Sunday, October 14, 2012

On the Weekend

Such is my life now, that I only end up having time to post once a week. Nonetheless, being back in student mode is pretty great. And much easier to keep up with schoolwork now that the rain has set in and it's less appealing to skive off and go play outside. Our true Portland fall weather finally came back this week, and nature is watering the gardens --and everything else--for us, quite regularly and liberally. In a break between showers today, we went over to the community garden with Elliot, to finish cleaning up our plots and preparing them for fall and winter. We cut down all the remaining sunflower stocks, pulled up withered bean plants, and carted away the contents of our compost piles. Elliot planted his and Jessa's plot full of winter greens and a cover crop of red clover, and I am pleased to report that every fall/winter crop that we planted in our plot over the last few weeks has sprouted and is doing well. Matt and I did some work here at home too, cleaning up the backyard of the remaining apple branches from pruning, and putting away the camp chairs and barbecue and anything else that probably shouldn't be rained on for six months.

After nearly 100 days without rain, it is awfully nice to hear the soft sound of it falling outside again, and to feel the coziness that comes with cold wet weather. I know I'll be complaining about it come January, but it's nice to enjoy it while it's still a novelty. The flannel sheets are on the bed, and soups and stews are a regular occurrence. I made my first rabbit stew on Friday (it was delightful), and dinner tonight was a white bean and squash stew, flavored simply with onion, garlic, salt, pepper, and bay.

Inside, this year's harvest is very apparent, in our meals and in our seasonal decor. Matt moved the chilli ristras inside so they can actually continue to dry, and hung them in the south window upstairs.

The last gleanings from our best tomato plants are decorating the kitchen windowsills:

And our meager squash harvest lives by the back door. It would just be a shame to put these pretty things in the basement where we can't see them:

Outside, the trees are turning and the leaves are falling. The days are getting dramatically shorter, and the hens have taken notice. We are eggless for the first time in a year, as they all began to molt this week. We were getting four or five eggs a day, and then suddenly last weekend there stopped being any eggs at all. We checked all of their secret laying spots repeatedly before we accepted the truth :). The run is full of feathers, and it seems they are all right on time- the internets and Carla Emery tell me that hens almost always molt in the fall, or when they have laid for about 11 months, and/or when they have been stressed out. All three are true in our case- it's mid-October, they are all the same age and started laying last November, and the introduction of Thelma and Louise, in addition to the suddenly wet weather, most certainly threw a wrench into their routine. Thelma has continued to be a loner and quite feral, attempting to roost on top of the henhouse and madly pecking whoever tries to lift her off and put her inside. We've learned to just herd her with a stick instead. Sigh. We rigged up the light and timer on the coop as we did last year to extend their days, and hopefully in a few months they'll be back to giving us some eggs again.

 After we ate the broccoli heads, the chickens devoured the rest of the plant. 

Mimi does not approve of the rain. 

Matt is very much enjoying his job, and is doing very well at it (no surprises here). It's been an adjustment for both of us (depressing as it was for him to be unemployed, it was awfully nice to have him home all the time...), but I think after two weeks we're both fairly settled in our new routine. Now we just have to remember to take our raincoats with us every day.

No comments: