It's that time of year when all the leaves are falling from the beautiful deciduous trees, leaving an abundance of carbon lying on the ground just begging to be gathered. While the trees do in fact need a pile of these left on the ground to keep its soil happy, and the nutrient cycle doing its thing, the really large trees have plenty to share. That's the case in my neighbours yard. His huge big oak trees dump a ton of leaves and my neighbour is always happy for me to gather enough to build my composts. I tend to do a bit of tree pruning at this time of year also, just so I can shred the prunings and add it to the compost as well. One thing I'm excited about (it's funny what you get excited about in the country) is the fact I now have cow manure to collect. It's so much easier to pick up than alpaca and sheep poo, so that task, while still heavy, is a whole lot quicker. I've built my compost bay at the hay shed - just have to get filling it with all these fabulous ingredients.
Another resource that I use, this time as a mulch, is comfrey. My comfrey plants have slowed with winter being upon us now, but I have uploaded a video that I made back in February, which is all about harvesting this plant and using as a mulch. If you'd like to check that out - follow the YouTube link at the top of the page. It's just a quick video but certainly worth a look!!
The winter garden is slowly doing its thing. I have brassicas at various stages of growth, just planted, ready to harvest and those in between. Hopefully that means I'll have a continuous supply of something to eat this winter. I'm only just getting my act together with successional plantings! I have cabbages, sprouting broccoli and collards which are all ready for harvest. While I'd love some cauliflower at the moment I think they're still a couple of months away. I really have to improve my cauliflower growing skills. There are still plenty of carrots, celery and spring onions to gather so with my stored potatoes and tomatoes and other summer preserves winter eating should be good.
There are also plenty of salad and stir fry greens to add to dishes as sides. I've been throwing a few seeds in the ground such as spinach, beetroot and peas every so often so I'm finding there's various plants popping up their heads reminding me that I had actually planted something there. I have to get better at labelling my plantings but I suppose the main thing is that I got the seeds in the ground and given these plants a chance to grow.
Spot the odd one out in these photos?? They are all indoor activities, mostly in the kitchen, but there is one taken in the lounge room. Yes, I finally grabbed out my sewing machine to resize some second hand jeans that I bought from a salvo store last year during lockdown times. They wouldn't let you try them on, so I took a guess at size and of course - too big! That's better that too small!! I could return them and get back my $3 back but thought I'd give it a go at altering them. Now they fit and are the perfect gear to wear for getting all those dirty farming jobs done.
A little bit of time in the kitchen this week saw me turn some of my veggies into a delicious soup full of rooster broth and crunchy veg. Really is one of my favourite lunches. I grabbed some of my beef fat from the freezer and turned it into a more usable form. It is now clarified and in jars ready for cooking with. I store the excess jars in the freezer. They can stay there for up to a year but I've never had any last that long! With the cool weather really upon us now I decided that a good warming desert was in ordered. I have a stash of berries from summer that can easily be dragged out of the freezer and added to this almost baked custard like pudding. Lots of eggs, berries, a bit of sugar and flour and you're good to go. Everyone deserves a treat sometime!!
What have you all been up to? Any way have a good week xx