I'm done. Calling it quits. Throwing in the trowel. It's time to admit it: I really overestimated the amount of productive time I would have staying at home with my son. The garden is about 60x35 and was planted just as heavily as it was in previous years.
vs current mess
Usually at this point I should be setting up a cold frame for greens because the quality of lettuce in the shops around here can be really bad. I guess we'll suffer.
I've decided to give myself permission to be done for the year. To pull up plants and close up shop. To not stand in the kitchen fretting that tomatoes are going unpicked or refilling water fonts for the hundredth time. To use the time I have for cooking, quilting, dreaming of campers, heck yes, maybe even some fall fishing. And of course there will be time for browsing seed catalogs when they arrive in November. The property has been a joy but also a source of stress in that I usually have higher standards than this and am very aware of what I've been neglecting. Isn't that one of the goals of all this, to improve each year?
We did get a lot of very good meals from it and I did get a respectable amount canned and frozen. The produce that got away from me got fed to the poultry and they turned it into meat and eggs. Lots of poultry in the freezer. Not a total loss in the least.
Things still to do:
Those brown patches on the right side of the garden are potatoes that still need dug and the mess on the far left is millet to be harvested. The poultry pasture looks like it produced a good amount of free turnips so those will be dug too. Some herbs will be dried. Dalhias and cannas lifted and stored after the first frost.
Root vegetables store really poorly in our basement and I'm strongly leaning towards burying a lidded bucket in the garden and covering it with a straw bale. I've never done this before and am looking for advice. The idea is that root veg are stored in the bucket and the earth and straw insulates them and keeps them at the proper temperature through the winter. This old method seems to have good success from what I've read.
When this is all done I'll kick the remaining poultry in there for clean-up/composting duty. Which brings on point two in making life easier.
It's time to scale back the poultry and get down to winter numbers. I took a hard look at the chickens this weekend and decided who's going to graduate to the freezer. Mamas who hatched babies will get to stay long term and will get a zip-tie leg band so I don't forget. The others have an appointment on Wednesday to go to the local processor. I think I'm going to take them off the roost Tuesday night while they're sleeping and let them hang out in the garage until it's time to get in the Honda. Hopefully this will avoid another humiliating fiasco like when I tried to round up the meat chickens.
Sorry, buddy. You are handsome though.
If I was being honest with myself I would also be getting rid of the remaining ducks. They multiply the work load by emptying the water fonts a million times a day with their constant dabbling and drilling. They make a mess of everything. They annoy me. But I love them. I love their waddles, their quacks, their enthusiasm for life and how they shake their little butts. So they stay. The two ducks of mystery fathers are looking to be both drakes but I'll give them a bit more time to be sure.
It feels good to make this decision. There's a bit more work to be done but a lot of relaxing days ahead.