This Month On The Homestead: October 2020

 

Our first snow has arrived!!  Ok, so it was only about an inch, but, nonetheless, it arrived on the second to the last day of October.  And with it came some significantly colder weather including our first below 30 degree night. 

While the majority of our summer garden ended in September, we were the happy recipients of additional garden goodness throughout October in the form of cabbage, broccoli, green beans, squash, beets, carrots, peppers, tomatoes (the first half of the month), and herbs.  Needless to say, our freezers are chock full.


Garden Wins And Fails
Let's start with the fails and get those right out of the way. Eggplant, for some reason, did not do well for me this year.  I've never ever had an issue with it but 2020 was no ordinary year.  Cucumbers, too, did not produce well for some reason.  I've always struggled with melons, and this year, of course, was no different.  They did ok, not great.  And because of the early-on visits by the whistle pig (with the enormous appetite) who adored all things green, we had a rough start with greens, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and carrots.  Many eventually came back and others were replanted.

And the wins......  My peppers did outstanding this year as did my squash, tomatoes, beans, peas, sweet potatoes, and pretty much everything else in the garden.  Partial credit, I'm sure, goes to the soil that we continue to amend.  Partial credit also goes to the fact that I had time to weed, pick bugs, water, and do all of the things that make a garden happy.

On October 30th, the night temps dipped into the 20's, so I pulled of all remaining veg except for greens (kale, chard, arugula, mustard, and loose leaf lettuce).  I've left them growing but we did not get our tunnel made for the raised bed they are in so, unfortunately, I don't think they'll last long with just a cloth row cover.


Oliver & Jackson
Well, back to the specialty veterinary clinic we go.....  

Poor Ollie has been having some issues, come to find out he has multiple herniated discs.  He is doing well and it's nice to know what we're dealing with instead of guessing.  Initially we all thought (us and his neurologist) that he may have a brain tumor like Emerson as well, but it was ruled out with an MRI (thankfully!).

Herniated discs (and brain tumors) are, unfortunately, quite common among frenchies.  Both Oliver and Emerson were not allowed to do stairs or any jumping after we had knowledge of this 5 years ago, so he hasn't put any extra pressure on them.  I can't imagine what we'd have dealt with if they had continued with stairs and jumping.....


And then there's Jack.  Wouldn't you know that Mr. Jackson has a heart murmur, discovered at his annual check-up, and is now scheduled to see a cardiologist?  That guy must have been jealous that Oliver got to travel to see specialists......  Unfortunately they are booked until February, so as long as he doesn't show any signs of distress, he will go at that time (they will get him in as an emergency if need be).  

We expected this would likely come at some point as one of his litter mates has had some heart issues for a few years and is now on medications to keep it under control.  So, Jack will, at the very least, have annual appointments with a cardiologist to keep an eye on his heart.  And in case you're wondering, no, his heart murmur does not stop him from harassing Oliver or biting our toes at night.  

Some things will never change.


delicious apple cake

In The Kitchen
We haven't been out to eat or purchased food to-go since February so our kitchen stays quite busy.  Breakfasts remain fairly simple although I did make Cinnamon Swirl Bread and Blueberry Scones this month, just because.  For lunch we didn't make the switch to soups because of the moderate temps.  Instead, we continued to use the outdoor grill, make quick sandwiches or salads, and of course enjoy leftovers.

Dinners were fairly standard since we've been busy with our soap business.  I did try this recipe for Chicken Fajita Rice for Jay and he loved it. 

For dessert I tried this Apple Cake recipe and it is soooooo good.  As I've noted before, we very rarely use processed sugar, however, we do make exceptions from time-to-time and this cake is worth it.  I did cut the brown sugar used in the actual cake batter in half because I knew it would be way too sweet for us.  It was still definitely more then plenty sweet in our opinion.  I also substituted out the egg, used oat milk & vinegar for the buttermilk, vegan butter, and reduced the oil to make it something I would eat as well, but I'm positive if you are interested in making the recipe exactly as is it will be amazing.  

Jay has asked if it could be made for Thanksgiving so I will be whipping another one up today!



In The Coop
Absolutely nothing is happening in the coop.  The girls enjoy their feed and snacks but are still on their egg laying break.  Jay has been rationing his egg consumption and we did purchase a dozen eggs from our farmer's market a few weeks back so he could make omelets and scrambled eggs frivolously.  At that time we were getting 3-5 eggs per week but now we are getting none.  So we will be buying them again....



What I've Been Reading
I've continued to enjoy reading in the evenings.  I have realized that there are a few new (to me) authors whose writing I love - K.A. Tucker, Elizabeth Berg, Louise Miller, and Heather Webber.  All write very differently but I just really enjoy what I've read by each of them so far.

Here are some of my favorites read this month.  Actually I LOVED each of these (affiliate links):

The Simple Wild: A Novel and the second in the series Wild At Heart: A Novel - by K.A. Tucker (the third and final in the series is available December 1st)

One that I was surprised to really like, because it's not a book I would have normally chosen, was Maybe You Should Talk To Someone by Lori Gottlieb.  I really enjoyed it and am so glad that I read it.

If you have some favorites that you would recommend, I would love for you to leave it in the comments!


soap curing on the shelves

The Soap & Skincare Business
We are incredibly blessed to be quite busy despite the craft shows being cancelled and having limited tourists in our town to shop at our weekly farmer's market.  Our online store continues churn out the orders and our local regulars have consistently come out.  Also, the holiday Artisan Market at a museum one town over is going to be able to open so we are thrilled to have our products there again this year.

Our farmer's market usually moves indoors in November, however, we are trying to stay outside as long as possible this year.  It's been chilly, I'm not going to lie.  A couple of Sundays ago we barely made it to 40 degrees and this past Sunday we were at, I believe, 41 degrees.  We did invest in a portable heater that is fueled by propane so that will be nice.  We can put our tent walls up and turn on the heater to get warm.  It's nice because it gives shoppers much more space to shop and makes them feel a lot more comfortable as our areas COVID numbers continue to rise.


Although this post was about 2 weeks late, I wanted to give you an October update.  Thank you to those of you who have reached out asking for this and other posts.  I'm hoping to get back to posting more often soon!  Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and we certainly have a tremendous amount to be thankful for.  Although we usually host a small gathering for friends, we will be celebrating just the two of us (and critters of course) this year.  It will be a great day off (except for cooking) that we've looked forward to.

Wishing you all a wonderful Thanksgiving!!

5 comments

daisy g said...

I just finished The Late Bloomers Club a couple of weeks ago and also discovered Louise Miller and Elizabeth Berg recently. I'm now reading Flat Broke with Two Goats by Jennifer McGaha. I love fiction with a rural theme, although the book I'm reading now is actually a true story. Even more fascinating!

I made a vegan, gluten-free pumpkin pie yesterday and can't wait to try it. It was so easy to put together, crust and all!

Sorry to hear about the critters. They are blessed to be well taken care of.

We will be staying home and celebrating, just us three. It's the best! Our movie for today will be "Planes, Trains, and Automobiles".

Enjoy your holiday. You are one of the blessings for which I'm thankful.

Kathy said...

Your drying soap looks wonderful. We are the opposite over here at the moment and having a heat wave for the next few days 38 degrees [100F]. In Australia we have all but wiped out Covid and Queensland has done extremely well. I'm surprized to see on the news all the people in the USA travelling for Thanks Giving this year, it's very worrying not to mention after all the Trump rallies naturally the Covid cases have increased. It's very scary and having your own Thanks Giving this year seems to be the most sensible thing. My son turns 17 today [where did that time go] and he also finishes Grade 11 so one more year of High School. Our Christmas Tree is up now and and the summer stone fruits will be in the stores as well. My neice from Perth who's wedding was cancelled 3 weeks before the event in April is finally getting married today unfortunately all of our family from Brisbane who were actually going in April none of us can go now. The WA borders did open a month ago however the air fares are so expensive and other circumstances mean none of us can attend so they will be sending photos and video which will be nice. Have a good week. Kathy, Brisbane, Australia

Staci said...

Thank you so much Daisy. I feel the same about you. :)

Kathy - thank you! Yes, it's a bit of a mess with the whole pandemic over here. Happy Birthday to your son!!! So happy your niece is finally able to have her wedding day. I'm sorry you can't be there and I'm sure you are looking forward to the beautiful photos.

Windy Meadows Farm said...

You've been busy...time flies! The Apple Cake sounds like something we'd love, so I'll definitely try that. Winter is a great time for snuggling up with a good book. My favorites have always been the All Creatures Great and Small series by James Herriot. When I was younger, I thought being a country vet in the Yorkshire Dales would be the perfect life...still hoping to visit some day. But then, I just might not come back, it looks so beautiful! Mary

Staci said...

Mary - yes, I think you and your family will LOVE the apple cake recipe. It's amazing. I love All Creatures Great and Small! Thanks so much for your wonderful comment!