Delicious Autumn

[Previous Rural Farmgirl, June 2010 – January 2012]

It’s that way this autumn on the farm. Delicious. The weather, harvest, the sunlight… the whole lot of it. In addition to being my favorite time of year, it’s the time of year when things are busiest – lambs to market, garden (or what little of it there is this year) to preserve, school begins, a cow to breed, horses to ride. Come with me as we take a look around…

“Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it,

and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.”

– George Eliot

It’s finally, “officially,” autumn on the farm. The time when we literally and figuratively see the “fruits of our labors.” The light during the day just has that “autumn-ness” to it. I know there was a poet who wrote about the “certain slant of light,” and that’s just what I mean.The way it meets you across a field instead of shines down on you, I guess… And the crispness in the air – that little nip of cold, even in the warm light. OH, how I love it!

Come and take a walk – let me show you around…

One of the most colorful things around are the little amaranth flowers that didn’t *ahem* get nearly enough water this year. They are in bloom. Small, but lovely all the same. And while we’re looking at the flowers and garden, I’ll tell you a little bit about what’s been going on around here. The boys and I were sick for a while – and then my little “cold” grew into pneumonia – which set me back for a little while, but, now, all’s well. Evelyn, the fabulous milk cow, has gone to, as Arthur says, “get a husband,” and she’ll be back as soon as we’re sure she’s bred (or at least as sure as we can be without a test. I miss her mooing around here. She’s such a fixture.

And watch out for these two boys – getting muddier and muddier during the last water turn on the pasture. I let them take full advantage of the mud, and, as you might imagine, they did. This was one of the few times that they have actually needed to be hosed off outside and carried straight to the tub.

Come around to the garden part of the “yard” and check out the firewood fence that we’ve built up over the years. We heat mostly with wood, and so it’s important to have at least one winter’s supply, if not two, on hand. The “fence” is full and long for the upcoming winter. I feel so warm inside just looking at it. It’s really quite large- it goes around our driveway and lines a section of the yard. My photo really doesn’t do it justice. It’s beautiful, and Justin has put so much work into it. I LOVE it!

Speaking of the garden area, the green tomatoes are still ALL OVER my plants. I am just wondering when I should start picking and pickling them instead of waiting for them to ripen. I pickled some last year and we loved them – definitely a thing to try if you have a bunch of small green tomatoes sitting around.

Our big “seedflowers,” as my boys call the large sunflowers, are hanging their heads, ripening and drying. I always think it’s amazing that the sunflower stalk can hold flower head that large. It seems almost physically impossible – sort of like a bumblebee flying.

Across the path, the grape leaves are turning such pretty colors. Our little vineyard is just getting started, and we have a lot to learn – there isn’t a season of the year, however, that I think a grapeving isn’t wonderful to look at.

Over there is this year’s garlic harvest, all cured and ready for sale. Aren’t they lovely? We had a very good year with the garlic – it grew well, and we planted plenty of it. What an amazing crop. One of things I love about it is that it’s planted in the late summer/autumn. That way, when we’re so busy in the spring with lambs and planting, it’s already starting to grow, as if by magic! I got the seedstock from our very own MaryJane, and it hasn’t let me down. This is its fifth year growing for me.

Here are the handles of all of the hand tools around here, oiled and ready to be put away for the winter. Well – I’ll bet we will use them a bit more before they go into their final hibernation, but they’re all set to go! I forget just how nice newly oiled wood looks. In fact, I do believe that newly oiled old wood looks as good (if not better!) than brand new wood.

Now, then, come into the kitchen so I can show you what I’ve been working on. The kitchen is the busiest room in the house regularly, and in the autumn, it bumps up a notch to “crazy-busy.” In addition to doing my best to make the most of farm-fresh meals, I’ve been going nuts with canning beans, pears – now peaches – and tomatoes. This is my first year pickling garlic, however, and I’ll report back when I open the first jar.

Thank you all so much for coming over! I can’t wait to hear about autumn at YOUR place.

I hope that your entry into this autumn is easy as the dropping of a leaf, as exciting as the snap in the air and as comforting as your favorite sweater.

Wishing you good health, happiness and a great big farmgirl hug…

Libbie

Leave a comment 0 Comments

  1. Margie Smith says:

    Hi Rene,
    Autumn here in my part of West Virginia is usually very pretty. This year the colors are slow turning and not very bright. But I like it anyway. No humidity!!!! The air just feels like fall. I don’t have a garden but flower beds are ready to put to sleep till spring. Then as the trees start to bud and wild flowers show their colors, I think my favorite season. Oh then there is the first snow, how pretty, forgetting all else. So do I have a favorite season, I think not. I can find something good in all seasons. Keep on blogging, I enjoy learning about other people.

  2. Shery says:

    Pickled garlic…oh I bet they’re good. I really enjoyed the tour. Yes, the slant of light…so comforting and inspiring. Happy Fall to you too.

  3. Tammie says:

    Hi Libbie,
    Thank you for the invite. I always enjoy reading your post.
    To tell you the truth I am a bit jealous of your canning skills. I was not raised in the country and have no idea how to can. I would love to learn one of these days though.
    Autumn is my favorite time of year and this year we moved to this little house with the creek right out my back window. We are still in town but it doesn’t seem like it.
    The house sale finalized in April so it was too late to plant anything so come spring I have every intention of going crazy with planting.
    I went to the local pumpkin patch and bought some, all sizes… placed them along the creek bed, in front of my porch and even in two planters along with gerber daisies and pansies. Looks lovely.
    Anyway, thank you for sharing your life with us. I always feel comforted afted reading your post.
    Have a wonderful fall!
    Tammie

  4. Brandy Lovell says:

    Thank you for that wonderful tour of your autumn garden and home! It warms me to know that there is another farm girl (and family) out there doing about the same thing we are here.
    (my tomata’s were still green too!)
    Can’t wait to hear how your pickled garlic turned out. MMmm.. sounds so good!
    We’ve just started on the garlic adventure. Hopefully we can get ours to grow! =0)
    Again, Thank You, I’ll be back to visit soon! Happy Autumn!

  5. SuburbanFarmgirl says:

    Wonderful closeups, and wonderful G. Eliot quote! Autumn in suburbia looks similar, only ha ha it all CAME FROM farms like yours!

  6. Thanks for the walk-about on your farm Libbie! I absolutely love October. Here in Missouri the leaves are beginning to turn and the when that late afternoon sun hits the woods, the sumac looks like it is on fire! On my birthday (the 9th) I took a walk through those woods and came home with materials for a fabulous wreath that now hangs at my door.
    I have already put up all my green tomatoes: relish, pickles (sweet and dilled) and surprisingly good Raspberry Green Tomato Jam (made with green tomatoes, raspberry jello and sugar).
    The most conforting sights in the whole world are a barn full of hay, a basement full of freshly canned produce and a BIG woodpile. Wish I could send you some pictures.
    Happy Harvest!

    Kathy at Herbal Maid Fiber Farm

  7. Rhonda says:

    Thank you for letting us peek into your world. :o) Your jar labels are wonderful. I just write on the top of my jar lids. I am lazy and don’t want to have to wash the labels off the following year. :o) Like you, fall is my favorite time of the year. Like the garden and everything else, I am ready to rest. :o) I find myself turning my thoughts to the inside and what I will do to occupy my time during the winter, knowing that come January, I will be thinking about gardening once again. My husband started beekeeping with two hives this spring and we find ourselves thinking about adding chickens and a couple of calves to our little piece of land, 2 1/2 acres. More than enough to keep us busy. I love reading the different blogs, gleaning information and ideas from you all. I don’t know how you find the time to do all that you do but keep up the good work. :o) Thank you once again. Rhonda, Prosser, WA

  8. Amanda says:

    What a wonderful "trip" around your farm!! Thank you. Today I finished a batch of Green Tomato Ketchup. It’s delicious and I’d be happy to share the recipe. Just another use for those green tomatoes. (I’m not much of a pickling girl!)

  9. Jeannette Guerra says:

    Oh, thanks for the tour, it is beautiful. I love the picture of the boys playing in the water. I remember when my son was about eight and he was playing in the dirt making a road in my soon to be garden. The next thing I knew the whole neighborhood was there joining in the muddy fun!!!! Haa, haa!!!! Kids and dirt just go together!!!

  10. claudia says:

    Love all that you say. since I live in Panguitch I relate to all your joys! wood piles are the only thing I actually "covet". good for you!

  11. Cynthia Riegle says:

    Loved reading about autumn on your farm. I wish I had one, but instead run the household using as much of the 1 acre yard as possible. We do have A wood wall-though it won’t last the winter-have to do something about that…and the garden has given up its last zuchinni to be stuffed for dinner!Carrots for tomorrow’s soup and apples for cake.
    so even though I don’t have as many critters running around with my three kids…Autumn is delicious!Cyn in CT

  12. Janice Berndt says:

    I love your description of the autumn light: "The way it meets you across a field instead of shines down on you…"

    Janice

  13. Megan says:

    I love your pictures!
    My two year old son loves when you post kid pictures, by the way. He’s just figured out that they’re not his brothers. He says "My friends!" and points to them.
    I didn’t get any tomatoes (or watermelon!) this year because it was such a foggy, wet summer, so I’m sad for the lack of green tomatoes.

  14. The Camellia says:

    Hello! Quick question about winter garlic. I planted it in the Fall and it was growing great, but before it got the garlic flowers, the leaves turned yellow, and the plants collapsed. we dug up the garlic but it was only half the size it should have been. any ideas on what might have gone wrong ( we are in Northern Ontario and had a very hot summer).

  15. Stephanie says:

    Your stories inspire me, simply inspirational. I cannot wait to have more than 20sqft to work with, but right now my Spinach, Lettuce, and carrots are starting to sprout…all sadly 6 of them. At least it’s a start. Thank you for all your helpful hints and interesting topics.

    Happy Autumn,
    Steph

  16. Debbie says:

    Hi Libbie!
    Happy Autumn to you! Loved the visit at your place.. it most certainly is autumn… inside and out! Your wood wall is quite a sculpture in it’s own right! I can smell the wood fire burning from here…
    We’ve been getting into the spirit here too. We dressed up the little red hen house and red shed for the " girls " a while back and leaves are beginning to turn… I’m feeling a RED October coming on in our neck of New England…Autumn is glorious on all counts!

    Happy GLORIOUS fall…
    Deb~

  17. Hi Libbie, I do enjoy hearing about your goings on. I have put up quite afew tomatoes this summer and I have planted some Garlic, although it wasn’t Mary Janes, Idid put some 10 pieces in the garden. I hope they do well, because we do like it, this is the first time I have tried to go it. wish me luck.
    I remember when my 3 boys were growing up, They liked mud puddles and all sorts of animals and insects. They are grown now and I miss the noise and the action around here. They have kids of their own now and I am enjoying 3 g- grand kids, 2 boys and a girl. They are the llight of my life now. well enjoy the rest of the autumn and I will do the same, our leaves are turning and falling and I think it is beautiful, Hugs from Farm sister #1020, Juanita

  18. O'Dell says:

    Hi Libbie,

    Just love reading about autumn,my favorite time of year! The leaves turning….falling, hah! more work in the yard…today we’ve a "howlling wind" ..it sounds like Halloween is already here….
    I’ve just baked 3 apple pies…two to the neighbors on either side of us. One gave us back the pan, and said, "could they have 2nd’s?" They included the apples for the next one, so of course I said "yes!" We had a nice exchange about the eagles, and owls we’ve heard in the neighborhood lately..tales of mice in the kitchen, which they tried to catch…but found that their cat was letting him out of the trap! Well, they said he’s not a good "mouser!"
    I’m also enjoying your photos….little ones…best thing ever…and firewood for the winter…does give one a "cozy" feeling, knowing its ready and waiting.
    On the coldest days I’m working on a baby quilt for the Linus project…has a calming effect on my nerves…always good.
    Hope you are having a good weekend now…happy autumn!

  19. Cheri says:

    OK- so jealous that you have everything so well in hand. My garden is a mess- needs weeded and tilled under. I didnt know that you had to plant garlic in the fall- so mine will have a LONG season- lol. BUt doing what I can. We have our county fair in late September and my faughter was junior fair princess and we entered a few projects as well as her pony. As an advisor- it was a long week- but sooo fun to watch the kids grow. Too bad that getting 1st place with our grass hay doesnt help us get more for it when selling.

  20. Wow! What a great article and fabulous photos too! Just last week had to hose down my 7 year old boy and plop him in the tub before the company came for dinner!
    I also have a pile of green tomatoes, one year I pulled up the plants roots and all, and hung them upside down from the barn rafters! I had only cherry tomatoes that year, but we ate them until January!!!!! Now I make sure that I have a couple of plants in big pots and bring them into our attached greenhouse for the winter- they will last all winter if I’m careful, and I’ll have REALLY early tomatoes next spring!

  21. Sarah Monteleone says:

    Fall is also my Favorite time. Living in North Carolina, it is such a wonderful relief from our hot..hot summers. I can’t stop looking at the bright blue sky. Enjoyed your photos….wish I had the time to can! Oh…and stay warm with all that firewood!

  22. victoria ott says:

    really enjoyed the pictures. it’s a busy time of year with all the canning and jelly making. i love it though. makes you feel good looking at all the pretty filled jars. i’ve got some gorgeous orange cinderella pumpkins and can’t wait to see how they work in pies and breads. i was told they make wonderful pies. hope so. our wood pile is all set, too. ah, contentment knowing we’ll be ready for our minn. winter.

  23. Donna Kelso says:

    Jeannette: I would love you to share that green tomato ketchup recipe…sounds wonderful and I had lots of green tomatoes this yr.
    Donna