Wednesday, October 06, 2021

Virtual Oktoberfest

We've often gathered a few acorns to plant and of these, some have been peeled and thrown into the grinder once or twice each year -- we can't seem to be bothered with getting the tannin out, so a token quantity of them disappear into the barley meal for October porridge -- but this year, as I was sitting with Daughter in the secret garden, we noticed about fifty jays flying back and forth, back and forth, from the oak tree across the street, with something white-ish in their mouths when outbound. I'd love to show them to you but my camera is rudimentary.

This was new to us, so we looked it up, and it turns out oak groves are planted by jays, who cache even more obsessively than squirrels when the fit hits them. On a site back East, more than 30,000 acorns were distributed from one small stand of oaks in a matter of days. 

Our jays are the western Scrub Jay and one has been observed planting 5,000 acorns in a season. Makes me feel I can retire from this activity, as I'm surrounded by real pros.

I have been having some of the last bowls of zuke-with-whatever and sometimes, as fresh tomatoes have been plentiful and won't be, I take the steamed vegs as shown here and blend them with about an equal quantity of tomatoes, and that's my tomato soup recipe.

Meadow mushrooms have come up, and so today's menu is mushroom tomato soup.

We have let the ducks into the garden and they are cleaning up choice weeds and bugs. Much of this activity involves shoveling mud with their beaks, so we must remember to keep buckets of water there for them, so they can clear their air passages from time to time. 

They're also eating quite a lot of my chard greens, but the stripped leaf midribs are still useful and we have enough of the greens to share. 

We had trouble getting water to the roots of the vegetables this year, as the drought turned the soil into iron even underneath the deep mulch. So after a few inches of rain (yes, real rain!!!) I've begun breaking things up a bit beneath the mulch with a spading fork. I do have a broadfork, but I think I'm getting too old for it. The idea is to lift everything about two inches, rather than turn it over, as in spading, tilling, or plowing. This should aerate the heavy clay and make for a bit more of a water reservoir.

With the arrival of the rains, we have spruced up the dining room a bit, as it is the winter's living room. I've swept around the wood stove, filled the wood basket with kindling, set a bench from the outside round table by my chair as my tea and mending table, and put up a little display on the dining room table. 

Neither of us empty nesters eats at the table. Beloved uses it as her desk; my desk is the one inset into a cubby by the wall across from the stove.

She sometimes takes it over to do story time for the clan.

With the garden display behind her, Story Time becomes a virtual Oktoberfest.

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Stony Run Farm: Life on One Acre