These Two Months On The Homestead: August Apples and September Sugar Wooden

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August and September 2021

Pleasure on the sizzling air balloon competition

The harvest frenzy begins in August and doesn’t let up till October. These months signify the bounty of what we develop, what we harvest and what we protect for winter.

As I write this in mid-October, I’m able to put the gardens to mattress. Prepared for the welcome blanket of snow that signifies my outside labor is finished till spring.

Welcome to my sequence documenting life on our 66-acre Vermont homestead, which we moved to in Could 2016 from city Cambridge, MA. Wondering in regards to the monetary elements of rural life? Try: Metropolis vs. Nation: Which Is Cheaper? The Final Price Of Dwelling Showdown in addition to my month-to-month expense reviewsConsidering going rural? Right here ya go: Need To Transfer To The Nation? 15 Issues To Contemplate.

Happenings Round City

Our native sizzling air balloon competition occurred in September. We have been out in a subject, surrounded by pals and neighbors, watching huge plumes inflate and ascend.

Kidwoods having fun with the balloons (additionally giving me a stink eye)

There’s no new means for me to say how a lot I really like our group. Nothing I haven’t stated earlier than: that I’m grateful and related and blissful. However I can’t cease saying it as a result of that is our place. Devoid of most consumerism and visitors, with restricted cell reception and plenty of pals. I’m grateful we get to stay right here.

The very subsequent weekend in September introduced the county honest. A stereotypically idyllic annual occasion the place pumpkins are given prizes for his or her measurement, little youngsters lead their 4-H cows via the present ring, tractor lovers roll out their vintage John Deeres to compete within the tractor pull, and we purchase our children ice cream cones and a carousel trip. A day very effectively spent.


Summer time garden video games occurred this 12 months with the croquet set I purchased for $2 at a yard sale three years in the past. The wickets have been ignored, the balls flew down the hill, mallets have been akimbo and Glamour Shed was there for all of it. Croquet: possibly not a sport for youngsters. No drawback! Kidwoods ended up successful, adherent as she was to the principles, which can’t be stated for the remainder of us

The Harvest Season

My tomato harvest!

August inaugurates the harvest season and all of the vegatables and fruits begin to come again inside the home. Tubs of apples, crates of tomatoes, colanders of beans, and free pumpkins litter the kitchen flooring. The children rifle via it, discovering the biggest apples to take one solitary chunk of, swaddling the pumpkins in towels, and sorting the beans by coloration. Though that is preferable to final 12 months once they absconded with my greatest squash, put it of their doll stroller and I didn’t discover it for… a number of weeks.

September is the hedonistic top of fall, the bounty earlier than the frost. Chilly mornings warn us, however we don’t hear. We hold making applesauce, pretending the largess will final.


I planted about 689 tomato crops, so I’m happy to report that a few of them did okay. We don’t get sufficient solar, nor do we’ve got an extended sufficient rising season, to rake in tomatoes, however we do alright.

A lot of them get eaten contemporary from the vine, many extra turn out to be tomato/basil/mozzarella salad and the remaining get canned as tomato sauce, of which Mr. FW made 19 quarts.

Kidwoods harvesting tomatoes into her pockets…

In keeping with the children, there are three choices for tomato harvesting:

  1. Your pockets (that was an fascinating laundry day, let me let you know)
  2. The precise harvest basket (too conformist; nobody used)
  3. The direct-to-consumer, as demonstrated by Littlewoods’ chipmunk cheeks.

Bush Beans

My bush beans have been prolific this 12 months and I made 16 quarts of dilly beans utilizing this recipe. My youngsters ate nearly all of those quarts instantly. Can a toddler overdose on beans? Apparently not. The seeds have been the Mardi Gras mix from Excessive Mowing.


Our black currant bushes proceed to thrive–they appear to like our local weather and soil. Mr. FW made 16 quarts of currant jam. The children haven’t but eaten all of it, however they’re attempting laborious. His jam is 2 elements currant, 1 half sugar by weight.


My early Pink Duchess apples

Of their second 12 months, our 100 strawberry crops did fairly effectively. We put hen netting over them, which helped deter overhead assaults. However chipmunks weaseled beneath the netting (regardless of it being tied down… ) and munched fairly just a few alternative berries.

A household of garter snakes additionally took up residence within the beds and could possibly be seen sunning themselves on high of the crops. Nonetheless, we bought a variety of berries! I froze the minuscule quantity that we didn’t eat straight from the patch.


Our three-year-old blueberry crops–all 28 of them–did fairly effectively this 12 months, though it’s clear they’re not but on the peak of their manufacturing capabilities. I had a tough time maintaining the weeds down, which tells me we have to unfold wooden chips between the crops once more. A fall chore, methinks. We nonetheless managed to reap a variety of berries, however then once more that’s relative when you’ve gotten two little youngsters who will fortunately eat a quart of berries in a day after which ask for extra berries for dinner. As with the strawberries, I froze what wasn’t instantly devoured.


Scorching air balloon farewell

There’s a wild bramble of blackberries subsequent to our decrease subject and the children and I tromp via like mama bear and cubs each summer season to pluck these gems.

It’s a thorny, messy job, however the berries are price it. I managed to select and freeze a variety of these to function wintertime bursts of summer season.


Our apple harvest is available in two waves: the Pink Duchess tree begins to ripen in August and the 9 different bushes ripen all through mid to late September. Through the years, I’ve discovered to make use of the Pink Duchess apples–which additionally occur to be the sweetest and largest–for applesauce and dried apples. The remaining we press into cider.

Littlewoods nominated herself as my preeminent, teensiest assistant for applesauce making and she or he was ON IT with the peeler/corer. So on it, in reality, that we managed to interrupt one in every of our peeler/corers (from a yard sale) and needed to transfer onto our back-up peeler/corer (discovered by the aspect of the highway again after we lived in Cambridge, Mass). YOU NEVER KNOW whenever you would possibly want your trash discover peeler/corer.

Littlewoods peeling and coring apples for applesauce

My niblet assistant and I canned 24 quarts of applesauce–utilizing this recipe–and made an indeterminate variety of dried apples. I sprinkle the apples with cinnamon earlier than I put them within the dehydrator, which makes them divine and ideal for varsity lunches in the course of the 12 months.

Kidwoods began Kindergarten the week of this apple journey and thus was not available to help with apple exercise, a truth reiterated to her by her little sister THE second she bought into the automotive at college pick-up. Hear, all of us need to defend our factor. And within the case of Littlewoods, that factor is apples.

Salad and Herbs

My two raised beds of salad greens and herbs continued their abundance via early fall. There’s nothing like harvesting your dinner salad proper exterior your again door! Yum.

Chickens Begin to Grow to be Helpful (kind of)

Tiny apple assistant

WE GOT OUR FIRST EGG IN SEPTEMBER!!!! All credit score goes to Daisy hen, the smallest of the flock, the primary of her title, the Golden Comet with the guts of gold.

After laying it exactly within the nesting field, atop a mushy mattress of shavings, she introduced her accomplishment with a flurry of boisterous bah-gocks and a good quantity of grandstanding. Littlewoods then squeezed the egg and Kidwoods dropped it, nevertheless it someway remained intact.

As I shared the opposite day, not all of our chickens perceive the memo on the place to put eggs, so we purchased ersatz mannequin eggs for hen educational functions.

Up to now, the flock is averaging solely 3-4 eggs per day when it needs to be extra like 11 per day (that’s one egg per hen). And naturally now the climate’s getting colder, which frequently equals a lower in egg manufacturing.

We’re going to place a lightweight within the coop quickly so that they’ll have the requisite variety of daytime to facilitate laying. TBD.

Sugar Wooden

Summer time backyard view

As summer season wends its means into fall, Mr. FW turns his consideration to wooden. We burn wooden in two methods round right here: firstly, to warmth our house with our woodstove and secondly, to boil our maple sap down into syrup in our evaporator. He begins off slicing the latter, referred to as sugar wooden. Sugar wooden differs from home wooden and we retailer it in a separate wooden shed.

Sugar wooden must be quicker burning and cut up thinner since you’ve bought to have your sap boiling sizzling as a way to make maple syrup. Home wooden wants a excessive BTU and it must dry and treatment for a number of years (ideally) earlier than you feed it into your wooden range. You need a sluggish, sizzling burn in your woodstove and a quicker burn in your syrup.

As soon as he’s felled and cut up sufficient bushes for sugar wooden, he’ll transfer onto back-filling our predominant woodshed with home wooden. We burn about three cords per 12 months to warmth our house and our shed holds 9 cords whole, enabling us to dry and treatment the wooden of future years.

Path Clearing

Mr. FW’s different chainsaw-related summer season exercise is path clearing. We’ve got climbing trails crisscrossing our land–a few of which have been right here, a few of which we’ve constructed–and he has to remain on high of them to maintain them open.

Some trails he can brush hog with the tractor, however most require him to hike with the chainsaw into the woods as a way to take away fallen bushes and branches. Price it for the power to hike proper exterior our entrance door!

Photo voltaic Replace

Our woods: I took this one morning on my hike

After transferring right here, we had photo voltaic panels mounted on our barn roof. My full write-up on the panels is right here and I embrace a photo voltaic replace on this sequence.

That is the one means for me to keep in mind that: a) I’ve photo voltaic; b) you all want to be up to date on it.

  • In August, we generated 691 kWh
  • September introduced 601 kWh

For context, in January 2021 our panels generated 95 kWh and in June 2021, we raked in 830 kWh.

Since our electrical firm presents web metering, we’re capable of financial institution our summer season and fall sunshine to be used within the winter, which retains our electrical invoice low year-round, even when the solar isn’t shining.

This has been your photo voltaic manufacturing replace. You’re welcome.

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