Marianne’s feathers have pretty much all grown back in after her molt. She still has some fluff left, but she looks like her pretty self again. No one else was molting and I was beginning to think maybe they’d all skip it this year, but nope. As soon as our highs dropped from the 50sF/10C to the 30sF/1C, Margaret decided it was time. Now there are black feathers everywhere.
James was at the urban farm store earlier in the week picking up feed and bedding and asked why chickens molt when it gets cold. The farm store person laughed and told him because they wanted to make us worried. If that is the case, they are succeeding!
The garden is done for the season, the seeds saved for next year are dried and sorted into envelopes. James dug up half of a 5 gallon bucket-full of sunchokes and could have dug up a lot more but didn’t for fear we would not be able to eat them all before they got squishy or we got tired of them. We have been enjoying roasted sunchokes and sunchoke chips and oh, are they marvelously sweet this year.
We also harvested some horseradish for the first time. The plant has grown enormous. We quickly discovered though that it’s not easy to dig out a chunk of root. James really had to work hard with a big fork to dig in and hack off a piece.
And we happily ended up with five pepita pumpkins! The vines died before the pumpkins got completely ripe so we have them sitting indoors in front of our sliding glass door where they can get some sun—on the rare minutes that we have had sun lately. They are slowly ripening.
James was in the kitchen recently washing dishes and he heard a loud thunk! He thought maybe a bird had flown into the sliding glass door. When he went to look it was no bird but a squirrel! And as he watched, the squirrel flung itself against the window again where the pumpkins were sitting on the other side of the glass. The squirrel gave up after its second failed attempt to get through the window. The squirrels have eaten so many of our pumpkins this year that I wish I had been home to see this so I could stand there and laugh and taunt the critter—nah nah nah nah nah!
Perhaps this was the not so bright squirrel I had seen previously grab a piece of the leftover popcorn we gave the chickens, run a few feet down the garden path, and then bury it. Clearly the poor fellow had no experience with what happens to popcorn when it gets wet, or took notice that the Dashwoods spend their time scratching and digging all over the garden and would happily eat the popcorn should they dig it up.
There is nothing left to do in the garden this season other than pull up the remaining carrots before the ground freezes, and clean all the leaves off the sidewalk in front of the house every weekend until all the trees are leafless. Most of them are, but a few seem to be holding on to their leaves for as long as possible. With my luck, the leaves will drop during the week and we will get a heavy snow overnight so I will get to scrape frozen leaves off the sidewalk the next day.
In the kitchen, James and I are attempting to make our own apple cider vinegar. I looks like it should be super easy. I found a recipe that uses apple “scraps.” Taking zero waste to a whole new level! We will know by next weekend if we have been successful. Cross your fingers!