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Routine Change – Freezing Cold Nights

Routine Change – Freezing Cold Nights

 Routine Change

Routine change seems to happen quickly even though fall creeps in slowly, particularly this year. Last week we had daytime temperatures in the high 70’s and nighttime temps in the low 50’s. This morning the hose was frozen because the temp dipped into the high 20’s. At 10 am the water trickled through enough to get the thawing process started. Routine change: drain the hose during evening chores and make sure it’s stretched out where the morning sun will find it earliest.

Moving the Chicken Tractor

Every morning I let the Cornish Cross meat chickens out of the tractor to run for the day. I bring them a little corn to help them warm up quickly. Every evening I move the tractor onto clean grass or soil, move their five gallon waterer into the tractor, and wait for them to go in for the night. Routine change: As of today I’m moving the tractor in the morning and leaving the tarp over it so the sun can warm the ground during the day, giving them a warmer spot to sleep at night.

Building a Fire

checked firewood, routine change, dry firewoodMost mornings I’m up early, start the coffee, get the kindling and firewood, build a fire and get my shower while the coffee finishes. I dress by the fire that’s still catching, barely enough warmth to start the groan and pop of the heating metal. Routine change: Bring in the kindling and firewood after evening chores. Build the fire first thing in the morning, then start the coffee. Coffee takes a few minutes to make because we grind beans each time we make a pot. The spent grounds are stored to be scattered in the herb garden. Building the fire first won’t make a huge difference but it’s a few extra minutes for the heat to build.

I’m looking forward to days inside later this week, watching the rain fall while sitting by the fire, working without interruption, writing writing writing for something other than a paycheck. I’ll roast a chicken with potatoes, carrots and onions on an open fire by the pond on Wednesday and then use the leftover chicken for chicken salad with cranberries and walnuts, fajitas and a soup.

Coyote Problem

routine change, coyote, meat chickens, cornish cross, A coyote has been hanging out here for more than a week. One came through in April and July. A youngster very much attached to our back porch, backyard and orchard, visits nightly for the past week. It arrives a little earlier each night, just after Steve turned off the noisy saw and came in last night.

We can’t night hunt again until mid-December but if I catch it in the act of bothering the meat chickens, well, it’s days are over. The cold nights seem to have spurred its desire to hunt here. The deer haven’t been around since the coyote showed up. I will feel bad for ending its life. It’s not an animal I’ll eat and I won’t tan its hide. I really don’t know what I’ll do with it; it’s been quite a while since we’ve had to kill one. I hope it takes on a routine change before it’s too late.

And speaking of killing. <sigh> One of the meat chickens, a hen, is mostly likely developing pneumonia. We’re in wait-to-see mode. We have two choices. Treat her with antibiotics or slaughter soon. We’re two or three weeks away from processing all of the meat chickens. We don’t want antibiotics in our food when we have a strong alternative. She’s fryer size now, certainly large enough to provide three meals for the two of us. I’ll see how she is in the morning. I’m ready for the poultry routine to change, for them to move on to the freezer. It’s chilly during the day, cold at night, and sometimes so windy I have to tack down the tarp covering the entire tractor at night. It’s not good meat-raising weather now as it takes more food to keep themselves warm as well as grow.

Are you going through a routine change as autumn progresses?

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October Garden List

October Garden List

October Garden List

Are you ready to wrap up the garden? I want the work to be finished but I want someone else to do it. That isn’t going to happen so I’m getting myself organized with a list and planning an extra pot or two of coffee. If you feel the sudden urge to bring me a latte while I’m raking – don’t resist! đŸ˜‰ The October garden is still a bit of work but who doesn’t love to be outdoors on these gorgeous days!

Get the straw you’ll need to mulch carrots you plan to leave in the ground over the winter and the garlic you need to cover. You want it on hand when you’re ready.

october garden, terra cotta pots, clay pots, how to clean up the gardenRake rake rake. Don’t let the wind blow those valuable leaves away. Leaves are much needed browns in the compost pile as you pull out the last of the cold weather plants later this morning. Or, mulch. Or, mow mow mow. Mow the lawn to chop up the leaves and mix them with grass. Pile this up and let it compost.

Leaf Mold

Another option for fall leaves is to run them over with the lawn mower, and then stuff them into a 30 gallon trash bag while they’re still damp. Add a quarter cup of blood meal or other high-nitrogen amendment, and let the leaves break down into leaf mold. Leaf mold is a nice soil amendment.

Garden Shed

Clean out the garden shed. If something is broken and can’t be re-purposed, throw it out now. It won’t heal itself over the winter. Really, it won’t. No matter how much I want it to…

Clean and store the pots and tools you’ve emptied in the past month. If you’ve pulled diseased plants from the pots be sure to clean them well or replace them.

Seed Saving

Store the seeds you saved in clean dry, containers, and keep them in a cool, dark spot. Be sure to label them properly because if you’re like me, no, you won’t remember what each packet contains in the spring.

Dig Dig Dig

Dig the trenches or holes now for asparagus and other perennials you’ll plant in the spring.

Did you get your garlic planted?

Weeds

I include weeds in every month the ground isn’t frozen. If you’ve let weeds go to seed (guilty, I neglected a small garden) you can flame the soil’s surface and kill a lot of them. Make sure you clean up dry plant material so you don’t start a fire.

If you rototill, turn over the top two inches of soil to bring weed seeds to the top. A few warm sunny days will encourage germination, and then a good hard frost will kill the seedlings.

Blog Hops

maple-hill-hop-buttonI’m happy to be slowing down enough to participate in blog hops again. I’ve missed keeping up with everyone over the summer. Check out today’s hop at Maple Hill 101. If you blog you may share anything outdoors related in the hop. I’m sharing my October garden chore list.

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