The End of Summer

On Sunday of Labor Day weekend, this was the scene in our front pasture.  It sure feels like the end of the season.  My whole life it has seemed like on Labor Day weekend the weather turns crappy and right after improves (after school starts).  This happened yet again this year.

We rotated the cows to the front pasture to graze.  Here they are after the move.  We gave Summertime her booster shot with the move.  Not sure she appreciated it.

Since we shut the barn door to try to keep the poultry out of this front field, it doesn’t seem like we have lost more birds.  But I wasn’t sure.  So Sunday evening at sunset (before 8:00!) I went out to the barn and tried to count the chickens.  I counted 76.  It turns out this is the exact number I would expect with the losses I know of.  So it seems like our plan is working.  And the birds can go in the pheasant pen and the alleyway so they still have some room to roam.  Here are some of them the next morning.

In the long weekend I also noticed a plethora of grapes.  It was beautiful walking under the vines and admiring them.

I did pick some of the grapes on the other side of the fence that were not under the net and seemed ripe.  I also finished picking the peaches.  I picked more blackberries as well.  The pears and Asian pears are ripening as well, but I didn’t have time for them yet.

My attention then turned to the bee hive.  I made some bee candy for them.  It turned out well.

On Monday it became warm enough to rearrange the hive and try to make it more prepared for winter.  I put in a bottom board and rearranged the supers.  I pulled out 4 frames with honeycomb and gave them the candy.  I do not have a honey extractor so used The Encyclopedia of Country Living technique of heating the wax and honey together.

Then you scoop off the wax and collect the remaining honey.  I tried straining it through cheesecloth (which made a big mess) and a fine mesh strainer.  This is what I was able to collect.

There is still tiny bits of wax in it which Tom is not fond of.  I do not mind, and the honey tastes amazingly, including in the morning coffee.  But I need to filter it more for Tom’s sack.  He offered his fine mesh filter bags to use so I will try that next.  I have the resulting wax which still has some honey in it to deal with later and make candles.

Today I got home from work at 10 AM and helped with the chores.  In this process I noticed that my grape plethora was severely damaged by birds.

So I quickly harvested what I could reach.  I did leave the grapes that are better covered by the netting so they can hopefully ripen more.  It is a tricky business waiting for fruit to ripen before the critters eat it.

Today at noon I had a previously scheduled Workforce Appreciation Month zoom class.  For Seattle Children’s employees in the Seattle area, they provide Mariners tickets.  But for those more than 50 miles away they offer virtual events.  I chose the Virtual Terrarium Making Class.  I have always wanted to make a terrarium so was thrilled when I was able to sign up last month.  I have long wanted to make one from a leftover hexagonal aquarium I have.  Anyway, here are the results of my participation in the class.

I thought it turned out really well, and I enjoyed the experience.  But after it was over, I had to cry.  Still struggling with the “termination without cause” after 15 years.

Meanwhile Tom drove to Bothell to purchase this beauty.

It is a 1973 Yamaha LT2 100cc motorcycle.  It has only 800 miles on it.  It has a cracked piston which Tom will be able to easily fix.  I think it is gorgeous.

Next I will need to focus on harvesting pears, Asian pears, grapes, tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, pig pen squash, tarragon, green beans, and plums.  I need to finish preparing the hazelnuts and walnuts too.  I have my work cut out for me.

This entry was posted in Farm. Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to The End of Summer

  1. Jeanne says:

    I enjoyed reading your post for today – until I got to the part of “termination without cause” comment. That breaks my heart! I’m so sorry about that.

    I must say that Tom’s “new” motorcycle looks really nice. With only 800 miles on it, when he gets the cracked piston replaced, it should be a really nice motorbike! GO! TOM!!

    I hope you will be able to handle all those fruits and veggies you mentioned. That sounds like a lot of work. I’m sorry you lost some of your grapes. They make such good juice and jelly.

    I knew you have a lot of chickens, but the actual number – 76 – was quite a surprise to me. How many eggs do they give you?

    Take care!

  2. Diane Cruikshank says:

    Such an interesting post Donna. The terrarium is beautiful and I am so sorry about your termination from Childrens. Summertime is a good looking cow and you have a huge chicken population. I am fascinated by the process of honey preparation. It looks so good. Good luck with preserving the rest of your fall harvest. Hope this beautiful weather holds out so you can get your winter prep chores all done!

  3. Donna says:

    Thanks Jeanne for your comments! Go Tom is right! He is saving quite a few vintage bikes that are otherwise floundering without love in people’s outbuildings. I hope I can handle all of the fruit as well. Today will be orchard day, for sure. We are getting only about a dozen egg per day now. A lot of the hens are young and haven’t started laying yet, and there are a fair amount of roosters right now too.

    • Jeanne says:

      Good morning, Donna. I hope you’re having a good day.

      I have a nephew who loves to ride his bike, as well as going backpacking – sometimes alone – in the mountains. Oooh! I just realized he’s going to be 67 tomorrow. I remembered the day, but had to look it up to see how old he’s going to be!

  4. Donna says:

    Thanks Diane! I am a little surprised by how deeply this termination has affected me. But I can still enjoy our farm while waiting for the job situation to unfold. I am hoping the weather holds too as I have a lot to accomplish!

  5. Aunt Ruth says:

    You sure do have energy, Donna! “Childrens” will be sorry!!! The waiting is the worst part, for it to all get sussed out and be in the past. Fingers still crossed for the next chapter to be even better than the past!!! Hope for the best!!!!!

  6. Denise says:

    So sorry to hear about the situation with Childrens. So is it still up in the air if Skagit will pick up your contract? Your honey looks amazing. And Summertime is so cute. Just love baby cows 🙂 🙂

    • Donna says:

      Yes, it is still up in the air and likely will be for a while. We were supposed to hear something on Thursday and didn’t. So it continues to be stressful. The honey is quite tasty too, and Summer always makes me smile.

Leave a Reply