08-16-2014 Journal Entry – Fall is Beginning!   Leave a comment

My better-half has announced a day-off today so we’ve planned an outside workday at home. Believe it or not Fall is just a few weeks away and we’ll be starting the process of closing down the garden soon.  If we do a little each week then it won’t be such a challenge.

I really was in denial about Summer being over until yesterday.  We were driving around enjoying the nice day when horror of horrors I noticed a few trees whose leaves have begun to turn red. I was a little surprised but a few days before I’d also noticed a large flock of birds gathering  in a wooded area near our home.  Both signs of an impending season change.

I guess it’s time to plan the work for today. Job #1: Cut the grass.  That’ll have to wait until afternoon when the grass has dried somewhat. All the rain we’ve been receiving of late makes cutting in the morning impossible. 

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This morning will entail us working in the least favorite job we have.  If you’ve ever seen the movie Apocalypse Now, you’ll remember that famous quote of Robert Duvall’s, "I love the smell of napalm in the morning."  Here in Maine during this time of the year we have a quote of our own, "We love the smell of compost in the morning." If you’ve never had the opportunity to work in compost you don’t know what you’ve been missing. There’s nothing that says Fall like standing knee deep in a large pile of decomposing vegetable matter that oddly smells like an outhouse. If on a hot, sticky and humid day you took a rotten egg, wrapped it in a smelly old sock, then wrapped it in a really nasty pair of old filthy underwear, and rubbed it under your nose, you’d understand.  That will be our morning today.

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‘Piles 1, 2 and 3”

Pile 1 will be used for the garden in 2015. Pile 2 will be used in two weeks. Pile 3 will be used 2016.

A compost pile is crucial to keeping your garden happy and healthy. It replaces many of the nutrients needed to grow vegetables and they must be replaced every year. Unfortunately there are certain things a compost piles needs.  It needs vegetable matter, water, heat, and stirring.  Stirring is just taking the pile and turning it over with a pitchfork to allow more air to get into the mix and to help grow the bacteria that accelerates the decomposition process. That being said the reality is that it smells bad, really bad.  After working in it today I’ll be smelling that smell for a day or so. It’s gross and more than a little disgusting.  A typical day in the life of most farmers and part-time gardeners like us.

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‘A big moist and steamy pile.’

I need to get to work soon but I wanted to tell you about my fun yesterday. Each year we do a large amount of canning but we always like to try new recipes we’ve found or created.  Yesterday I made for the first time a batch of hot Radish Relish. It takes  a few pounds of radishes, vinegar, habaneros, sugar, salt, and a few other spices. The result as you can see is a beautiful and savory red relish that will be great on burgers, hotdogs and can add a little zing to your tacos as well. Sometimes these experimental things fail miserably but not this one.  I look forward to making it many more times in the future.

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‘Start’

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‘Finish’

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