Autumn Colors…and the sheep

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Things have been very busy here, but I managed to snap some photos early yesterday morning.  The leaves have started their change and the evenings have been consistently in the 50s.  Still waiting for those really cool nights so I can plant the 500 flower bulbs and the garlic taking up space in my pantry. 

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But the transition into winter is beginning.  The wood shed is filled floor to ceiling, and the hay for the sheep is stacked in the barn.  The cellar has become the go-to place for dinner with onions, shallots, potatoes, and acorn squash all available.  I still have leeks, rutabaga, and carrots in the garden, but otherwise the veg garden is winding down for the season.

 

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Virginia Creeper

 

 

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Flock of Canadian Geese

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Dahlias, cleome and salvia

 

Beautiful Saturday

Yesterday, although a bit chilly with a high of 50, was another gorgeous, sunny day.  It was also a productive day on the “farm.”  I ran some errands in the early morning and was back home planting strawberries in the new planters by 8:30.IMG_4394

Jim built the planters using some old wood pallets we had laying about the place, and Nora painted them (the color is “minted lemon” although difficult to really see it in the morning light) .  I think they look wonderfully cheery, and it will be so much easier to maintain the berries above the ground.  Our grass is so resilient and persistent here that attempting to keep the three 50′ beds clear of weeds was becoming a nightmare and way too time consuming.  So as they aged and needed replacing, I let the beds go back to grass.  Last year was the first without fresh strawberries, and I missed them.  Hence the new planters.  So I bought 25 “Ozark Beauty” plants, an everbearing variety with a marvelous flavor and they make great jams as well. 

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Planted on the sides, as well as the top

 

I won’t allow them to fruit this year, plucking off the blossoms as they appear.  I like to give them a year of sending all of their energy into building strong root systems.  They seem to produce more abundantly and last longer than average when I do so.

After planting, I did a quick weed through the asparagus bed and then on to the job of mucking out the winter bedding in the sheep barn.  Whew, there’s a tough, smelly job. Still feeling it in every aging muscle of my body this morning. It was a few hours of hard labor, but when it was finished the sheepies had a fresh, clean smelling home.  Cobwebs had been swept from the rafters, all straw removed and some diatomaceous earth scattered on the dirt and then covered with fresh straw.

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The disgruntled sheepies; they dislike the wheelbarrow so refuse to come near the barn while I’m cleaning.  They’ll look a lot different after today’s shearing.   We’ll actually be able to see their eyes once again.

 

Some additional random shots from Nora.

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A daffodil from the orchard.  I planted 200 naturalizing bulbs in the fall and will add more this year.  I’d like the entire orchard awash in yellow and white in the early spring.  They have the added benefit of deterring rodents and rabbits from munching on the trees.
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A desiccated pumpkin on the compost heap. It’s outer shell hardened and cracked like an egg when touched.