Last grasp at summer and signs of fall

Watermelon

I know it’s officially fall and all, but don’t tell my garden that. It decided to revive a mostly dead vine and grow a new watermelon. Okay, I’ll take it, even though it doesn’t really go with the rest of what I’m growing.

Fall Garden

And here is the current state of the rest of the garden. The two outer rows are collards, one Georgia collards and the other Carolina collards. What’s the difference? One’s from Georgia and one’s from the Carolinas! Ha. Really, I don’t know, but I couldn’t decide which ones were the taste we were looking for, so I planted both. We stopped trying to grow collards in the summer because a) the bugs EAT THEM UP and b) we prefer collards after they’ve been hit by the first frost of the season. Fall collards just taste better!

The row in the center is broccoli. I’m going to give up trying to grow summer broccoli because the bugs eat those up too. So I’m hoping I can get some fall broccoli since those darn bugs ate up the one broccoli plant that came up this summer.

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Rain, rain…

I fight a continuous battle with my feelings on rain.

When you start growing a lot of your own food, you want some rain. When it rains, you think, “Yay! Now I don’t have to go water the garden myself!” And seeing as how I just recently planted a bunch of collard and broccoli seedlings, I’m happy to let nature water them for me.

But then, inside, I’m really a sunshine kind of girl. I love warm, sunny days. I don’t like looking outside and seeing gray skies and mud everywhere.

But life on earth needs rain. I know that. I accept it. We have to have rain sometimes.

It’s just when it gets to be three days in a row of rain, it’s really hard to remain accepting and appreciative of rain. Especially since B’s job is dependent on non-rainy days. He works for a company that does concrete and soil testing at construction sites, so he works along with the construction crews. Which means that if it’s raining and the construction guys can’t do their job, then B can’t do his.

Which means we’re once again struggling to pay bills.

But on the plus side: we have plenty of food that I canned this spring and summer. We have a good supply of meat in the freezer right now. We can cut back on groceries this week to save some money. This is one of the reasons we grow our own food and why I preserve as much as I do, for the times like this that sneak up on us.

Beautiful chicken stock and homestead dreams

Chicken stock

Is it weird that the above picture makes me giddy? Freshly made chicken stock (in my vintage Pyrex, which also makes me giddy on its own), strained and ready to go into the refrigerator so the fat can congeal and be removed before I can the stock. This is what I think of when I think of my dream life furthering our homesteading goals: homemade chicken stock, nutritious soups, jars and jars of jams and fruits, chickens and goats and rabbits out in the yard.

We’re not all the way there yet in our dreams, but we’re working on it. I do can as much as possible each year–peaches, pears, jams, jellies, tomatoes, tomato soup, beans, corn, pickles–and many of the vegetables come from our own garden. We have the chickens and keep a supply of eggs from them. We’re planning to get meat rabbits, hopefully by next spring? And I’m trying to make as much homemade foods as I can. Which is why I spent the last few hours cooking chicken pieces and vegetable scraps on the stove.

I also made chocolate ice cream during that time. Not on the stove. In the ice cream maker. Just to be clear.

It’s a lot of work sometimes, but I do love this life!