October 2015
The Herb Farm

Fade In, Fade Out

Harvest time!

This is the time of year I appreciate the most. It’s the time of year when the days start getting shorter and the daily chores are done before six o’clock in the evening.

Most of the canning is done and put away. The seasonal house painting and repairs are complete and ready for winter and the next year. All of the vehicles have been serviced and ready for another cold season.

Yes. This time of year in the gardens is like a miniature spring and there isn’t much maintenance to do. After all, about the only things newly planted are brassicas like cabbage, kale, broccoli and Brussels sprouts. Oh, I forgot the dozen or so varieties of lettuces.

There are a few leftover pumpkins, acorn squashes and butternuts. The chili peppers have all but completed their production, as have the late tomatoes.

 
Ornamental peppers from the gardens are placed into pots and brought inside for the winter.  

Over the next few days I will pull up the tomato plants and send them to the compost pile. The chili peppers will be pulled up as well. I usually save one or two of each unusual variety in pots in the greenhouse until the next year. Those are generally expensive hybrids I’ve had difficulty growing from seed.

I also save ornamental pepper plants to bring into the house. With a little supplemental lighting, they can add lively color to your home.

With the daytime temperatures still warm and sunsets ranging from about 6:30 to 6 p.m. this month, I enjoy working until the sun is far in the western sky. Then it’s time for a big glass of cold water, the front porch rocking chair with a cat in my lap and a glass of wine.

Temperatures fall off more rapidly from daylight to dark in October. It’s time to watch the sunset and cool off naturally while recollecting what accomplishments were made today and wondering what tomorrow will bring.

The Brown Select satsumas and the Meyer lemons are ripening. Fuyu Japanese persimmons are almost ready to pull from the trees and there are dozens of ridged luffas on the vines waiting on the first frost.

During the month of October, I think I’ll spend more time working on a couple of invention improvements. My old gas-powered generator finally died from overuse. I have an old lawnmower motor and an alternator from a truck that was scrapped a while back, so I think I’ll build a generator from those and a few other parts. You can see it when I’m finished.

Also, I’ve been itching to try out my hand at building a wind turbine and battery bank to power some of my electrical lighting here on the farm.

Anytime I get the chance to make something from scrap and it saves me money on utilities, it really gets me going!

Later this month, I’m going to rebuild my blacksmithing forge. It never really gets hot enough to do any forge welding or drawing out for knife making. About the only thing it’s good for is heating and bending soft steel.

I think I’ll build one with a solar-powered blower so I can get white-hot steel bars.

Well, it’s almost suppertime. I’m too wound up thinking about my forge project to fool with cooking tonight, so I think I’ll warm up some soup and cornbread. There’s always soup in the freezer and a cake of cornbread around here.

It looks like it’s going to be turkey rice and veggie soup tonight!

I put this up back in June after I roasted a turkey. The turkey carcass and pan drippings were cooked in water on the stovetop for an hour or so and allowed to cool. After that, most of the bones were removed and the rest was refrigerated overnight to allow the fat to rise and solidify for easy removal.

 
  I found this lonely, little yellow pear lost among the gripe weed. It sure was tasty!

After the fat cake was removed, the rest of the bones were picked and removed and more turkey meat was added to the already stocked turkey stock. A couple of small cans of chicken broth were added along with carrots, celery, onion, garlic and sweet peas. Salt and pepper to taste. I made a pot of rice.

When the turkey soup was done, I added the rice, stirred and served, freezing the rest. At least that’s what I did. Enjoy!

As the sun faded in last summer, it’s time for the old sun to fade out and rest.

The full moon for this month occurs on October 27. Hallowe’en falls on a Saturday this year. And remember to set your clocks back that night, because Daylight Saving Time begins on Sunday, November 1.

Until next time, remember to watch your salt and sugar, drink plenty of pure water, and breathe in and out!

Thanks for reading!

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As always, check with an expert, like your doctor, before using any herbal remedy.