September 28, 2016

Time to slow down

This time of year, I begin to feel myself and our life on the farm slow down a bit.  The garden has born its final fruits of the summer and been covered in mulch for the winter.  With this, the rush to preserve things as they come in has calmed significantly.  I've cut back many of my flower beds so that they can rest until next spring.  The grass is slowing down and doesn't need to be cut as often. 

This year, though, I'm feeling like the projects have continued, simply morphing into cooler weather things like planting grass.  So even though I'm feeling sluggish and like it's time to rest - the work continues. 

That's partly why I haven't been writing too much lately.  I get to the end of the day and I wonder: where did the time and all my energy go off to?

I had a kind friend ask if I am ok since I haven't written in a while. I do so appreciate those of you who read my posts and care enough to check on us when I lapse in keeping up the blog.  It warms the heart to have good people like you in one's life.

Combined with my general sense of too much to do and not enough time in the shortening days, I have also started a new job as a Toddler Montessori teacher.  This is a new adventure for me as I have never taught children this young before and I'm in a much bigger school which adds layers of complexity.  If I'm honest, I'm feeling mentally and emotionally exhausted too from this crash course in toddler needs and development, working with a new team of teachers, and learning about how this wider school community functions. 

Me, being me, I had to bring some nature into our classroom.  This week I set up a nature table by the window for the children to explore.  I covered it in a beautiful clean white tablecloth so it would be inviting.  Then I brought in all kinds of things I found on my evening walk: acorns of various sizes and textures, a bumpy little gourd, a big piece of tree bark, some fallen leaves, a hickory nut shell the squirrels had emptied, some seeds from a maple tree, and a jar of stink bugs.  I added a magnifying glass as well.  I set everything up then introduced them to the work.  

What a joy to watch!  Some children were excited ("Look!  Stink bugs!  Stink bugs!").  Some were quietly intrigued ("Feel this, it's so bumpy.").  All were interested and engaged.  Nature has a special power.  I'm excited to be able to share this love of mine with another group of children.

So I mentioned that we put the garden to sleep.  I had some helpers one weekend to clear out the last of what was growing.  Oliver cut off all the remaining green tomatoes.  

Baxter picked out the sweet potatoes from their buckets. 

Oliver cut off the last okra and dug up the stalks.  

Baxter helped me pull the beans off their trellis.  I handed him an extra large one that had grown unnoticed way at the top.  The imagination of a child- first it was Pinocchio's nose...

then an instrument to play...

then...well you can guess what it was. 

Gotta love little boys!

The tomatoes I pickled in big thick slices so that I can fry them up as friend green tomatoes this winter.  The peppers are drying on the windowsill to make red pepper flakes.  

The okra became Creole Spiced Okra; the beans - Dilly Beans.  Are you starting to see why I'm feeling like it's time for a rest?

We have also fenced off a large area around the chicken coop, filled in low spots with dirt, planted grass seed and covered it with straw.  After construction of the lean-tos this summer, there were lots of low spots which created trip hazard all over the place.  It's also a huge muddy mess when it rains.  We are hopeful that we can get most of the area re-established with grass this fall.  It is quite a challenge to grow grass with chickens though!  Let me tell you, if anyone ever says chickens can't fly they are lying to you.  Those darned chicken were in there eating grass not five minutes after we finished the fencing. 

Other projects in progress right now include training Roscoe (our chicken protector rescue dog), figuring out how to ferment feed, exploring new outlets for selling our eggs, trying out cheese-making, learning a new way to manage pool chemistry with fewer chemicals, and finding moments to enjoy this beautiful new cooler weather.  More to come on these...

Thank you again to those of you who care enough to connect with us and share in our busy life and adventures here at the farm.  I will do my best to keep up with my writing both for you and for my own sake as I seek to find balance between the work and time for rest.

Have a lovely fall evening.

1 comment:

  1. I just posted a comment, Erin, and being the low techy that I am, it got wiped out. So I'll try again. Save me some moonflower seeds. My sister, Edith, always had some growing on her farm trellis. Lovely! You need to share the pear crisp recipe that we were gifted with the other night. Yummy. Also great idea about bringing the outdoors to the indoors in your class. You are planting seeds of wonder for those little ones.