Monday, September 27, 2010

Autumn Air

Wow. It's been really gorgeous here lately. The air is fresh and crisp, but the sun still so warm and it makes me want to spend every moment outside enjoying the beauty of Fall.
We've been spending some of that outside time putting the garden to bed. I have never really done a great job at cleaning the gardens up before winter, but this year I am determined. We've been weeding and pruning and getting things all set so that in the Spring the planting can be done earlier and with less work. My crew has been tons of help.
First mate....Badger
Hen....awww...look at those l'il boots...

One of the boys favorite things to do is to gather eggs. It's so fun when the girls first start laying. We are getting about three eggs a day, but it should be about a dozen a day when they are fully developed. Hurray! This flock has been especially fun to raise. I don't know if it's because the boys are older or if the "work" part of tending to them just seems easier because we are more used to it. I find myself looking forward to going out and seeing them. Millie, my furry companion, willingly runs alongside me while I get feed and water.

Recently we've been having some trouble with a few of them flying over the eight foot fence....and at night if we are not quick enough to put them in the hen house we find them roosting in the trees.
Can you see the three hens in the apple tree? They are about 10 feet up. It seems cool and interesting, because well...who knew that a chicken could actually fly that well?....but then you realize how hard it is to get them down once they've hunkered down for the night and how unsafe from raccoons they'd be in the trees....and it just becomes kind of....annoying.....ha!
We've finished with the grape harvest this year and are totally cutting back the vines in anticipation of building a new trellis (pergola?) for them. They are much overgrown, but still the harvest has been so abundant that I've had a hard time feeling like I want to prune them. The grapes grow on second year growth if you prune them way back...then the following year there will be no fruit. must be today I started trimming away. It's actually sort of fun. Figuring out the entangled mass and where it's roots are. Finding all sorts of life in the vines. Spiders. Crazy big beetles with horns. Birds. Poison Ivy. Ok, so that last one isn't so fun. But so far, we've managed to avoid it. :)

See how established the vines are? The base of that vine is about four inches in diameter. I wonder how long these Concords have grown here. I wonder who used to gather them? Who planted them and pruned them each year until they were big enough to be trellised?

Tree Shadow Farm used to be an actual farm. A farm that stayed in the family for a long while. The great grandson of the original owner lives across the street from us now. He has fond memories of this place because his grandparents lived here and he spent lots of time in the house and yard and woods. He told me that his favorite memory was once when he stopped by after school, his grandma was in the garden and when he went up to her she started swatting at something with the rake. He said that he was totally surprised (and afraid!) to see a wolverine, right there in the garden. And he said, his grandma (in her 70's) fought it off with that rake and chased it until it took off into the woods.

I'm glad we don't have wolverines anymore. We have seen turkeys. And deer. And raccoons. And we have also seen this wild animal lurking about.....
Ha ha! Can you believe it? I found this picture when organizing some photos. Millie was the cutest puppy ever! Now, she's kind of just...a big furry ox! She still tries to climb into my lap though when I'm sitting on the floor, which I think is hilarious. She obviously doesn't realize how huge she is. I'm really glad we have her though and she is an amazingly smart and (mostly) obedient dog. And she makes these Autumn nights cozier, since she's mostly just a big furry foot warmer. :)

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