The Month of October (in brief) So Far

Well the leaves are finally turn­ing col­ors, even though the tem­per­a­ture is stay­ing warm. Mean­while, the gar­den con­tin­ues to pro­duce a impres­sive amount. Our toma­toes, sum­mer squash and cucum­bers may have long since been com­posted, but egg­plants and pep­pers are still going strong and we have more than enough beets, car­rots and turnips to go around. The last Carlisle Sum­mer Farmer’s Mar­ket is tomor­row, and Mom and I have been har­vest­ing all day.

Brus­sel sprouts, leeks, car­rots and beets

We also have tons of greens that are enjoy­ing to cooler weather: let­tuce, pak choy, kale, swiss chard, cab­bage, col­lard greens, arugula, the list goes on. In order to extend our greens sea­son, we bought a Quick Hoop High Tun­nel Ben­derfrom Johnny’s Selected Seeds web­site and erected a very rudi­men­tary hoop house.

Dave bolt­ing two bent pipes together
The first hoop

Basi­cally, the hoop house is just fence rails bent to the same curve and then bolted together to form a half cir­cle. They are then inserted into shorter, wider sec­tions of pipe that are ham­mered into the ground. One last rail along the top of the hoops pro­vides stability.

Next week we are plan­ning on installing the plas­tic over the top, which will then be lashed to the frame with para­chute cord. With this added cover, we are hop­ing to keep grow­ing greens well into the winter.

All the win­ter squash has been har­vested from the sec­ond field and put them into the green­house to dry and cure. Now that the sec­ond field has been com­pletely har­vested, we’re get­ting ready to till it next week. We’re plan­ning on expand­ing it out towards the pig a bit to give our­selves a bit more room for next year.
We went up to the Com­mon Ground Fair  in Unity, Maine a cou­ple weeks ago (a really good time for any­one inter­ested in local food, rural liv­ing and/or home­steading). The fair, aside from hav­ing craft and food tents as far as the eye can see, also includes a lot of work­shops. We took the oppor­tu­nity to learn a lit­tle bit more about sheep care and lamb­ing, and I bought a drop spin­dle so I could start prac­tic­ing spin­ning wool. It’s not easy.
Our five ewes are set­tling in nicely. In prepa­ra­tion for the ram that’s com­ing in the end of Novem­ber, we have plans to fence in the front pas­ture — and are in the midst of try­ing to find the cheap­est, eas­i­est and most effec­tive way to accom­plish this goal. We were cau­tioned not to try to keep a ram behind flimsy, tem­po­rary elec­tric fence, and any­way we need to cre­ate a per­ma­nent pas­ture for our preg­nant ewes to live in all win­ter (since the portable elec­tric fence is also too flimsy to stand up to snow).
The front pasture

Look for­ward to the thrilling con­clu­sion to this fenc­ing story in a cou­ple of weeks…

As well as an update on our pigs…
And my thoughts on how won­der­ful CSAs are…
All com­ing soon.
But until then…
Happy Fall!

Cooking at the Farmer’s Market

Here are some pics of us at the Carlisle Farmer’s Mar­ket a cou­ple weeks ago that my sis­ter Kate took of us. Gal­lagher cooked up break­fast bur­ri­tos to order on a Cole­man stove with kale, squash, egg, cheese, and salsa. They were a hit!

…oh yeah, and we had some veg­gies too.

Free Range

Alright, as usual these days I don’t have a lot of time, so I’m going to jump right in…

With the addi­tion of a new back­yard dog fence, we’ve finally been able to let our layer hens really free range. We’ve been putting the dogs away mid after­noon every day and our chick­ens have been wan­der­ing around as they please.
free chicken!
Our dark cor­nish chicks are get­ting really big and are almost ready to go out into the chicken trac­tor. We’ve moved the chicken trac­tor out into the pas­ture with the pigs and Dave’s been mak­ing improve­ments, more on that later.

Mean­while, despite some pretty crazy weather this June — 90 degrees one day and then 50 degrees, cold and rainy for the next five (thanks global warm­ing!) — the gar­den is look­ing good.

Teepees for pole beans, and in the top right hand cor­ner you can see where we’ve cov­ered the kale with row cov­ers — to keep pests away
Despite a rough stretch after trans­plant­ing (you can see that the lower leaves look kind of unhealthy) the new growth on this egg­plant looks great!
baby pak cho
a very happy look­ing tomato plant
…and baby tomatoes!
brus­sel sprouts

There’s so much going on here every­day that I’ve had a hard time keep­ing up. I real­ized that I’d for­got­ten to men­tion that we’ve been sell­ing at the Carlisle farmer’s mar­ket all this month! It’s been a slow start to the sea­son for us, mostly because we were so behind till­ing the field, but we’ve man­aged to have enough greens and eggs to hold our own. This last Sat­ur­day we had sugar snap peas, beets, let­tuce, herbs, flow­ers and strawberry-mulberry and goat-cheese and dill scones.

We’ve also been sell­ing our deli­cious eggs to a restau­rant in town, 80 Thoreau, where they’re fea­tured on their farm salad. See the menu here.
This week­end we’re going to be one of the ven­dors at Old Home Day in Carlisle. In addi­tion to our rapidly grow­ing pro­duce selec­tion and scones, we’re also hope­fully going to be sell­ing some of Dave’s freshly baked bread. Come visit us if you can!
Lovely lit­tle sour­dough loaves being proofed