We ordered our wood-burning stove in March, and the installation was finally complete in August. Yes, August. Never mind heating the inside of the house, the great outdoors felt as if they were heated by the wood-burning stove that is the Kansas summer sun. My husband waited with eager anticipation for the day when he could finally, finally justify burning wood in the new stove.
This year, I opted to expand my sweet potato horizons by ordering three different varieties to plant and explore. Although I haven’t taste tested them yet, I have a darn good idea of how the sweet potatoes did in the garden before getting to the plate based on the quantity of each that a friend and I pulled pulled from the ground.
Last year, I made spiced peach butter, and it was absolutely delicious. I feel as if I’ve been hoarding it in my cupboard, afraid to open it. The next-to-last time I had opened a jar, one of my foster kiddos basically drank it, and I didn’t get any of it. So, I’ve been a little wary of opening one of the few remaining delectable jars until I had the time and opportunity to make something equally tempting to replace them. In that vein, I had been looking forward to this month’s Food in Jars mastery challenge because I was hoping to make pumpkin butter, which seemed a delicious way to welcome autumn.
In addition to keeping a hive of bees in my backyard and a flock of chickens, I have quite the vegetable garden, mini orchard, and space devoted to native plants. When I began planting native plants, I specifically looked for natives that were useful not only to my backyard hive but also for the plethora of other native bees and pollinators whose natural habits have shrunk under suburban lawns and stretches of asphalt and cement. If you have space in your backyard for a hive, you should consider planting New England Asters in it not just for your honeybees but for native ones too.
Maybe milking a goat isn’t on your bucket list. Maybe you think I’m a touch eccentric to so boldly admit that I’ve always wanted to milk a goat. Maybe I am eccentric, but I’m also unequivocally stoked that I was able to cross milking a goat off my bucket list. Better yet, I managed to keep the goat from putting her foot squarely in the middle of that bucket, or knocking it over for that matter.
After we dug up our potatoes, we had 33 pounds of them that needed to find temporary homes to cure for storage. We desperately need a root cellar in our house or a make-do root cellar outside somewhere. Last year, we laid out the potatoes and then the sweet potatoes in a spare bedroom and stored them in a box in that closet. This year, both of our bedrooms are occupied by our (mostly) delightful teenage foster kiddos. Neither one of our girls would take too kindly to spreading out 33 pounds of potatoes on a tarp in the floor of their rooms. Nor do they have room to store them for the winter in their closets. Heck, we wouldn’t and don’t either.
The plight of the monarchs is well known: They depend on milkweed in order to reproduce. Without milkweed, the butterfly will become extinct, but milkweed has been plowed under and replaced with lawns and pavement. When I started my gigantic garden, I wanted to ensure that I included native plants to attract pollinators and to support biodiversity in an area that has lost so much of it.