Everything seems to slow down this time of year. The darkness outside beckons me inside to nest and prepare for a winter’s rest.
Yet there is still so much to do!
This is the time of year all the efforts of spring and summer come to bear and abundance abounds.
This year we have been oven-drying tomatoes in mass to use for recipes for the next two years to come. Next year we plan on canning tomato sauces and pastes for the next two years after that.
Alternating focuses every other year allows for better planning of which varieties of tomatoes to grow in a given year, in addition to not burdening the food preserver with too many items to prepare every year.
The amount of effort to save 2 years worth (as opposed to 1 year worth) of an item is negligible, the amount of effort to save 1 years worth of 2 items every year is significant.
The first fall frosts tell us it is time to harvest the remainder of winter squashes and pumpkins. Cutting pumpkins and squash from the vine with 2 inch stems left on their heads will allow us to store these fall treats easily for up to 4 months.
My family also deep mulches (with straw) cold hardy greens to extend the season as long as possible. The straw beds also add carbon to the garden to be broken down over the winter into the soil for the next growing season.
Last, we are up against time to winterize the five hives of our apiary and harvest the honey before it is too cold.
We triple strain our honey by gravity, so the honey harvest can take a couple of weeks to complete. It can take months to complete making all the products we make with the leftover honeycomb and beeswax.