Autumn Harvests

I seem to have gone right through summer with only one or two posts, I apologise for my absence at the busiest time of the year for a garden blog – it’s just been crazy busy here. Most of my computer time is taken up with the Freeconomy Facebook page these days and I feel it’s important to keep up with that.

While the bottom vege garden is being put to sleep for winter the fruit trees and bushes have been giving us a huge amount of fruit – we have peaches, figs and all sorts of berries coming in bucket loads. I am freezing most of this, have made jams but no bottling of fruit this year – though I have made a batch of peach wine (I will post the recipe for this when I find out if it’s ok)

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This is what my benches look like every couple of days!

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We have harvested around 4 kgs of honey from the hives but have left heaps there for the bees for winter. I found an easy way to extract, covering an oven tray with aluminium mesh, cutting all the honey and comb out of the screen and placing on the mesh, put in the oven on around 50 deg C (barely warm) and the honey melts into the pan leaving the wax behind.

The herb garden is nearly empty and much of it sitting dried in boxes or hanging on two old clothes airers – what the lady of the houses uses when hubby is too busy to make a rack for her!

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The green hedges around the front have all grown up now creating the privacy we wanted.

DSC02214What else we have been doing: Roger is enjoying being back building and is doing an adult apprenticeship (did I mention that?) so he has been studying. He has also had some great scores from stuff that has been headed for dumps – a huge amount of school library shelving came home and has been shared out amongst his mates. He has lined his basement workshop with it and it’s now very orderly and tidy! He also got a great pile of insulation that was going to be thrown out and he has put it both underfloor and topped up the attic with it. He has been working on the water feature and finally got it standing, it was too heavy to lift on his own.

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With leftover concrete he made this on an old beehive tray I scavenged two years ago. In January we went to a family reunion at the site of the old homestead his mother was raised in and he took an old piece of barbed wire and a piece of chimney rock, they are in the middle here.

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Our truck has broken down so I am sort of stranded at home during the weeks, unable to work because I can’t get there. I can’t get to the markets either though my sister kindly offered to sell stuff for me at her market up North. Also all my products are now in our community office which sells local crafts. I have been doing the garden, preserving all the food (we have two large full freezers for winter) making sauces, chutneys and jams. Making a heap of soaps etc and trying to declutter by giving stuff to Freeconomy. All my soaps and creams are generally left downstairs which is a pain so I converted a little desk with it’s drawers and cupboards to a little store of things closer to hand. ???????????????????????????????

We are still intending on having a shop here so are moving in that direction…when all the food stops coming in and only the front garden producing again it gives more time for other things.

So, that’s what we are up to, I haven’t disappeared…still around πŸ™‚ I hope those of you going in to Spring are enjoying the warmer weather and those of you heading towards winter have your firewood at the ready!

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49 thoughts on “Autumn Harvests

  1. It is amazing how good the fruit harvest has been, despite the lack of rain. Even my small patch has produced more than I can handle comfortably. Friends have also brought me peaches and apples galore, and last week I was given about 6kg of quinces. Lovely to hear about all the developments and activity at your place.

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  2. I think you just made clear the definition of busy. Puts me to shame. Sorry about the truck. I know I hate being without transportation though I don’t use it all that often. It’s nice to have when you need it. I doubt you’ll need that much firewood since you’ve insulated well and I think you may be in for a warm winter. Ours was warmer than normal.

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    • Ready for the down seasons!! I am naturally a “don’t like busy at all” sort of person lol. We live 25 minutes from town and Roger takes my car so I am doing it a bit hard some days. The truck is handy to have so hopefully it will be up and going very soon. We had a mild winter last year, here’s hoping πŸ™‚

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  3. Ah Wendy we are all still here. πŸ˜„. Like you I think I’ve only posted once so far this year. Life does get in the way and my mind is floating away on other things at the present. I’m loving your ideas and your bounteous supply of home grown goods and soaps. Now you just need a horse and buggy to get yourself about πŸ˜„

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  4. RT says:

    I knew you were busy with your Freeconomy page but I have missed your posts. I’m glad to hear you have managed to continue to make use of your garden and are just as talented at re-purposing things as ever. I, too, have been remiss at posting the past few months but, as you say, sometimes the busy-ness of life just doesn’t leave much time for that. Happy to “see” you again and hear that you are doing well. – Robin

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    • Thanks Robin πŸ™‚ Yes, we are just as busy as ever really but blogging about it really is the last thing I want to do when I do have spare time lol. I don’t really want to let the blog go but there seem to be too many other things going on nowadays. Take care πŸ™‚

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  5. I figured you were busy and hoped you were well, so it’s good to hear most things have been working out for you. I am sorry about your truck and being stuck at home. I am so jealous of your fruit and can’t wait until the day my property produces anything similar to yours. This year I’ll be planting and hope to get several trees in but I know it will take a couple of years for any decent harvests.

    Love the water feature, and no I didn’t realize Roger was studying. Good for him.

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    • The vehicle thing is a pain Lois but at least we have two. It’s looking a bit like we are going to have to replace it now which is not an easy thing! Isn’t the fruit grand πŸ™‚ The benefits of being in one place over a period of time, it’s neat just to be able to much your way around as you work πŸ™‚ Roger has done heaps of building but never qualified, doing so just gives better options in the future.

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  6. The words “Roger” plus “neat and tidy” are surely oxymoron’s Wendy?! πŸ˜‰ I am vaccilating between absolute jealousy of your awesome harvest and extreme joy at how amazingly well you do this self-sufficiency thing on your block. You guys are SO busy I am shaking my head in amazement that you can even get to the PC to post a post let alone do everything else that you have mentioned here. You are the shining stars of “middle aged accomplishment” and I wish I could follow you around for a week or two and see how you are able to accomplish it all without going mad or at least hiding under the bed and twitching a lot with a paper bag on your head (that is, of course, assuming that you don’t πŸ˜‰ ). I salute you both, you are my new, official, superheroes πŸ™‚

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    • But we are mad! And we both do something very similar to the hiding under the bed with the bags over our heads lol. We had an ‘discussion’ about a month ago which ended in me yelling “Well, YOU planted the whole damn property in food so YOU actually need to take some time to sort out the mess out there!” It’s never easy, always a work in progress, often out of control and your superheroes blunder through everything πŸ™‚ I look at what others do and wish we could accomplish so much more but where the mind is willing the body just drags it’s feet, stubbornly refusing to give up her latest book or song, golf clubs….!

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  7. WENDY!!!!! I have missed reading your blog-just stopped over today since I was inside for a bit…thought, wonder what Wendy is up to in NZ??? You posted:-)
    Your pictures of your front yard are BEAUTIFUL. I LOVE the rock walls-did you build those? I love how it all looks together-your place is BEAUTIFUL!!! VEry inviting!I want more rock walls on our property, but the rock is expensive to get around here:-(
    Thank you for posting and keeping us up today-Remember exclamations are Robbie jumping up and down-I am so excited to leave a comment on a post you wrote!!!!-sure have missed reading all about you and your family.
    I LOVE your soap and it does last a long time:-)
    I am putting plants in today and waiting for the weather to turn sour, but it has not. They are predicting tornado type weather later today..really warm -70’s too warm for this time of year.
    I heard a bee buzz by today-they are out and about-
    Good to see you are creating-
    I always love what you make-
    Happy Gardening from USA:-) going back out before it rains-off I go…..but thank you for posting!!!

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    • Hiya Robbie πŸ™‚ Tornado type weather sounds “Eek”, goodness me, you stay safe!
      No, we didn’t put the rock walls in but they are what sold the place to us. Other than those the place was just dry lawn and dead rock garden and the place looked rather awful – we saw the walls when we went down the bottom and looked up and both grinned at each other. What better bones could you get to build on?!
      Lol, pleased you enjoyed my post, my blog has surely been suffering of late. Enjoy your garden Robbie, I am behind in my reading too so will pop over to make sure I haven’t missed anything over your way πŸ™‚

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      • if you have NO good bones-well, it is a useless cause-LOL-My mother taught me that about buying a house-if it has good bones, you can work with it!
        I LOVE the stone + if it is on hill you walk up or down, just lovely:-)

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      • I had never see your “walls” or maybe you have shown them before…I thought your pictures of the gardens were beautiful. I enlarged them and admired your gardens:-)

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      • We are all okay-it was around us but not near us….really sad about those two ladies that passed away. We all were on the watch thursday they did a good job getting the word out for people to prepare. Ever since we had one that passed through our backyards taking out all the trees and it only being a level 4- I take it more seriously now when they tell us to pay attention.
        I guess we all have to look out for something-you have earthquakes:-( + we have tornadoes:-) just glad it did not take out a whole town like it did last year in Washington-Illinois:-(

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  8. Wow Wendy, sounds like you have been up to a lot.. And Peaches and FIgs, yummy… seems you have been busy and what a lovely yield of honey too and a novel way to extract it..
    Love your little cupboard with soaps etc and Roger is clever in his creations.. Wonderful he has an apprenticeship too. Seems everything is well in your word.. Well apart from the truck… But who knows what is held in its silver lining..

    Many thanks for dropping in on me too.. I really appreciate your comments…
    Have a lovely weekend… x Sue ❀

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    • We’re plodding along Sue πŸ™‚ The truck thing is a pain in the behind but you know, we are really lucky we have two vehicles and for the most part I have been enjoying not being able to go anywhere AND having Roger do the grocery shopping for a change (my least favourite job!) We have to save the money for repairs and at the moment not sure what is going to happen as the firm Roger is working with only have 2 weeks work left before they run out. Mmm….see how this pans out!
      You have a good weekend too πŸ™‚

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  9. Lovely to pop by and find a new post, Wendy! I agree with the comment about Welsh Mountain Ponies above. Sturdy, steady, wonderful all ’round! We had one ages ago and loved him so much. I could ride him bareback with only a halter and rope (I was a shadow of my future self πŸ˜‰ ). Depends what you need, but I’ve wanted old-style Morgan horses for aeons; they are good for ploughing, pulling (cart or buggy) and riding. Beautiful doesn’t touch it, either (at least, the original types, not the more current, taller, Tennessee Walker type. Wish I could drop in and introduce you to the joy of horses . . . and in my book, “look what followed me home” is all that needs saying. πŸ˜‰
    Anyway . . . wonderful harvests; hope the water bill isn’t too bad. Will watch for the peach wine recipe; never know where I might end up . . .

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    • Ok, so the peach wine should be ready in 4 months or so πŸ™‚
      i love the look of ponies and horses but like them on the other side of fences or from a distance lol. Shetland ponies/Morgan ponies are gorgeous animals…don’t know I just have a thing about horses!

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      • I’m sure if I were there, we’d get that ‘thing’ sorted out. But that said, I have to say that once I was going to teach a city-bred friend to ride bareback . . . wanting to impress her with my grace, I swung up energetically . . . right over the horse’s back and flat onto the ground . . . Pride goeth . . . and all that.

        My parents always said I’d grow out of my horse-crazy stage . . . I wonder when that will happen . . . πŸ˜‰ Last time I was at the coast (west), my elder son took me along when he went to pay for a cord of firewood. The lady took me out to meet their ponies and I was lucky enough to have at least half an hour just standing with my arms around a winter-coated neck and my nose buried in a long, wiry mane! When we went back to my son’s place, I could smell ‘horse’ on my coat for days. I made myself wash my hands for supper, but if I’d been on my own I doubt I would have . . . I felt like a star-struck kid who has shaken hands with their idol . . . πŸ˜‰

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      • The onlt time I have ever been on a horse was my 11th birthday and my little sister tried to pull me off….it was a long way down! I love any animal but no-one will ever get me back on a horse lol

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  10. Hi Wendy, you’ve had a ton going on by the looks of things. You’re a machine in that kitchen of yours. Your winters sound like they’re full of yummy garden harvests. I wanted to say thanks so much for the delicious scented soap bar and nice tin of lip balm you sent along with Pauline. That was a nice surprise. I’ve actually tucked the soap bar in my PJ drawer for now until I finish the soap on the counter. It smells so nice and the wrap was very pretty too. I’m loving the lip balm and always have it in my handbag. It’s rather dry here right now, it generally rains a lot in May and June. Actually last year I think it rained every day in June. So the balm is fantastic. Is it made with bee wax? I’m slowly getting organized after our trip. My gosh, it was so fantastic to spend time with Pauline and hard to say goodbye since none of us know when we’ll next have the opportunity to spend time together again. I personally would love to get to New Zealand but I think Mr B will insist on coming for that one and he’ll need to save up holiday time. Well, good luck with your truck, it’s hard to be stranded but I’m sure you easily fill the time. Cheers from Canada. x K

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    • Hi Boomdee. that would be great if you could get to NZ, we have a beautiful country well worth seeing – not that I get to see it much nowadays πŸ™‚ There is always room here for visitors too πŸ™‚ You are welcome, yes, the lip balm has beeswax, jojoba oil, cocoa better etc. I am so envious of Pauline’s holiday and it looks like you all had a great time :)xx I am filling up my weeks at home but it feels a bit tedious at times πŸ™‚ Roger has just been laid off from work as from next week so along with a broken truck….!

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      • Oh no, why does everything fall apart at the same time? I’m sorry to hear Roger has a lay off coming. I hope that’s just seasonal.
        My gosh, of course I would swing by when I get to New Zealand, very very kind of you to offer, who knows, maybe I’d learn the art of soap making, or just sit and drink up all your tea, LOL. Sounds wonderful either way. I shall keep my fingers crossed for something wonderful to fall in your laps shortly. Hugs K

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