Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The First Frost Is A'coming--A Trailer Park Homestead update

That's right!  Already it looks like we may be getting our first frost this week.  The average first frost for my area is October 3, but if the cold spring wasn't enough, it looks like we're going to be nailed with an early frost as well.  Joy.

I've had my work cut out for me in preparation for the possibility of frost, both tomorrow morning and Friday:
I pulled all the corn!  This serves several purposes:  it makes it possible to cover the watermelon and cucumbers that were growing among and up the corn, it will make it easier and faster to get tarps to and from the garage to where they are needed in the yard/garden, and makes it less creepier to get the tarps out after dark if I forget or don't get a chance to get them out until late!
I moved the tomatoes that were in the middle of the yard up next to their buddies on the front patio area.  The heat from the patio should help keep them happier on non-frosty-but-still-cold nights and having them all together will make it easier to cover them on potentially frosty nights.

This front yard area, full of watermelon and cucumber plants is another area of concern.  I'll probably move the vines around on the evenings before frosts to make them more compact and cover them with tarps or blankets to protect them.
While playing in the garden, I picked a few things to process too.  I see future pickles, salsa, and cornmeal here, as well as more beans to freeze.
Amid the news of possible frost, I do have a symbol of hope--I made a rainbow:
Red: raspberry jam, orange: ground cherry jam, yellow: applesauce, green: dill pickles, blue/violet: blueberry jam
I put up over thirty jars of food of assorted sizes this week, including three kinds of jam, two quarts of applesauce, five quarts of dill pickles, and 10 quarts of chicken stock (my first pressure canning experience, in case you missed the liveblogging-type event on Facebook), plus I froze four baggies of broccoli for use in my favorite soup, quiche, or hot pocket sandwiches.  So even though the frost may be coming, I'm getting ready for it to be here.


  1. I'm starting to be very glad that I only did a little bit of gardening this year! With the late (and overly wet) spring, and now this unseasonably cold fall, I would have lost a lot of produce and it would have seriously depressed me. Now, though, I think I can handle it.

    I have this one cat who normally grows out a simple winter coat. Last fall, she developed this enormous mane of winter fur - it looked like she was wearing a home-grown shawl! But unbelievably, it turned out to be the coldest winter in her lifetime. I mention this because she's already started growing out her coat again, and the mane she's growing now rivals last year. And I noticed my other cat (a shorthair who just learned a few months ago that the outdoors is a fun place to be) has thickened his own coat to amazing proportions.

    I'm not going to listen to the weatherman - I'm going to judge the future season by my cat's coat. It seems more accurate!

  2. Look at your spiders too. If you have wolf (jumping) spiders, they're usually hairy. The hairier they are, the colder the winter that's coming. I used to live in Ontario, Canada, and it was a sure predictor. The Old Almanac predicts a colder than average (but by no means record setting) autumn and winter, with a bit more snow than usual. Doesn't sound too bad in the grand scheme of things, provided we get into our new house...

  3. I'm all for a nice cover of snow....water is an amazing insulator and I am tired of freezing temps without at least something fluffy to look at and make it worthwhile.

    I've been waiting to see what our Husky grows for a coat as this is her first winter after being a little puppy.

    I have been watching the weather myself as I have oodles of green tomatoes I am terrified to lose before they turn and I can enjoy them.

  4. Angela? If you have green tomatoes that are of "real" size (ie not pea size ones), if you put them in a paper (not plastic) bag with a ripe banana they'll almost always ripen up. Grocery stores use a spray made of the same banana chemical to ripen up the tomatoes for on display at their stores. :) It's just more natural if you use the actual banana.

    I did this recently - when Irene went through, we figured we'd lose whatever fruit was on the vine to the storm anyhow, so I sent the kids to pick *everything*. We love to eat green tomatoes anyhow, so if they didn't ripen we'd have other treats. In the bag they went, banana nestled among, and all but the tiniest ones ripened up within a few days!