These garden photos are from just ten days ago, before our first snowfall ~ which has given way to an icy crust. Fleeting, indeed. But those last few weeks before the snow arrived, we were busy putting things to bed and gathering the last of the harvest.
The lettuce was the last crop to be pulled out, and my kids were a little less enthusiastic to help out (despite the grins in the photo). With the weather about to turn soon, little fingers easily got red and cold from pulling up all that damp lettuce to feed to the chickens. But we did it quickly and snacked on some of the last fall planted carrots. We moved the cold frame into the greenhouse to plant some winter lettuce...we shall see if it works. I put a strawbale around the frame to protect a little more from the cold, and I will place a wool blanket over it at night, too.
We are finishing the last of the processing...something I never imagined I'd be doing in November. I dehydrated all my cherry tomatoes which are sooooo tasty in soups and sauces in the winter. The last of the tomatoes from the greenhouse are just finishing ripening. I'm not sure how many of you do it, but the staggered ripening prevents me from doing a big batch of tomato sauce all at once. I oven roasted all the tomatoes and then froze them for a later saucing which I hope to get to this weekend.
My parents visited for Canadian Thanksgiving last month and helped us put in our garlic. It seems every year we have a different visitor to help with this task...and I like to gift the helpers from the previous year with a braid of homegrown garlic that they helped plant. My parents were good sports helping out on the farm, which is far removed from their comfort level. But they love our garden produce and fresh eggs and meat, so it is fun to share in these tasks with them.
Down in our cellar, I have rows and rows of canned goods...jams of every colour, pickles of all types (jalapenos being a new favourite), peaches and pears and applesauce. The shelves of fresh produce are a little bare down there save for a bucket of leeks and a few potatoes. We don't even eat potatoes anymore (very carb rich foods which is not so good for my daughter with Type 1 Diabetes), but grew out of habit. All the other veggies were eaten or processed. I carefully record all that I grow each year so I know how much to plant the next year...it seems my gardens could be four times as big as they are to fee us year round. Though, we also have four freezers filled with beef, chicken, and pork, as well as various fruits and vegetables and that defintely feels sufficient.
But the tasks are not finished...this weekend will be more tomato processing, and the last of the garlic needs to be pickled. And then there is a fair amount of lard to be rendered from our pigs. Sauerkraut batches are beginning on the counters again, and I tried making apple cider vinegar ~ so very simple indeed.
I feel such a deep sense of satisfaction squirrelling our food away for my family, whether it be canning, or drying, or freezing. This winter we will eat well. We may be lacking in some ways that this culture of ours values, but we certainly are rich indeed with food and home comfort. This is how I define success...what a privilege to be able to live this farming life.