October Mid-Month Meanderings III

I don’t know about you, but I always welcome the end of summer garden chores and food preservation.  Saying farewell to the general busyness of keeping up with it all feels like a relief. Sure, I’m sad to say goodbye to sandals, shorts, and tomatoes. But I’m also ready for the kale (kale, kale, and some more kale) our northwest climate offers in abundance.

grow and resist october 2012 mid month meanderings vine maple

Yes, I am ready for a break.  There is more though. It is also mixed with a sense of dread and feeling of foreboding. Gayla at You Grow Girl expressed this sentiment so well when she stated: I want so badly to be the sort of garden writer that composes eloquent, graceful pieces that encourage gardeners to appreciate the cooler seasons and respect the importance of the winter. The fact remains that I am a summer baby. While I understand and respect the seasons, I absolutely abhor the winter months and am full of anxiety as they approach.

Yes, this time of the year is often full of angst and more than a few tears. It is the beginning of the end people. The start of incessant and relentless rain. A dehumidifier that never stops. Mud everywhere. Frequent crying jags. Seattle + Winter Happily Ever After for Meg. Thanks Gayla for feeling my pain.

grow and resist october 2012 mid month meanderings apples

The garden though. You aren’t here for my inner weather neurosis. The Scarlet Sentinel apples are perfect right now. Sweet, crisp, and just the right size!

grow and resist october 2012 mid month meanderings fall asparagus fernsThe asparagus patch has started the annual die back. I leave them in till they are completely dead as the birds really like to hang out in there and nibble on things.

A few last fall-bearing raspberries are still ripening.

grow and resist october 2012 mid month meanderings fall bearing raspberries

The garlic is in and soil covered with the most amazing chicken manure compost, followed by a generous layer of partly composted straw from the  chicken run.

grow and resist october 2012 mid month meanderings chicken compost

grow and resist october 2012 mid month meanderings garlic bed

I’ve pulled out the plastic sheeting that covers our hoop house and gotten it in place. The winter garden to be has been in place for some time now. but continues to grow and it seems like we will have healthy crops of chard, kale, lettuce, arugula, and beets.

grow and resist october 2012 mid month meanderings hoop house

grow and resist october 2012 mid month meanderings

Beautiful cosmos and nasturtiums are still blooming in the raised bed edges.

grow and resist october 2012 mid month meanderings fall lettuce and kale

Lots of mixed lettuces and kale.

grow and resist october 2012 mid month meanderings peppers still ripening

A few last ripening hot peppers. It was a banner pepper summer!

grow and resist october 2012 mid month meanderings fall nasturium

The nasturtiums just won’t quit. They are nothing if not resilient!

grow and resist october 2012 mid month meanderings pea trellis and hoop house

This is the first time I planted fall peas, but they they are growing and tasting well. I tucked the hoop house coverings behind them so they still are growing up, up, up.

I pulled our strawberrries out this year. They have been there 6 years and even with good pruning their output is decreasing. They were also a mix of both june-bearing and everbearing and we are going to plant primarily june-bearing next summer. So, they are out and the blueberries are mostly tucked away. The chicken compost is on and the beds are awaiting the final layer of straw-poop mixture from the run as mulch.

grow and resist october 2012 mid month meanderings fall blueberries

The sweet chickens are still molting and putting out only a few eggs.  I haven’t put in lights on a timer yet, but I better getting on it stat or we are about to be Eggless in Seattle for the winter.

grow and resist october 2012 mid month meanderings silver lace wyandotte chicken

Daddy, our silver-laced wyandotte hen is the only one that doesn’t appear to be molting at all.  Isn’t she a beauty?

grow and resist october 2012 mid month meanderings buff orpington chicken

One of the Annies- she is undergoing a slow, or minimal, molt.

grow and resist october 2012 mid month meanderings molting buff orpington chickenThe other Annie is looking a bit rougher. You can see she has lost a fair amount of feathers to her chest and neck.

grow and resist october 2012 mid month meanderings sunflower head chicken treates

Spent sunflower heads are a chicken favorite and offer up some extra protein. Chickens need extra protein during molting season to rebuild their feathers. Feathers are primarily feathers and eggs are primarily protein. This is why they usually stop (or slow down) laying during their molt. They need that all that egg laying protein for feather growth.

A few winter prepping chores are left to complete. I need to get gutters up on the summer-remodeled coop.  The coop could use a good going-into-winter cleaning.  A bit more chicken run mulch will be placed around- primarily around the berries and asparagus once they are cut back.

Then, I’m staying dry and working on my business for spring!

Link to past Mid-Month Meanderings.

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6 Responses to October Mid-Month Meanderings III

  1. Inder says:

    I feel the same way about Autumn, even though we generally don’t get QUITE as much rain down here. But my house is severely under-insulated and under-heated, and we all freeze our asses off while paying $350 PG&E bills all winter. It is so not happy. The only compensating benefit is the return of soup season. Also, my garden always look like a hot mess this time of year, partly because I have burned out on gardening and want nothing to do with it. Yours looks lovely and well-kempt.

    • Oh Inder— I seriously need to do an “as it actually is” meanderings. I routinely toss tricycles, watering cans, dead branches, etc out of the way for pictures. And, by this time I’ve gotten so tired of it that I rip it all out and dump it in the yard waste and call it a day =) It starts with a simple “I’ll just severely trim a few tomatoes.” Then next thing I know I’m ripping out everything that looks remotely spent, overly mildewed, or generally in my way. =)
      Wah, winter. The bonus of me being so depressed this year as I almost don’t care about the rain…it feels like a permission slip to do the only thing I want to anyway- snuggle up and read. =)

  2. Turtle says:

    I love reading your mid-month meanderings. I was thinking about getting a columnar tree, but didn’t because I already have a couple mini-dwarf apple trees and have a really small yard. Dang it if I’m not drooling over those Scarlet Sentinels though.

  3. emmycooks says:

    Looking lovely! I don’t mind the rain anymore but it took me years to get used to it.

    I just rebuilt my garden beds (read: had them rebuilt) because they had crumbled to nothing–am I too late to plant anything this year here in Seattle? I am going to put in raspberry canes, which I’ve been wanting for years, but I haven’t figured out the veggie beds yet–usually anything I was planning to overwinter would have been in for a while by now!

  4. Kari says:

    I couldn’t agree more about fall/winter in Seattle. Blech. We are having the same problem with our chickens, molting and eggless. I need to put up a light too and maybe modify their diet – more protein and maybe calcium? I haven’t had a single egg in 2 weeks. Been thinking about chicken soup… :)

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