“Winter is the time for comfort,
for good food and warmth,
for the touch of a friendly hand
and for a talk beside the fire:
it is the time for home.”
Autumn is one of the busiest times on our farm as we bustle about getting everything ready for Winter.
Summer’s bounty is swiftly withering, wilting, going to seed, so I’ve been gathering up the last of the tomatoes, capsicum, and hot chili peppers, savoring their fresh flavors before they are all gone.
I’ve been pulling out old plants, stacking them on the compost pile to be turned into good, nourishing stuff for the gardens over the next few months.
I’ve been weeding, watering, and trimming our trees, thickly mulching above their roots so the fierce Winter winds don’t dry them out.
My wheelbarrows have been good friends this week, enabling me to cart load after load of straw from the barn and beautiful composted soil from the goat yards to their new homes in my Winter gardens.
Tonight I worked until well after dark digging new garden beds, spreading compost, and digging that in. Tomorrow I’ll add some more compost then plant my remaining seeds – red carrots, leeks, red onions, black radishes, sorrel, garlic, turnips, and a few more rows of peas – before covering the whole lot with a layer of straw mulch.
The gardens I planted earlier are coming up beautifully! It’s such a thrill to see delicate dill fronds, green radish leaves, and purple beetroots pushing up through the straw. The red cabbages and purple Brussels sprouts are nearly 10 inches tall already!! Peas are sprouting up and sturdy green garlic shoots are standing tall and straight. It is all rather marvelous.
Bear has been hauling loads of hay, filling our barn before Winter hits and the price of hay doubles and triples. When he pulls in I hop on the tractor and together we get the bales off the trailer and stacked neatly up to the rafters. Inevitably we get hay EVERYWHERE and spend the evening sneezing and finding bits of hay in our ears, hair, and clothing, but it’s worth it knowing our goats will be well fed.
As the temperatures dropped this week, we’ve been turning to comfort food to keep us warm and full of energy while we work. Roasted potatoes, creamy root veggie soups, and slow-cooked meats are very welcome as we collapse into our chairs each night, too happily tired to even talk.
Breakfasts are nourishing times, hot and hearty to ward off the early morning frostiness. My favorite thing right now is a big bowl of porridge spiced with cinnamon, studded with dried cranberries, and topped with salted butter and real maple syrup. Wrapping my cold-stiffened fingers around a steaming bowl of this goodness is a splendid way to start the day.
How are you getting ready for the next season in your part of the world? xo