The growing season is a short on for me with it beginning later than most here and ending earlier. All except the greens are done in the field. The flowers are dried. The seeds are being harvested. The hens are on egg-laying hiatus. And I am away for a few days!
I'll be missing the last market in Libby so I can take advantage of my parents hanging around to make sure the hens and all the kitties have plenty of food and face time. I'll be along the Oregon Coast reviving my love of fancy nature photography (its getting too easy/boring using a tiny phone camera when I have some big fancy ones laying around), breathing in ocean air, and taking the time to reset and think about what me and the farm have accomplished over the past four years and what we want to accomplish in the next four.
I'll be back next week to harvest those salad greens and take them to the Amish Farm to Market Store. I'll be taking salad greens there for as long as they'll keep growing this fall/winter and microgreens there all winter long!
I also plan to have a full booth setup at the Fall Bounty Market in Troy on October 15th. I'll have whatever produce is available as well as all the forever flower bouquets, everlasting wreaths, and all the little goodies that I can think of to make with the flowers that got cut and hung to dry this summer.
Thanks so much to everyone who supported the farmers markets, your local growers, makers, and producers (and me!) this season!
We do it for the love of growing and the love of community but we couldn't do it without your love and support as well!
One of the tasks when I get back is to begin sorting and winnowing all the seeds that I've saved so far. There will be more to bring in too as many of the later plants don't mind the cold nights
So many parts of farming involve doing something today that you won't get to 'harvest' until a long time away, including Forever Flowers aka dried flowers.
And it doesn't just begin with hanging them to dry but with planning to order, plant, and grow enough of the flowers you want to dry so there is enough for fresh cut as well as to hang up from the ceiling.
They've been crowding out my rafters all summer and they finally get to be bunched, bundled, and wrapped into brilliantly beautiful bouquets!
The only care they benefit from is staying out of direct sunlight as this will fade their bright colors. Other than that, they are a great way to enjoy the beauty of summer all winter long!
This Friday I'll be at the Kootenai Forest Fair in Libby at the Riverfront Park, so sadly I will miss the Apple Festival in Troy :( But if you can stop by I will have all my usual microgreens, seeds, dragon clips, as well as some dried flower bouquets and a special Forest & Flower Crown demo area filled with all the fixings from both forest and farm to make your very own custom crowns!
The 'orchard' is where I get to forgo planting in straight lines and plant them where they feel right and happy like the Sweet Williams, Burdock, and Comfrey that were all started from seed this spring and get bigger every time I look at them!
Two weeks ago was the first real frost at 28F and last Friday was the big killing frost at 24F. Many things can't survive that even with coverings so it is always such a lovely surprise to learn that some plants are hardier than we might know, like this Phlox which was completely uncovered and unbothered by those hard frosts
Molting chickens means very little eggs and some sorry looking hens as some drop feathers in big patches with spiky pin feathers following close behind
The first of the dried bouquets will be available this week at both the Farmers Market at Libby on Thursday and the Kootenai Forest Fair on Friday.
What is better than colorful cut flowers that require no care and never fade?
I can never choose just one kitten photo to include, so I just include many.
fyi, there is at least one of the black cat kitty sisters in three of the four photos, can you spot them all?
What's available this week?
Where to find it all?
I'll be at the Farmers Market at Libby, this Thursday from 3-630pm!
I'll be at the Kootenai Forest Fair, this Friday from 3-6pm at Riverfront Park in Libby!
Now is the time for removing, mowing down, and prepping to plant again after winter. All the cleanup of beds, repair of tools, construction, and maintenance is the final big push before snow comes to settle in. Anything that can't be brought under cover or inside has to be done in the next few weeks and if not it will have to wait until spring.
It can be bittersweet but also cathartic as you don't need to worry about pulling weeds around delicate seedlings or gently reaching between many stems to harvest a bloom. This it rip everything out time (except those lovely perennials which don't need much work any time of the year!)
And anything that isn't ripped out is mowed, mulched, and tarped to help it compost down before planting time next year.
The kittens provide endless entertainment and mayhem. #siblings
What's available this week?
With frequent frosts and a long nighttime low that stays below 40F, the flowers are nearly done. There are always a few stragglers that push on but the bounty is over as the blooms slow. If I can pull myself away from the outside tasks, I might be able to make some magic with the behemoth of dried flowers I've been saving and hanging for future weeks but the end is near for the fresh bouquets.
I've got some spinach and salad mix available this week as well as a few precious boxes of cherry tomatoes (who are also nearing their end as the long hot days begin to shorten and cool)
Spinach is in the house! and some salad babies before going into the ground on the left and the previous babies all grown up and harvested on the left. On to get washed!
the bees are enjoying the late wildflower blooms as they scramble to get every last bit of nectar before winter. Dandelions are such an important pollen source for them and I've been saving their puffy seeds (yep!) for a new 'lawn' seed mix for next year that will be filled with flowers that will bloom even when mowed low. Get outta here grass, 'cause flowers are the new green!
Without Bonnie's dahlias from Hoot Owl Farm, the late season bouquets would fall flat! My season is so short that I only got two blooms from mine before the frost wiped them out. Maybe next year, they can be cozy under the re-installed high tunnel. But who can say no to these beauties anyways!
Don't let their abject adorableness fool you! These tiny terrors of fluff and fur have too much fun pulling every item of clothing off my open shelving closet (i've got bins now so after a marathon of laundry each item will stay safe and clean), the curtain that acts as a closet door is getting nearly shredded (as is the shower curtain), and the rest of the house is being kitten-proofed in anticipation of when they get to be free from their bedroom/bathroom confinement. I also get to sleep with three liquid balls of fluff and fur snuggled up to me, they meow and purr and play whenever I come into the room, and I get to dress up 4 cats for Halloween now (including two black cats!)
Auntie Hella is still very unsure about her new roommates (they are still separated even if she sometimes sees them when they slip through the door) but I make sure she gets snuggle times on the couch and play time with the feather wand. A few new toys helps to mix their scents together so she can learn that they are good snuggle mates too
What's available this week?
Each night the frost deepens in little bit and then a little bit more. Each morning is a surprise to see what has survived and what maybe hasn't. It also signals the earliest signs of the Larch and the Aspens beginning to turn. So I scuttle around snipping any bloom that is either for the fresh bouquets or get hung up to dry, collecting the seeds as they ripen, and marking the plants that haven't so they can be pulled and composted.
The beginning of fall can feel bittersweet but after a long hot summer (which always comes after super busy springs) it signals a gradual slowdown in the urgency of the farm work (until the possibility of snow brings the urgency back lol). But until then, I'm gonna take the opportunity to sit in the just warm enough sunshine among the cool breeze searching for seeds and hidden blooms as I wait for the seasons to change.
The butterflies are still loving all the ones that are grown specifically for seed or that I left in the field for seed. The butterflies get a tasty snack of nectar so that they can mate and lay eggs for the next generation and the plants get pollinated so they too can make 'eggs' for the next generation which I collect so we can spread them for more butterflies to enjoy!
The Cosmos are also setting seed after a little pollination help from their friends. Both of these beauties go into the seed mix!
Another seed we get to look forward to is Sweet Sultan. I saved some last year but not enough to sell. This year I go out an catch each little 'bowl' of sepals just as the flowy, flighty seeds are ready to burst forth from their little basin and when I tip them over the precious seeds come tumbling out
The Spicy Mix Microgreens (radish on left, arugula on right) enjoy their just right time in the goldilocks comfort of the greenhouse. It helps them grow crisp, juicy, and tasty!
The kittens get more and more comfortable in their space and eager to get out and explore, even if they still havta wait until I've kitten proofed to the best of my ability. Until then they just gotta enjoy the space they got, which they seem pretty good at (even if it means all the clothes in my closet will be adorned with their fur almost as much as they are!)
What's available this week?
I'm Farmer Megan with a life full of cackles, clucks, quacks, weeds, crazy kitten, and one tiny, senior, blind dog.