Monday, October 6, 2008

Changing Seasons

It was 37 degrees outside when I got home this morning. I am not mentally prepared for winter yet; I haven't even embraced the idea. I don't cope with change very well but once it is upon me, and I have no choice, I face the change and adapt to it. And so now I must face the fact that I can't come home from work on a humid summer morning and sit on the lawn to watch the chooks catch bugs. Now I have to don an extra jacket and hurry through the morning chores of feeding the birds and letting them out before scurrying inside to shower and curl up in my cocoon of blankets to sleep my day away. My consolation is that winter will pass and be followed by spring, glorious spring!

I wonder how the chooks will cope with their first winter. I deliberately chose breeds that could stand a harsh winter. There are no frou-frou chickies in my gang who will have to have heated coops to survive cold weather. I watch them eating their soup can full of sunflower seeds in the mornings and wonder, do they even feel the cold with all those feathers? I've learned that feathers have better insulating properties than hair so it stands to reason that my birds don't even care. And the ducks...they are happily feeding in the pond each morning! Don't those silly ducks feel that bone chilling water? The ducks have even more feathers than the chickens, so obviously they don't get cold in the water. I envy them. If only I were insulated so well!

This weekend is the Oak Harbor Apple Festival. We are going to have some good food there and then sit in a friend's lawn to watch the parade at noon. I love small town festivals. Marching bands, fire engines and food vendors make for a pleasant distraction from the chill in the air. I'm not a huge fan of apples though. My grandpa ran the family apple orchard along with his brother Richard. I guess I got burned out on apples when I was growing up. I can still eat apples but I prefer them when they're right off the tree and have never been refrigerated. It affects their flavor just like tomatoes. Baking with apples is different; it doesn't seem to matter as much if the apple was refrigerated beforehand. One of my favorite desserts is my homemade apple crisp! While I'm out in the orchard gathering apples for the kitchen I fill a 2 gallon bucket with bruised apples for the chickens. They nibble on the fruits over a few days until there's nothing left of them but the peels.

Farmers in our area are busy harvesting their fields. Everywhere I go I see them out driving their harvesters at all hours of the day. I really like it when my cousin harvests at night and has the lights on the combine turned on. It looks like a gigantic mechanical locust lumbering through the field, devouring everything in its path.

I checked saplings this week to assess my losses after this summer's drought. I've lost about 10%, which is what I figured last month. The ones that survived seem healthy and strong. Perhaps this is for the best. The drought weeded out the weak ones that may have been problem trees 20 years from now. I have a nice looking Scarlet oak and the little Sweet Gum is turning red. I'm so glad to see those two alive--I really want them on the property years from now. Their vibrant fall colors will be breathtaking! I planted a large variety of trees for color, food for wildlife (oaks, cherries, service berries, hazelnuts) and windbreak properties. It's a good feeling to seem them growing and sinking their roots into the ground.

The chickens set a new egg laying record today: 11 eggs!


  1. That leaf photo is just beautiful.

    I can see why you would get burned out on apples growing up with an orchard. I am an apple lover, but I am very picky. My dad used to buy up the cheap, bruised, close to rotting fruit at our local farm store, and so I couldn't stand eating apples at home. When I went to babysit, my favorite treat at anyone's house was a good apple. My father-in-law brought us a big bag of apples last weekend, and I have a huge bowlful out. It's amazing how long good, fresh apples last!

    Apple crisp, yum!

    Yes, this early frost is really something. We have our woodstove going, which I love, but as you say, are we really ready for winter??

  2. Beautiful pictures, Amy, as always! I'm not a huge fan of apples either and I don't like them cold at all. Love them in pies and crisps and apple butter, though. I thought your crisp link was going to be a recipe! I would love to come the the Apple Fest, but as you already know, we're having guests for the weekend. We're going to the National Quarter Horse Congress in Columbus. Maybe next year we will be able to make it up there.

  3. 11 eggs, that is great. I love walking by the egg cooler in the grocery store. You just want to say NA..NA...I have my own farm fresh.
    This will be our first winter with the laying hens, I am sure they will do ok in the barn. They are outside for a few more weeks.

  4. I am interested to see what the chickens will do in the winter. I wonder if I should have any roosters at all during the winter? I ave been thinking about separating them from the hens to keep them from raping and pillaging while confined in the coop.

    Nice autumnal change on your blog!

  5. My chickens just puff right up in the cold and stay nice and warm and my ducks break thru the ice on the pond so they can do their morning bathing! I'm not the biggest apple fan either but I do LOVE a good apple crisp!! (I was almost expecting to find your apple crisp recipe when I clicked on the link....darn!) I also have planted a lot for Fall color and food for wildlife as well as myself! If the rain ever slows down I'll be out to take a pic or two!

  6. 37 degrees! Yikes! I lived in Minnesota for 20 years before I realized how much I detested cold.

    That's great that you planted so many trees. Your description of breakfast in the last post made me hungry... I'm going to cook eggs and bacon tonight.


  7. Yay on the record breaking egg day!!
    I feel your pain about winter, Amy... As much as I love Fall, the shorter evenings are heartbreaking to me. We locked everybody up at dusk tonight, and when I came in the house it was only 7:45 pm!! Just 2 short months ago, we were sitting out on the back deck until 9:00 pm and still had light... *sigh*

  8. I feel the same way I am a spring person to. I finally have a couple of chickens my self. Hope you have a great week end.

  9. Autumn always makes me crave everything apple! I made an apple puff pancake for breakfast this morning. Yum! It's easy and uses eggs. Let me know if you want the recipe! Have fun at the Apple Festival. Do you have any apple trees planted on your 12 acres?


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