It has been a while since my last post, I know. I apologize. Life has been really busy! Found out that my upcoming grandchild is a grandson (a boy! A boy!). Commenced a new job as a member of the executive team (a team I adore in such a short time!). And yes, harvesting and prepping for winter.
I am well aware it’s September. That’s why I am prepping.
After a strong El Nino summer, I am in full anticipation of a brutal La Nina winter. Sub-zero temps. Howling winds. Snow. Loads of snow. The Farmer’s Almanac predicts snow by Halloween (which would suck ass); meteorologists are telling us to get ready for a doozy. All these signs and warnings ring my prepping bell like you wouldn’t believe.
If you have ready any of my blog at all, you know I am more prepared than most for such an event. In fact, the same preparations that I make for floods and tornadoes serve me well for a horrific winter. But, a few more things need to be done- which is why September is awesome for prepping.
Fall and Winter Gardening
Do you think I am done planting yet? Hell-to-the-no! Late August and early September are prime for radishes, beets, broccoli and cabbages. I have not planted the latter, only because of space- my green beans are still producing and I hate to pull them up just yet. May just skip cabbage, as no one in this house will complain if I do choose to pass. But the rest of the cool season veggies are all sprouts! I will need to thin those seedlings this weekend if the weather holds.
I am working my second broccoli harvest. After cutting the large heads off about a month or so ago, the florets start to pop off on the side. Another week at the most and those babies will be off the plants and in my freezer.
It is also time to cut back the stuff that is tired of growing already, like peppers and other warm-weather loving plants. I will spend 15-30 minutes a day in the garden to ensure that I keep up with that task. When the beds are cleared of this year’s plants, I will put in some winter rye. It will grow up until frost; when the ground thaws in the spring (about the time I plant my broccoli), I will till it under. Green manure, baby.
Of course, I am still harvesting some goodies. I planted cantaloupe waaaayyyy too late this year, but thanks to the super-hot temperatures over the summer (it is 90 degrees here today- and it is after Labor Day!) I was able to secure a harvest of about ten gorgeous, blemish-free, totally organic (of course!) cantaloupe. Yum. I cannot wait to carve this baby up!
Herbs have been harvested for the final time this season, having served me deliciously all spring and summer long from my improvised bird bath herb garden. I was surprised this year with a wild growth of garlic chives near the shoreline of the small lake I live on. If you are not familiar with this herb, I encourage you to become so. The stalks, leaves, flowers and seeds are edible. Garlic chives taste like a mix between garlic and onion and are prevalent in Asian cooking. Free wild herbs? I am all in. As I write, my basil, thyme, oregano, rosemary and wild garlic chives are drying in my multi-layer dehydrator right now. My kitchen smells like an Italian restaurant.
It is also time to plan for winterizing my plants. Still too warm to resort to compost and mulch, but that time is only a few short weeks away. Getting ready to help the blueberries, strawberries and everything else survive a fierce winter in style. I hope.
Harvest and Prepping
Ever have to go out in freezing temps with blowing wind and snow because you absolutely had to go to the store? Sucks, right? I know! That is why I am going to continue my plan to do my level best to stock up, freeze up, and store as many of the essentials as I possibly can.
This year, my work is going over and above what I have done in years past. Not only do we have a bad winter forecasted, but I have a pregnant woman, a recovering son, and my own arthritis bullshit to deal with as it is. I would like to make things as easy on myself and my family as possible.
Eggs. I am even storing eggs. You can, too! This is a good thing to do in any case- eggs on sale for $.69 a dozen? Stock up! You can successfully freeze these little protein powerhouses easily! Here is an easy way to save eggs:
- Spray an ice cube tray with non-stick cooking spray.
- Break eggs into a large bowl. I prefer to use a larger measuring cup (see below) so that I can take advantage of the pouring spout.
- Whisk eggs, just as if you were going to make scrambled eggs, and pour into the tray.
- Freeze! When done, just pop out of the tray into a large freezer bag and store in the freezer. Each cube is roughly one egg, making this any easy way to use for recipes and meals.
Prepping is wisdom
My husband has a Great-Aunt Shirley. This is not your run-of-the-mill octogenarian. Aunt Shirley is a badass. She used to ride a horse to school. She is still a crack shot and able to hit bullseye nearly every time. She is as saucy as I could ever hope to be. I adore her. When I share little tidbits such as this on Facebook, I inevitably get the “You know, you can get those in the store” and “Zombie Apocalypse much?” I ignore it, but Aunt Shirley always has my back. In Aunt Shirley’s words:
- Stocking food is not crazy. NOT stocking food is crazy.
- Make your own daily bread. It’s better. It’s cheaper. And in the winter, you get the bonus of a heated kitchen to stay warm.
- Grow your own food. Can your own food. Freeze your own food. God gives us all we need- take advantage of it.
If any of you want to go toe-to-toe with Aunt Shirley and call he crazy, feel free. I will be over here taking bets against you.
All of this to say that the wisdom of caring for your own by preparing and managing is something that generations before our own simply took as the standard way of living. How did we get to a place as a society that we could forego the pleasure of caring for ourselves and the security of knowing we could do so for the convenience of adding water and microwaving for 2 minutes? I am so grateful for the movements that encourage self-sustainability and hope that these movements catch fire. I really do.
Make this a productive September. I gotta go. Canning is calling. 🙂