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Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Never too old

[posted by risa]La Niña appears to be slowing down, and we are set to have had about fifteen golden September days in a row with temps in the 80s. The Canada geese have taken an extended layover from their gatherings for the flyaway; the tomatoes are ripening at last; leaves on the oaks, ash and cottonwoods are clinging to their greenery; risa is roofing and turning nut-brown.

I'm nearing the end of the project, though. All the surface is covered with the new roll roofing, and the edges have been secured. I'll be working around the vents and chimney tomorrow and that should just about do it. The new roof has much higher albedo than the prior one and already it seems to help with the hot part of the day.

When I'm getting addled by the heat, I climb down and do something different for a bit, such as cleaning my room, picking apples, or just hiding in the barn, like just now.

Beloved is away for a few days, so hiding in the barn has the dual purpose of cooling off and going on an egg hunt. I never seem to remember to go get the basket when I think to check for eggs, so I go with what I've got: often a skirt or bandanna, gathered like a furoshiki, or a straw hat. In my hat today there are Araucana and Barred Rock chicken eggs and a few Khaki Campbell duck eggs. I will bring them in and transfer them to the basket in the cool room (combination laundry and pantry, and what here in the Northwest is called a mudroom -- unheated, shady, a good place for the chest freezer and baskets of apples and potatoes and such).

I'm off to Florida in a couple of days to check on my ailing parents: he's 91, she's 80, and they are both legally blind now -- don't ask me how they're staying on in that trailer park by the St. John's River, so far from town. So I will report on our challenge activities up through today and then pack up the computer.

Melanie at One Green Generation reminded me that her challenge is not the same as Sharon's -- among other things, I have to plant something new from seed. I didn't have anything really new planned, I thought, but I've just remembered: Apricots! I learned how to crack an apricot pit, fish out the seed, and stratify it in the refrigerator. Hopefully I'll get five new trees out of this, next year. So there!

Independence Days: Plant something: I think the most recent stuff is some kale for winter and also leeks.

Harvest Something: Come the deluge! Have begun feeding zuke zeppelins and chard to the poultry, who have really run out of grass. They also get anything that bolts, though they don't care so much for the radishes. Umm, tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, apples, blackberries, cucumbers, beans, peas (spring peas still yielding in September! A record!!), red cabbage, lettuce. Beloved has lifted her Walla Walla onions and they are drying in the big Western Window. And eggs, as always!

Preserve Something: applesauce, apple butter, blackberries. Not much else happening as we aren't very available to get it done. I envy Meadowlark's recent achievements in this category!

Store Something: I've stocked up ahead on some home maintenance supplies such as insulation, pipe wrap, trim paint, screws, bits, and a hammer tacker. Leftovers from the roofing will go into other projects, and I plan to double the R-value in the crawl spaces this winter.

Cooked Something New: Beloved tried a Raspberry Cheesecake which was a hit at our Library Ladies picnic.

Worked on Local Food Systems: laid out the rest of the orchard for putting in new fruit trees in the winter, when they're dormant.

Reduced Waste: finished converting all the flashlights and the electric lantern to LED, to save on batteries and charging.

Learned a Skill: Never used a hammer tacker before. Now I feel like a pro. Never too old to add to one's carpentry tricks, I'm thinking!



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