The summer is winding down and I have to admit that with the cooler weather this year, I had been able to begin (but not complete, of course) many projects that have been on my to-do list for quite some time.
We celebrated Midsummer and enjoyed the first great harvests from the gardens. Our tomatoes have been doing fantastic and we have been eating various greens and herbs since early this spring. Peas have come and gone and were replaced with green beans. Parsnips and turnips have all been pulled from the earth and prepared for storage. Sunflowers are now tall and shining beneath the sky with their great golden heads bobbing down toward the ground. It is amazing to see the spread of the pumpkin patch as the vines creep over the garden and the fruit plumps up.
The herb garden is in full bloom and we added quite a few new varieties to our rotation. It is a great feeling to know that we have natural (and free!) remedies just outside the kitchen door should we need it. In fact, I suffered a pulled muscle in my arm just a few weeks ago and used a poultice of plantain that worked fantastic.
Midsummer and the magic of this night do more than signify the strength of the sun. It is a reminder that the wheel of the year is ever moving, ever returning to what has passed. We see this in the continual renewal of our soil and the return of new plants through the careful collection of seeds each season. Here one of our “greens” beds is in full production. We will harvest until the bitterness of the late season sets in and then we will allow all of these plants to go to seed.
Early on, our tomato beds were full and a great color of green. This is a picture before we staked them up. Normally this chore is completed just after planting but we did not get around to it until later this year. We have tried various ways of keeping them up in the past but finally settled on each plant getting its own wooden stake.
While we were busy planting and staking and harvesting, we also had animals that were moving through the season from chicks to adults. We were finally able to move our flock additions out of the chicken tractors and into the main coop. This year we added 20 new Golden Laced Wyandots and 10 new ducklings (Wild Mallard) to our land. Most of these birds were incubated here this spring and after hatching, began the process of moving from brooder to brooder house to chicken tractor.
It is interesting that this year we had a couple of late hatchlings that were born just a couple of days apart. This was a single duckling and a single chicken. Since neither had any fellows of their own to grow with, we placed them both in the same brooder to keep company. As the weeks progressed, we moved them out into the brooder house together and then finally into the main flock. Now, however, they are inseparable. The chicken will not leave the duck’s side and the pair wander the fields in a pretty hilarious partnership. Here you can see them sharing an afternoon drink.