This fall has been so busy with preparing future gardens, harvesting and preserving produce and stacking wood. Even though we only have over an acre of land, the work seems endless. As I work, my mind does one of two things: zones out completely or thinks constantly about the other work that needs to be done or future projects.
An acre of land definitely doesn’t sound like a lot when you think of homesteading, but believe me you can do SO much on it (we have 1.25 acres). I’m currently turning over the soil for a new garden, putting the other gardens “to sleep” and stacking wood.
GATHERING AND PREPPING
Fall has brought the most bountiful time in our garden. The maritime climate is strange in that we have rather miserable springs and summer begins later than the south of Canada (something rings strange about that phrase…) but fall is glorious. We still have carrots, parsnips, beets, chard, squash, kale and an abundance of fresh herbs growing. However, this will all come to an end very, very soon. I have been so busy, picking, drying and preserving our produce and herbs so that we have organic, homegrown food for the winter that we can eat with a sense of peace and satisfaction (I don’t know if anything is more satisfying than eating your own grown or foraged food).
PREPARING GARDENS FOR WINTER & TURNING OVER SOIL FOR THE NEW
Over the summer, I learnt a lot about our plot of land. Our raised beds are surrounded by pine trees that block a lot of light. So, I’ve decided to turn the soil over in a different spot for a new garden. Why am I doing this now? Well, I wanted to expose the soil to chicken poop, dead leaves and rotten wood before the winter. All of these are excellent for the soil. While I turn over the soil, I let the chickens eat their hearts out. There are SO many worms and grubs and other insects that I couldn’t name. As soon as the chickens see me with a shovel they come running over to me, knowing there will be a feast (Chickens are very intelligent animals)! Our yard is covered in dead leaves as well and we have many rotten tree stumps. I’ve been raking the leaves and mixing in the beautifully rotted wood with the freshly turned soil. Next spring I’ll add in our compost and hopefully have some nutrient dense soil!
PREPARING GARDENS FOR WINTER
Once the above garden is ready, I will cover the beds with decaying leaves, pine needles and place birch bark on top. This is to protect the soil from our incredibly frigid, snow filled winters. It will also prevent weeds from growing in the spring before I actually start planting and working with the earth (I turn the soil over again in the spring). I really enjoy this part of gardening. I think of it as putting the gardens to sleep. Keeping them warm and safe.
PERHAPS NOT GARDENING… BUT FALL WORK ALL THE SAME!
And lastly… the WOOD PILE! It is never ending. But… I love it. So much. I love having the pile of wood outside of our home, waiting to have some meditative hardworking labourer strain their back over it (i.e. me or Jamie). The quintessential northern home. I have spent the majority of my life living in the country or in very small towns in eastern Canada (I grew up in Eastern Ontario) and there isn’t a spot that doesn’t have wood piles and smoke curling out of chimneys as a common feature. My favourite human landscape is a small town, covered in snow with a church steeple and smoke curling from the chimneys around it… I digress.
The work doesn’t end. I have a lot more to do before winter starts. But I wanted to share with you a couple more pictures before I say goodbye! Happy Samhain weekend 😀