Sunday, October 17, 2010

Digging potatoes, picking tomatoes

Busy days. Today we dug potatoes out of the lower garden, but decided to leave the carrots and onions. the forecast doesn't quite call for freezing temps, but I don't want to lose everything, if it does freeze. We have been preparing all day for the low night time temperatures of the next few days. I'm afraid Fall is here to stay now, sneaking in when we weren't watching.

I pulled all of the tomatoes, even the green ones, and cut all of the pumpkins from their dying vines.

Last night we canned tomatoes to get ready for the tomatoes we brought in today. Richard is thinking of making a green tomato relish, and we will most certainly have enough for another batch of fried green tomatoes.

The squashes and pumpkins have to come in or find a home, so Rrichard built a makeshift root cellar (got the idea out of Mother Earth News---some guy stores carrots in a bucket underground--so we thought we could try that on a bigger scale). Eventually we'd like to build an Earthbag root cellar into the berm behind our house, but for now , a trashcan it is, in a big hole. We will put the squashes in the can, surrounded by straw (recycling the scarecrow). This way the squashes never touch and they are insulated by the straw. After the can is full, the lid goes on and it is covered with a couple of bales of straw layed across the top. Sounds like it might work. We'll give it a try.

We went to pick up Hank the billy goat and his little friend Lily today in our old Lucky horse trailer. Now we have seven goats in a teeny tiny pen that Richard is trying desperately to enlarge, but between trips to town and Co-op meetings and hurt guineas, it is impossible to finish anything, it seems. Now the ladies have a man and hopefully will get the deed done quickly, before anyone notices the billy in our covenanted land.

And the of the Pearls from up the hill, in the goat and llama pen, apparently got stepped on by a llama while the two rambunctious young llama boys were in the midst of one of their wrestling matches. So, I had to catch said injured bird (ever try to catch a guinea? It's worse than trying to catch a llama.), without the llamas stepping on him again. I did it with a clothes basket, a large plastic container lid, a long stick and a few cuss words. I got the limping fowl into a small pet carrier and took him into the house for examination, upon which I decided that his foot was either broken or very badly injured. So, with Richard's ingenuity at making a splint out of rolled up cardboard, we taped the leg to the makeshift splint, caught his buddy guinea to keep him company, and settled the two of them into my office in their individual kennels for the night.

While I picked tomatoes this morning, Richard put bird netting over the new chicken pen off the chicken coop. We put the two pearl guineas  together in that yard, hoping the injured guy will heal. Now the guineas, the four lavenders and the one standing pearl, run back and forth along the chicken wire between the two yards, yelling at each other.

Guineas are hilarious. I'm going to miss watching the two guineas with the llamas and goats, but I can't have them getting hurt. They were raised with the goats, and for a while they practiced being goats, the two birds following the goats and eating hay when they did, right out of the big feed dish. Then, the two guinea fowl discovered they could get over the fence into the llama yard and they pretended they were llamas for a while, even charging each other, slamming chests, when the llamas wrestled. They stood on the llama hay and rode on the backs of the goats. Fun days...I'm going to miss.

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