorporating the animals on the farm into the pictures. My mom even sent me some old photos of my kick ass costumes from when I was little, she did a great job too!
We look forward to a little quiet time here on the farm as we make our way into Winter. Everyone is ready for the cold and we can finally relax and enjoy each other’s company. With little projects here and there to finish up and the beginning of hunting season, I feel like this will be a great winter!