It’s October, everybody! Ahhhhh! And do I have news for y’all! Which means today’s post will be more of a ‘newsletter’, since I have things to share! Great things!
Firstly, about a month back I received an email from Havok announcing the winners for their season 5 anthology: PRISMATIC – and one of my stories was on the list! ? To explain how it works, every six months the Havok team selects the top stories out of over a hundred that were released over that period and publishes them in ebook and print format. To be chosen among top authors who do this professionally, and not just as an occasional hobby/exercise like li’l ol’ me . . . My mind is officially boggled, y’all. Humbled. Blessed. Super duper excited. I don’t have a date yet for when the anthology will be released, but you can bet your britches I’ll be letting you know as soon as I do!
Secondly, also related to Havok but of more recent development, ANOTHER of my stories was selected to feature on their podcast – and it released today!
May I repeat that?
One of my stories is out on the Havok podcast today! Listen to it here! They have an amazing team, working with amazing narrators, and I cannot wait for you all to hear this one. I am over the moon excited to be able to share this with you!
Okay! That’s the big, super awesome stuff I could not withhold telling you. Now I can return to the topic at hand with a clear mind.
The Farm, in Autumn. This episode brings us full circle, since I began the pseudo ‘series’ about life on our homestead back in January, with winter. That season looms ahead once again, but for now we are in autumn’s glory and are LOVING IT. This has to be the best season. I know that each one seems pretty awesome in its own right (yes, even winter has its merits . . .) but even knowing what autumn portends I cannot help but treasure it. Cool nights mean snuggly blankets. Hot tea and heavy sweaters. The drive home from work is a kaleidoscope of warm, cozy colors in breathtaking beauty as the trees garb themselves in their evening gowns, dressed for the year’s last celebration before winter. Hearty comfort foods are back, and spending a day in the kitchen with the oven on and stove going is a welcome pleasure.
So. Many. Things.
So what does autumn look like on the farm? Well, for the most part, loooooooots of work! Summer’s produce rolls in at breakneck speed, and it feels as though life is a race to preserve it! We’ve been freezing our tomatoes as they ripened for the last month or two so we could preserve them all at once, and Mum recently made several batches of tomato sauce and pizza sauce for the pantry. She also made banana peppers, y’all. See how much she loves me? The second round of chickens are in the freezer (always a fun weekend ???) and now we’re trying to find a place with openings so we can get our pigs and steers processed. Sometimes I wonder if it wouldn’t be more efficient if we learned how to do that ourselves, too. Not that I’d be too excited about the task. So far chickens are my limit?
In the meantime, we have a herd of bacon seeds. Have you ever touched a pig? Fun Fact: Did you know that toothbrushes were once made with hog bristles? Yeah.
Besides the animals, there’s the garden (cue dramatic music). This year we put in permanent beds, filling the 20+ rows with toms and beans and squash and potatoes and beets and greens and flowers and cucumbers and onions and *gasping breath* peanuts. Lots of good stuff. The potatoes have long since been harvested, their beds sown with buckwheat as cover crop/fertilizer. As have the tomatoes, onions, and, well, most everything else at this point but for the flowers (still going strong!) sweet potatoes, butternut squash, and PUMPKINS.
The peanuts are something new this year – until Mum brought them home to plant I always thought we lived too far north for peanuts! They aren’t quite ready to harvest yet, and I’m not even a huge fan of peanuts, but I’m excited to see how they turned out. Fun Fact: Peanuts are legumes. This makes them more like potato beans than nutty peas. I really think we should rename them. It’s false advertising. ?
Something else new we tried was popcorn! The harvest is only just now getting ready, and we’ve got ears coming out of our . . . well . . . ears! Hanging on the clothesline, splayed out on the picnic table, fanning in a wheel barrow in the garage . . . I can’t wait to see how these turn out, because I DO love popcorn. (Evidently so does the dog. She’s been stealing ears and leaving chewed cobs all over the place?)
We finally got a legit pressure canner, too, being that we want to preserve more of our own food, and so far have managed to do beans and chicken broth without causing any explosions! Yay! Meat is on the list. We will get there. Eventually. It’s difficult to keep track of, get to, and stay on top of everything that we want to and need to get done! Can you relate? Between keeping up with the produce, staying on top of the weeds, and taking care of all the to-dos for upkeep and, now, cleanup, it’s only by God’s grace that we get any sleep and can make it to church in time every week!
Exhausting though the work may be, I have to say it is some of the most fulfilling work, and when you sit down to a meal crafted of all the different things you make and produce for yourself it’s also the most rewarding. Good work. Good food. And now that we have our own little ‘farm store’, it’s easier than ever to share the love with our community! It’s been so much fun being able to take another step toward this dream of ours of having a market. So far we have an egg fridge, but the goal is to add a glass front meat freezer out there, too! Right now we sell that by appointment, but it’ll be awesome if we can have pieces out there for all y’all that stop by. At the moment, we regularly have our pure maple syrup and raw honey, along with fresh eggs, specialty jams (made by yours truly), and a few baked goods. Since opening this, we have seen our customer base and community grow so much in just the past year, and I can only stand in awe of what the Lord has been doing with and for us over each passing season.
I’d like to say that things are winding down, getting packed away and buttoned up for winter, buuuuuut that would be a fib. The days are still wonderfully gorgeous and some things are still growing (check out my or Wingnut Acres Instagram stories yesterday? That birdhouse gourd has an agenda. Between it and the goji bushes, I am afraid. Very afraid.) A few weeks ago we did our annual cider pressing, except this time instead of going to a local orchard to collect drops, we went up onto our back hill! Turns out we have a few apple trees up there – who knew, right? This place is like Eden, I’m telling you. That alone makes the cider taste that much better. These apples are a step above organic, too. They’re WILD. No idea what variety they are, except the scrumptious kind, and they make a pretty good pie, too, if I do say so. I probably won’t get to making any apple butter this year, but I do want to make a smoky apple jam. Super good with cheese or pork, y’all . . .
Anyhoo, the days are still full and bright and overflowing with the goodness and grace of God. We can’t know what tomorrow will bring, what the future will look like, but we can rest and have peace knowing that He is already there making a way for us.
What are you up to this autumn? Plan on any hay rides, corn mazes, or pumpkin carving? Are you into all that pumpkin spice-everything, or more of a cider and donut purist?