"Grace" by Enstrom 1918 Photograph
The tradition of saying Grace – a prayer or expression of thanksgiving prior to a meal has personal meaning this week.
As I gathered each of the first 14 meat chickens I raised, I held each one, talked to it, and thanked it for allowing me to take care of it and for being part of my meals for the next year. My friends, Eli and Caroline and their family, dressed them for me and I picked them up tonight. 30 more are still growing and will go to “freezer camp” in a few more weeks.
Earlier in the day, the remaining chickens were hiding in the shelter – a red tailed hawk as too close for their comfort but when I walked near the pen, the hawk flew away and into the trees….I’m reminded that I share this land.
Tonight, I vacuum sealed the whole birds for the freezer and one of the birds was in pieces, so I grilled the breast for dinner tonight. I thought about the Enstrom photo of the old man over a simple meal and I again said thanks for the many blessings living a small farm life shares with me.
If you are curious, naked chicken photo below:
Three of the chickens headed to "freezer camp"
I carry a small Moleskine yearly planner in my jacket pocket or my truck cab. For October 1, I made the note to plug in the heat tapes on the water lines. That was my first note to start thinking about Winter this year.
October 10, 60 miles north, Des Moines broke a record for the earliest 1 inch of snow fall. All this week, the weather forecasters were predicting below freezing temps, but were not acknowledging a killing frost. They updated the forecast Friday afternoon, so I brought in whar remained of the garden and sure enough, Saturday morning, the buckwheat planted for green manure in the open sections of garden space were wilted over.
Garden and kitchen notes: I harvested the remains of the basil and made a good batch of pesto with a chili pepper olive oil. Somewhere in my past, I learned a trick of freezing pesto in an ice cube tray to make single use cubes. I was rewarded with a tray and a half. I also grabbed the balance of the peppers – this was not a great year for peppers, they matured late, so having 3 dozen peppers still green and not yet ripe in October is a plus. I’ll cut them and vacuum seal and freeze them as they ripen on the window ledge the next few days.
Visitors: I keep a fairly clean cabin, but have acquired voles in each cabin and the usual onslaught of cluster flies is earlier than last year. The powder traps I mentioned last year are helping, but with 17 windows between the two cabins, they are still thick. I anticipate the cold will knock them down in the next few days.
Plumbing cures: I disconnected the outside faucet on the cabin, even though it has a freeze proof stop cock, its just as easy to disconnect it. Also, but it is no surprise and earlier than I planned, the hose that fills the duck pool was frozen this morning.
I’m packing and organizing for some media work at Farm Aid in St. Louis tomorrow. I’ve also been working on fall projects and tonight we’re expecting a low in the mid 30′s. Fall is quickly arriving. For a brief post, I’m sharing a photo of the daily egg harvest.
From left to right: two Rouen eggs; two Cayuga eggs; one Indian Runner egg; one black sex link chicken egg; two Buff Orpington chicken eggs