Fall always seemed like a frugal season to me. It's the time of year where we take stock, put up harvests, and prepare for next year. It's a practical season and it suits my personality perfectly.
I live in north Texas which is just now starting to get chilly at night. We've had a ton of rain and I was fighting that mini-plague last week so it's given me time to think about wrapping things up for the season. I put in some snow peas and brussels sprouts a month ago, but there's no telling if I gave them enough time before frost. Normally we get frost in January, but that's not to say we might have a killing frost earlier.
Since we are still in the midst of settling in, we have loads of other things to do that we didn't have time for during warmer weather.
We want to build a chicken coop, and if possible a residence for a future pig. I might have to search far and wide for a piglet. There are plenty of goats, cows and sheep around here, but I haven't seen too many pigs. And I'm rather particular about pig variety.
I'm not in a big hurry for piggy, because I only want to raise him for 8 months at most. It would be more convenient if we could butcher him in late November or December when it's cool out. You have to work very fast to process the pig once you kill him and the cooler weather helps to keep the meat from contracting any bacteria.
Like most things, you need to think ahead. For example, when do you want to harvest your potatoes? I planted mine too early. Had I planted later, I might have been able to store them in the ground longer.
I am going to forgive myself for the first year and maybe part of the second since we're still settling in. But a good homesteader takes notes on anything and everything that affects his livestock or garden.
Pay attention to your first and last frost dates. It's no guarantee but it will give you a guideline for following years.
Put the garden to bed by turning it over once more and covering it with compost (gawd, I wish I had enough compost) or newspapers, or a weed barrier mat. I think the years we covered the garden always made for a much easier planting the following spring.
There were less weeds, warmer soil and less compaction of the soil. If you have a little garden, I really recommend mulching/covering it during the winter. It'll save your back next spring and it's better for the soil.
If you're prone to below zero weather, blow out your outdoor water lines and disengage any hoses. Water in the line is just asking for trouble. I hate blowing out outdoor pipes because it's always cold when we have to do it, but it's better than replacing a busted pipe in freezing weather.
We had nearly a year to see what blooms and what doesn’t so now we can decide what needs thinning or chopping down. For some reason the people who visit me think I have too many trees. I like it this way. I really don't want to see my neighbors and I like the feeling of living in the middle of a forest. But now that the leaves are falling, this is the time to rake them up and compost them. It's also time to cull any trees that are damaged or unsightly.
Cooler weather is great for cleaning up the outdoors, for digging ditches and filling in holes. Come next week I will test my fortitude when I move a big dump truck load of dirt to my garden area.
I don't want Greg to think I'm goofing off.
Copyright © 2009 Maria Zannini -- http://mariazannini.blogspot.com/.
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