Late Summer Musings

Summer is nearly over and I’m not ready. I’ve been canning beans, turning out quart after quart of chicken stock, blanching and freezing corn, making peach jam and apple syrup (it was supposed to be jelly, but…) and I still have 15 pounds of blueberries in the freezer to process. The beans are still growing faster than I can pick them and the tomatoes are piling up in the freezer, waiting for a moment when I can tackle making gallons of marinara.

The fruit trees in the orchard have mostly given up their goods, although the Italian Plum still has some lovely fruit on it and the Quince and Fig trees aren’t quite ready for harvest. The peppers in the greenhouse got a terribly late start but hopefully will produce for a while, since they’re protected from frost. The grapes are ready, as well!

Table grapes

Other projects have been slowly getting accomplished, as well. We got the roofs of two of the goat shelters replaced with shiny new corrugated metal and roof mastic painted onto the other shelters will prolong their life spans. As long as I was doing those, I went ahead and painted the roof of my horse trailer and our 45 year old camper, which at this point is a bit of a rolling museum! They sure don’t make them like they used to.

Circa 1975

The roof panels reclaimed from the goat shelters are going to be repurposed into raised beds and the fall crops of turnips, beets, kale, and other greens are already started, just awaiting transplanting. This will be the first time I’ve ever attempted a fall garden and I’m very excited to see how they do, especially since my spring turnip crop was all but decimated by root worms. Now I know about those!

The goats are beginning to show signs of winter coats growing in. The kids are nearing weaning age, and soon Jax will be starting his career as a herd sire, first for Akyla Farms, then coming home to our does. Linus will get one more chance with Sabrina before being retired to freezer camp. With the onset of weaning, I’ll be able to keep more milk from Sabrina and Alliekat and begin turning out a lot of cheese! I’m setting myself a goal of turning out at least one cheese every 2 weeks for as long as the milk holds out.

Our truck was out of commission for over a month with needing the transfer case rebuilt but now we have it back and I can start bringing in woodchips for the chicken coop, goat pens, and mulching the strawberry patch. I use them to bury last seasons plants and next seasons grow right up through them. Every year, my strawberries take over more of the beds around the greenhouse and produce more berries-a good problem to have!

Soon it’ll be time to start closing up the house, as I leave the windows open all summer long to the fresh breezes, and giving everything a thorough cleaning. Housework tends to get away from me when it’s nicer outside! A lot of weekends have been used up on time-consuming (but important) projects and I’m looking forward to just throwing my kayak in the water and paddling off without feeling guilty.

I’m hoping to get more soaps made this fall, as well as get something going on the site to sell them so stay tuned for that, and soon, I’ll be showing some ways to eliminate using toxic cleaners in the home. I just need to grab a few more beans first!

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We are a small homestead in the foothills of the North Cascades in Washington state. We breed goats for milk, cheese, and soap; keep chickens, ducks, and geese; and grow our own fruits and vegetables. Read more…

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