in comes autumn

We got almost two inches of rain this week, and everything is covered in slick, clingy mud again. the rain’s good, and always needed, but it brought cold weather with it, probably for good this time. We had a nice indian summer for a couple few weeks, with days in the mid 70s and nights in the high 40s, but it froze last night, and is supposed to freeze every night for the next five. time to take in the last of the tomatoes & peppers to ripen inside, and mulch the chard & beets. not to mention time to vaccuum all the south valley mud off my office floor, that comes in on my boots every morning. it’s a good thing this is the art department, and most of my co-workers couldn’t care less about things like that.

last weekend we transplanted a bunch of little shrubs (mainly cherry & plum) from to the south side of our garden. Hopefully they’ll become a food-producing, wildlife-sheltering hedge there. We also caught up on some excessively round round-to-its, (like getting a light in the henyard for the winter, to prolong the “daylight” hours for the birds, so that they keep producing lots of eggs. we’re bringing in about a bit over a dozen a day right now) and putting the wind-event tie-down cables back on the yurt. so now there are tripping hazards all around the yurt, but the hard part of that job is done, and i can detach them at the base and hook them back up easily when high winds are expected.

this weekend should include more general farm work. tomorrow morning we’re going to plan our winter projects, taking the enormous list of things we *could* do, and winnowing it down to the things we feel we can realistically acheive, given that we must till the garden, compost it, and shape it over the winter in addition to whatever else we elect to do. we will finish the east side of the rabbit hutches and build beehives. and we might make a ferrocement water tank in the greenhouse for thermal mass, we might plant some more trees, and some blackberries along the ditch, we might lower the goat field and start building an earth bag root cellar from the resulting dirt, we might build a goat shed and fence the goat pen, we might install the rainwater cisterns we’ve been working up to, we might build a shed near the pump house to help with the continual organizational crisis in pump house and barn, we might build some shelves in a couple places in the house, to help with the same kind of thing indoors. i expect there are more things than that that we might do. it’s all clearly much too much for one winter, even with Rev’s help and interns around some of the time.

in a couple weeks, I will move the drum circle locus to its new location, and the november full moon jam will be there. it just needs to scoot over a few feet, essentially, but i’ll involve measuring tapes and make sure it won’t have to move again once its done. we’re also coming up on the one-year mark for the compost—that is, last year’s compost will be done curing, having passed its official one-year mark, next weekend. so we will be turning that into the garden once we pull out the drip system for the season. with the frost coming all this week, i expect to get started on the drip system removal and sorting process sometime this weekend, too, though i also expect to be working on that for a couple weekends; it’s an extensive system.

sunday we are going to take a look at some travel trailers listed on Craigslist, and with any luck, come home with one that will then become work-trade housing, first for Rev, who will be doing worktrade with us for the winter, then for interns once he moves on to the next thing in the spring. on the one hand, a travel trailer feels like a weird thing to be spending money on, but on the other hand, more housing around here is becoming an urgent need, and this makes a lot of sense. i am really looking forward to the completion of Alan’s yurt as well, which is coming along nicely, and which we should be able to set up and fully install sometime in late November or December. With Alan moved into his own yurt, his room in the house will become Tristan’s room, and with the travel trailer available, nobody will have to give up a bedroom for interns when we are hosting wwoofers, which should overall assist quite a bit with the over-crowded feeling that we have been wrestling with off and on. i have hopes, anyway. and better schedule management with interns over the winter will help, too. we are taking december off from having interns here, and might take february off as well, depending on how we feel. i’m not scheduling them as far into the future as i had been, either.

the grandmother cottonwood, last week:

cottonwood leaves:

updated yurt and herb bed–this garden is entirely fed by rainwater from the roof of the pump house & surrounding-area catchment (it is lower than the land around it, and slopes back) & greywater from the laundry & bath. and i realized i hadn’t taken a photo of the yurt since we got the chimney clean & put back together.

lantana in the herb garden:

glorious tree, backlit by the setting sun:

and from the other side:

red amaranth and my long shadow

our north neighbor’s picturesque yard: