Saturday, October 29, 2011

Lots to do before the snow flies...

Lots and lots of fall chores, which is a good way to spend the sunny cool days of late october. I think I've planted about 150 garlic cloves, tucking them in to holes poked in the soft rich soil where they will start to root before the ground freezes. The first welcome green shoots to come up in april will be garlic plants.
Apple cider! At last I get to use my birthday cider press...but first I needed a way to crush up the apples before they could be pressed. I built this stand to accomodate an under - sink  garberator that I found on Kijiji.

Here is the underneath view with the machine running and disgorging the apple mush into the bowl below. It works wonderfully. Even tho the garberator is designed to run with water running through, it doesnt plug up, and the consistantcyof the apple goop  is fine but not too fine to squeeze through the holes in the pressing bag.
I can poke the apples down with this stick with a dowel through it, to keep it from going too far into the grinding chamber.
I made a wooden juice collection tray with a drain hole at the front. The press came with a plastic oil changing pan for juice collecting  (which I found quite horrifying and promptly discarded)

Lots of delicious juice, all from wild apple trees from here and there.

The apple corral comes off for cleaning. And a couple of jugs of water poured through the garberator with the motor on, cleans the insides.

The dryish pulp left in the pressing bag got spread onto trays in the dehydrator to make winter nibbling treats for the mini horses.
Nothing really ever gets wasted on a farm . Between horses, hens and compost there's a place for all the scraps.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Seeing a lot of RED lately..

Tomatoes, that is. In the thick of canning season here..
I learned a good processing trick last year from my chat group
to cut out a lot of evaporating time when making spagetti sauce. You slice the tomatoes in half, lay out in a large baking pan and throw in a few cloves of garlic. Brush cut sides lightly with oil and roast for about half an hour at 400F or until soft and squishy. Then dump it all in a colander and let the watery juice drain out. I help it a bit squashing the tomato pieces gently. Now take the solidy stuff and either blend it in the blender or put it thru a food mill to remove skins and seeds. It's about the right consistency, thick enough to make into tomato sauce. The runny liquid that drained thru the colander can be canned for soup base but mine never made it that far...I drank it lukewarm, yummy.
These are canned chunked tomatoes, skins removed.

Pasta sauce is taking over the cupboards..
The dehydrator is working overtime..

making tasty chewy dried tomatoes.

Lots to bring in before the frost. Two wheelbarrowfuls of squash,

Two loads of sunflower seed heads for winter feed for the hens. I love the whorley patterns they make, everything fitting together so precisely. I began to love the art and design of nature when I was very small and it never gets old for me. I'm very thankful to the Designer for that.
Those racks I made last winter to start seedlings are coming in very useful for storing and drying all this good stuff.
Our last farmers market was near the end of September, after that I switched to plan B which was  weekly csa boxes for 8 local customers.

They all seemed happy with their selections and as time went on and two frosty nights wiped out the salad greens and zuchinni, among other things, I was able to fill the gaps with eggs, baking, hummus and granola. I have a request for pumpkin next time...
Maybe I'll re-home this one, the strangest pumpkin(s) I've ever grown, conjoined twins!
 I daydream about next year's garden before this one is finished for the year.

Here is that new garden patch of buckwheat being tilled under by our neighbor Mike. The tilth of that soil is getting better and better.

I couldnt resist throwing myself into the flowers to make a "buckwheat angel" , looked rather more like a bear had lumbered about in there...oh well snow will be here before we know it and we'll make some good ones..
In the meantime, lots to do in the gardens. The older compost is going into the raised beds, the perennial weeds are slowly being dug out whereever they've taken hold. That short grassy looking greenery in the photo is fall rye. Every time a section of garden was harvested I planted buckwheat or rye. This will make great green manure when it's tilled in next spring.