I know by the thermometer that summer is still in full swing, but this week we’ve be knee-deep in fall planning. I’ve been trying to figure out what vegetables to plant for fall harvest. I know for sure we’ll be putting in a bunch of broccoli since my spring planting turned into a groundhog buffet. Spinach and more peas are also on the list. Maybe some more cabbage. Definitely kale and other greens. I’ll be dragging my cold frames out again and possibly converting the chicken nugget house into a mini greenhouse. I’m excited to try to extend the growing season in any way I can.
The bigger questions are when to plant and where. Once I get my list of veggies figured out, I’ll jump onto my county extension office web site to take care of the “when”. They have some great documents that give general planting guidelines. As for where, well, that will be interesting. In theory, I should have room to replant the broccoli, peas, cabbage and lettuce back into their spring locations.
In reality, since my spring harvest of broccoli has already been eaten (by us or groundhogs), I’ll need a bigger space to plant enough to make up for the lack of frozen broccoli in my freezer. I’d also like to freeze some more peas and store a few more cabbages for winter-time chicken treats. Hopefully I’ll get it figured out soon!
Other plans include the little piggies. We’re trying to figure out a date for butchering in October. We’re using a traveling butcher who will actually come here to the farm. Since October is a busy month for them, we need to pick a specific date soon. Um, yeah. Anyone out there want to predict my pig’s weight in the beginning, middle and end of October? Cuz we’re about to randomly pick a day somewhere in the middle of the month.
We’re also trying to find firewood. Ideally, we would have gotten five or so cords of eight foot long logs way back in February or March. Not only are they cheaper because they are uncut but they could have also been green wood (meaning newly cut). In the cooler weather we would have cut and split them into the correct size. Firewood needs to “age” for a while before you can efficiently burn it so it would have been stacked and allowed to dry throughout the summer.
Hmmm…. It’s July and our wood barn is empty so I guess we’re a little behind. At this point we can’t get green wood because it wouldn’t have enough time to age. That means we need to buy dry wood, which is also more likely to be cut and split already, all meaning higher prices. I’ve decided not to feel bad about this since we’ve had a lot going on since moving here nine months ago. I’m hoping once we get all these big infrastructure-type projects done this year (chicken house, barnyard, perimeter fencing, new garden, new orchard), next year we can start developing a routine and flow to the seasons which would include buying firewood in the spring.
And finally, while most people think about returning to school in the fall, we homeschool year-round. Our school year ended about a few weeks ago and in a little under two weeks, our next year kicks off. I’ve got most of the stuff the kids need already but I’m still searching for a new approach to history and science. Last year was our first year homeschooling so, while we found some things that worked beautifully, we found other that just didn’t. History and science being two of them.
In lots of ways homeschooling was like our first year on the homestead has been. You have all these great plans and theories but once you actually start, reality happens. Some things work, some are major fails and others just need a little tweaking. But the best things are the ones you didn’t even know about that just sort of happen. The things that occur just because you were there in that moment and didn’t stress over what was supposed to be. Like my then-four-year-old learning to read by snuggling on the couch with me in front of the fire while the snow fell. Or the volunteer plants in my compost that decided they were ready to come alive.
So as we make all these fall-time plans I’m trying to remember that they are just that: plans. And a good plan is always subject to change at any given moment.