Friday, September 27, 2013

Harvest time

The September full moon is known as the Harvest moon and for good reason. Fruit and vegetable gardens are maturing, evening temperatures are dropping, snow is starting to collect on the high peaks, and time is of the essence. Harvest time is underway.

Garlic is the first to ripen so I have already dug, dried and put into storage around three pounds. That will last nearly a year in a cool, dry and dark location which also happens to the wine closet.

Our onion crop began ripening several weeks ago and I dug the onions as their necks became soft and the tops fell over. I hung bunches of onions in the greenhouse to start the drying process then finished them up in the dehydrator. We now have enough bags of dried onions to take us through February or March. I can used the dried onions right from the bag in stews and soups or rehydrate them when fresh onions are called for.

After the heavy (for September anyway) rains in mid-September we dug our potatoes for fear they might rot in the ground. I laid them out on the mesh patio table which we moved into the old cabin. It’s a great place because it is cool, relatively dark and the table affords plenty of circulation around the spuds. I don’t yet have a great long term storage solution for potatoes so we’ll just have to eat a lot of the tubers before it gets below freezing in the cabin. This was the first year in several that I grew potatoes and I used the old horse tank method. In a space of only fourteen square feet, I grew about thirty pounds of Yukon Gold and All Blue spuds. I’m amazed at the production from such a small plot.

This time of year we watch the weather pretty closely and this morning’s weather report predicted a cool, cloudy, breezy day with nighttime temperatures dropping to 29F degrees. That was enough incentive to get us in high gear today to harvest the last of the summer squash and tomatoes and start in on the apple trees. While I wrapped up the tomatoes in newspaper, put them in a box in the closet, and roasted and froze the squash, Don got out the ladder, pulled the bird nets off the Harelred and State Fair apple trees, and picked the fruit. He sliced up the apples with blemishes and started dehydrating them and put the clean apples into storage. Don has one more tree to harvest (Sweet Sixteen) but she’s not quite ready. Hopefully the cold temperatures don’t harm the apples.

Earlier in the week we rounded up the cattle that have spent the summer on our pasture, sent them home and spent the rest of the day cleaning out water tanks, taking down temporary fencing, coiling up hoses and electric cords and cleaning out the barn and corrals. The manure went into the compost pile for use next spring and all the equipment went into winter storage.

We have already had the mountain peaks blanketed by snow twice in the last week and from the looks of things it will happen again tonight. As cold as it is predicted to get, it might even snow at our 8,000 foot elevation. As I write this Don is building a fire in the wood cookstove and we are planning a dinner of burritos smothered in fresh salsa made from our tomatoes, garlic and onions with spicy Pueblo chiles. The fall harvest is nearly complete and we’re ready to enjoy a cozy evening warmed by wood from our farm.


  1. If you ever (foolishly) think about leaving the WMV, I will make you read this and other posts. It's as good as it gets.