Bringing In The Harvest and Other Necessary Things

Greetings from Land`s End in Nova Scotia,

Haying is behind us for this year and the mower  is still not repaired. It seems in the middle where it broke is not going to be easy to get at  it to weld we were told. Dismantling the mower would be a huge undertaking also as it has probably not been apart in a hundred years. So Bill is still working on solving this problem.

In the mean time he used some foggy  days to put up new fences and make the hay field smaller by almost a half. The fenced part was on a steep hill and hard to mow.  His intention is to buy a bull calf to raise for meat to sell. Right now we have more pasture than the goats and horse can ever eat.   Sheep fences rust and split in the middle because of our damp climate. Myda and the other goats walk through them like a swinging door! Molly has great fun putting the goats back in. For now though the fun is over because Bill  finished putting  up new fences.

That necessary thing taken care of he turned his attention back to harvesting the rest of the garden. So far all the potatoes are out of the ground and stored. The crop was not as heavy as previous years or potatoes as big due to scarce rain here this summer. Every row is pulled and dug by hand literally. The row of potatoes is spread on the ground. Each potatoe is examined, has dirt brushed off and sorted according to how good  quality it is. Scarred ones and small ones are put in buckets for the horse for feed. Medium ones are stored separate to use first or for stews. The best potatoes  are put in wooden barrels in the cellar to use over the winter and until next harvest. This year we had a few wire worms but it wasn`t too bad.

The carrots also faired well with only a little rust fly spots in them. Cucumbers and string beans  were prolific. We had a few onions but once again they started to blight and rot and had to be pulled early. This is the third year onions blighted but we haven`t  figured out why. Bill had Egyptian multiplier onions that grow back every year. He has removed them from the garden to see if possibly the blight came from them.

Our corn was the best ever with a mininum of corn worms. We haven`t  pulled it all yet but it looks like a good harvest of corn.  The first corn we always have at a family gathering and potluck.  It is a family tradition now. We also had plenty of green peas and string beans.

The mangels for the animals were okay but not as big as previous years. Still because there was so much hay they will eat well this winter.

The squash looks good except where deer gnawed some of it. The turnips are smaller than usual but cabbage  seems to have done alright. Parsnips  did good as did broccoli. Broccoli must like muggy  weather because it was abundant. In two weeks everything will be out of the ground and stored for winter.

I canned beans and peas and some carrots and made pickels. We also had red and black currents and goose berries which I made jelly or sauce with. The same will be done with the grapes and blue berries.

Our garlic also did good and  is big and firm. It is the only thing we still sell from the garden. Tomatoes in the hot house are ripening well but the green peppers did not do good.The grape vine in the hot house is doing fine and the grapes are finally ripening. Things are later along the coast. Our strawberries were a write off again this year. We need to find an old native variety that resisits blight.

I have a food dehydrator  new this year and experimented drying  string beans and corn. Later I used some in soup and was pleased with the results. I want to dry apples when we get some and will dry some of the grapes.

Regardless of the weather it has been a good harvest. Bill has been around the neighborhood giving what we can`t  use away to neighbors and family. He doesn`t like selling vegetables. When we sold vegetables people were fussy and expected organic food to look like what was grown with pestcides and imported here. It was a lot of stress on us trying to explain that food grown with out chemicals and pesticides is not uniform in size, texrture or color. It can vary a lot. Strange thing is when we give food away these things no longer matter to anyone. People learn to appreciate naturally grown produce. Some have come back and now want to buy vegetables . However Bill is not interested in growing commercially anymore but is willing to teach anyone how to grow a garden if they do the work.

In addition to the harvest and fencing Bill is shingling the front of the barn and changing the door from the East side to the South side. This way the goats will have a South entrance and  exposure and benefit from what sun we do have.

The hay field also has to be plowed and reseeded. Even though he puts seaweed and manure on the fields ever so many years they get over grown with dandilions, wire grass and wild oats.  Then it is time to plow  and reseed. This may not get done until Spring because already we have noticed nights are getting colder and fall is in the air. This week is suposed to be sunny but the temperatures have dropped  to the  low 60`s F or  15 C day times and much colder at night. Away from the sea there has been light frost. There is still much to do before winter so plowing may have to wait.

Our wood is home and cut up but not under cover which is another big job before cold weather. We have had a fire now a few days in the heating stove to take the dampness out of the house.

We are getting tired and are looking forward to winter sitting by the fire , reading and talking , laughing and knowing there is no reason to go out when those North winds blow in the snow except to take care of ther animals. I am trying to convince Bill to build an allyway connecting the house and barn so we do not have to go out side and face the elements if we  do not want to. That will be a project for another year I think.

About lrose

Greetings from " Land's End" in Nova Scotia! My name is Linda Rose. My husband , Bill, and I have been living on and farming organically on a ten acre farm for 23 years now. Bill grew up dairy farming and I grew up and lived in both the city and country. We were married thirty years ago July 9th. and are former Light House Keepers. I am a writer, mother of four, grandmother of two, former dog groomer, hospital worker and now do child care part time. Bill always farmed but also did gardening for others . He was also assitant Light Keeper on Green Island and Bon Portage Island off the south shore of Nova Scotia. We live in what is now called Short Beach on the south shore of Nova Scotia. Many years ago before the first white settlers set foot from their sailing vessels on the rocky shores of Short Beach the natives called this place Kespoogwit. Translated to English it means "lands end" Appropriately named, the land does end a two minute walk from our farm. This is where the Atlantic Ocean beats the rocky shores holding us spell bound. Nature, ever changing, demostrates the puniness of man or woman to the relentless forces of the sea. The forefathers of many people who reside in this area sailed on vessels from England and Scotland. They journeyed to Nova Scotia to begin their lives afresh in a new land. They brought with them only the bare essentials of clothing and tools and in some cases animals. They came men, women and children. Challenged by the weather more than from hostility of the original inhabitants, many a stout man and woman carved homesteads from forested land near the Atlantic. The weather and rocky soil presented obstacles for the original homesteaders and the generations who would follow them. Bill and I came to Short Beach in 1985. I prefer to call our homestead "Land's End". Our journey was much different than that of the first homesteaders who settled here. However our lifestyle is not a whole lot different. We still till the ground and mow the hay with horse drawn implements. I sweep the house with a straw broom and cook on a wood stove. Although ;someone thinking I was missing something gave us an electric stove and fridg; I still prefer my wood stove. Our wood for heat comes from a wood lot and is hauled five miles home with our work horse. Our food is grown organically using mostly simple hand tools to work the soil. The Atlantic continues to hold its observers hypnotized by its sporadic beauty. Tranquil repose is periodically interrupted by furious surging tides, eroding and redefining the shoreline of Short Beach. This is Kespoogwit ; "Land's End". It is our home.