Friday, October 7, 2011

A Change is in the Air

The shift from September to October is more, much more, than a simple turning of a calendar page. The patchy frost we had in mid-September was just a teaser, a wake-up call if you will. There is a chill in the air most mornings; the dew is heavy and quite cold. This week’s very warm temperatures are not a sign of global warming. The real change is coming, no doubt about it. Mid-October will see the cold weather settle in for the season. That is generally when we begin to have frost on a regular basis. The knowledge that winter weather is beginning to bear down on us keeps us motivated to get all those “fall” projects done.

Early October has us planting garlic. Over the winter, the garlic will develop a great root system in its underground home, growing unobtrusively until spring time. Then it will make rapid growth and be ready for harvest in June or July.

The barn gets cleaned out in October as well. All the waste hay and bedding becomes mulch for the garden. When the sheep start coming into the barn for the winter, they will start the cycle of “super mulch” once more.

All but the hardiest of plants are finished in the garden. Much of the garden is bush hogged to get it looking tidy. The old plants will be pulled out and the irrigation system winterized in anticipation of freezing cold weather.

The hoophouses are being filled with winter-hardy greens and lettuces. It is our hope to be able to offer these for sale throughout the course of the winter, as we have done for the past three years.

The last of the lambs will head out to the processor during October and early November. This will stock the freezers with meat until the lambchop crop of 2012 is ready.

As for poultry…The last broiler processing of 2011 is on the “to-do” list this month as well. The layer chicks for next season are scheduled to arrive today.

There are lots of other jobs that need doing prior to the onset of cold weather. The chimney needs cleaning, the firewood should be stacked, the greenhouses cleaned out, and hoophouse #1 needs a “new skin”. The small clean-up jobs and multitude of winterizing tasks never even make the list, although they must be done as well. Then, there’s the Boss’ new chicken house project….

That chill in the air and the tinge of color on the mountains can only mean one thing…

We better get busy!

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