Cappers Farmer Blogs > Old Dog, New Tricks

Fall - The Old Becomes New

Mary ConleyDear Friends,

Fall is my favorite season. This should be old hat for someone in their 70’s, but the aroma, the crisp feel in the air, and the beauty are as exciting again as if experiencing it for the first time.

Fall leaves

Today, when I went to the mailbox, the sun was shining on a tree across the street, and its golden leaves were drifting in the wind. I held my arms out straight and marveled at it all. Then, self-consciously checked to see if anyone was looking!

Something else feels new to me: The miracle of putting away the harvest. It seems rather silly that I feel this way, but canning and drying apples, baking and freezing pumpkin and squash, and roasting the pumpkin seeds is such a fulfilling experience. I gave it thought today, curious that it makes me so happy. After all, it is work! But, wondrous work!

Squash puree

I’ve frozen several 1 cup containers of butternut squash which is a handy meal size for the two of us, and also 1 cup containers of pumpkin for smoothies and hot pumpkin drink. And, of course, two cup containers for pies or pumpkin bread.

Pumpkins

We don’t eat as much baked goods as we used to, so we gave away many of these sugar-pie pumpkins.

We want to be able to continue growing as much of our produce as possible, so it is our goal for next planting season to only plant what we can use, but still be able to harvest pumpkin, butternut squash, acorn squash, sweet potatoes, cucumbers, and zucchini. We’ve found that two or three short rows of potatoes are enough for us, and we’ll try a small patch of sweet corn. Our kitchen garden will be smaller, also.

I have a sad feeling that at this age we’ll be cutting back more each year. I have not been a good sport about this "getting old” stuff, as I have wished for another ten years or so of working on our special little farm before the slowing down began. I’ve heard about people growing old gracefully. Maybe I should give it a try.

Apple peeler

A great little tool that Larry uses to peel, slice, and core the apples.

Although several of our dwarf trees didn’t produce this year, we still had plenty of apples for sauce and to dry in our nine drawer Excalibur dehydrator. Last year we gave each family member a small bag of dried apples for Christmas and plan to do the same this year.

Garden fence

We planted our sweet potatoes late, then the deer evenly sheared off all that crawled through the fence. Larry wishes they would do that with the weeds!

Sweet potato

We did get several nice sized sweet potatoes.

Mole damage

So did the moles!

Yes, fall is wonderful even if the weather starts getting chilly. It allows us to experience other pleasures such as lighting the fireplace and burning scented candles. Or, how about setting up a card table and getting out a puzzle? Although we complain about the extremes in weather, I would certainly never want to miss out on four distinct seasons of Nebraska — the good life!

nebraskadave
11/1/2015 10:19:55 AM

Mary, yes, I do like the four distinct seasons of Nebraska as well. Fall is my second best season. Spring being the first and summer and winter are about the same for me. The crazy warm weather here is mystifying but is giving me that extra time to cleanup the gardens. I still have to lift the potatoes and harvest the green beans I left to dry out for winter storage. It's been a good year over all for gardening but I too have had issues with wildlife. The deer ate the strawberry plants down to the ground and nibbled off every squash and pumpkin bud. The raccoons ate every kernel of sweet corn again this year. I did get the six foot wooden fence finished so next year the deer shouldn't be a problem and I'm in process of building a sweet corn fortress to keep the raccoons out of the sweet corn. Year five for Terra Nova Gardens should be a productive year. ***** Have a great fall season.