Here is Jude with the sweet Faverolle 'Jinj'. Jude named her.
A horrible wave of bronchitis went through our chickens this summer, twice, and nearly every chicken was affected. We lost three to the illness, and Jinj seemed to have the hardest time coming through the sickness. Her one eye stayed swollen for nearly a month after she became sick and when she finally beat the illness, her eye was cloudy. She can't see very well (or perhaps not at all) and is a bit clumsy so the other chickens are constantly bullying her. Jude and i feel bad for her so we hug her a little extra.
This hen (red sexlink) fell asleep when Jude held her this afternoon. Perhaps he is a chicken whisperer? (;
These September days have been lovely. Some of them have been VERY cold, which is a nice reminder of the immense cold that is coming only too soon. Jason has been busy for months, going out into the bush on his days off and cutting up dead hardwood trees, loading the pieces into the truck that our kind neighbour loaned us for the summer and then hand-splitting the logs back at the house. They are seasoning in various piles around the yard..A lot of sights around our home and land bring me immeasurable amounts of joy; lambs leaping in the meadow, happy chickens in a plethora of colours and plumage patterns running freely as far as the eye can see, wildflowers, gardens bursting with vegetables and herbs, my little boys rolling in the grass and playing wildly under the apple trees..but the one thing I love to see more than any other is a substantial pile of cut logs, ready for the fire.
Canadian winters can be very cold and very long, and I am lucky to have such a good man as Jason who will work so steadfastly to amass this firewood for our family's warmth. I admit that a significant part of me dreads winter now that we live in this old drafty house. It is a challenge to be warm the whole winter long and my feet often ache, but keeping true to our dedication to a simple and natural lifestyle, we use our own hand-cut wood to heat our home.
This year I have started knitting some cozy slippers to bundle my feet in and I've been scouring thrift shops for real wool clothing for the lot of us. I have put down rugs in rooms I normally wouldn't (kitchen) and I plan on hanging some heavy curtains in a few or our doorways to keep the warmth contained in our main living space. Next on the list, hay and straw for the animals so they too can be cozy and belly-full when the north wind comes to call.
The busy-ness around here is really quite something.
We are hurrying to harvest the last of the vegetables and can them for winter usage.
Also, there are numerous apple trees all needing to be harvested right now. I have made one batch of applesauce plus a bunch of apple crisp desserts but I will be putting it into high gear and cooking up as many as I can into sauce and then canning it ~ Hopefully tomorrow or this coming week! Doing these sorts of monumental, immediate, and time-consuming tasks are really so very hard when you have little ones needing your attention. I will be pleased when this work is finished and our winter wood is all cut and we can take a moment to breathe...
But for now, here are some of the lovely homemade and homegrown delights we have to enjoy!
The summer raced by at alarming speed, it seems. It is such a busy time for us as homesteaders. We put in a few new gardens, enlarged the existing ones, and brought in another 50 chickens. Aside of the heirloom tomatoes, the gardens were slow to start as we grew from seed, not having started them indoors in the spring. Currently, we have been harvesting:
We have an abundance of squashes in different stages of growth throughout the gardens, and pumpkins! We are attempting to grow a giant pumpkin this year (:
There are seven apple trees producing around the property and I am very excited to make tons of applesauce and can it. The apples are not quite ready to be harvested yet, but I have to make sure to keep my eyes on them and get there before the bears and deer!
I am drying calendula and comfrey so that I can make enfused oils, and then healing salves. I have started a few medicinal tinctures as well:
a combination of burdock root/dandelion root
echinacea tincture ~ freshly made
And I am steeping a batch of infused oil of oregano. Jason made bee balm tincture last fall and he has made an infused oil of mullein flowers this year. I am LOVING this part of the gardening/harvesting/creating process. It makes my heart so unbelievably happy (:
Here are a few pictures of the back gardens ~ they are from a few weeks ago. The gardens have exploded with growth since then!