Saturday, November 8, 2014

A Saturday at home: Preparing for a long winter

I feel like I've been channeling Laura Ingalls Wilder from Little House on the Prairie this afternoon.

With the last of the harvest comes the task of storing, preserving, or otherwise "putting up" for the winter.

We've got our potatoes stored so they won't freeze, and I pulled nearly a bushel of an assortment of peppers last week before that first killing freeze.  The girls and I prepped some for the freezer and used some to make pepper jelly.

The only thing left in the garden are the greens, but I'm not too worried about them, because they can take pretty cold temperatures.  

Another chore of late fall is cutting away frost-bitten foliage, mowing leaves (we don't do much raking anymore, the mower mulches them and scatters them around the yard where they will decay and become good fertilizer for the lawn).

We don't fertilize either; that's what all those fallen leaves are for.

I threw some half-rotten squash to the chickens and otherwise tidied up around the place a bit. I moved a few clumps of perennials and thought how pretty they will be when summer rolls around again.  

I enjoy the process of cleaning up the yard and garden in late fall. I like the feeling of closure it gives to the growing season, and it makes me feel accomplished and prepared for winter.

We've been discussing pork with our supplier, so we'll have plenty of fresh meat around the beginning of the new year.

My seasons have always revolved around sowing things, growing things, then harvesting and preserving for enjoying those things later.  

This is part of my mountain heritage, when folks had to grow and store and prepare for winter if they wanted to survive it.

Now I'm not entirely dependent on my own efforts for survival; there is a grocery store a few miles away. But I do rely on the old ways for a certain quality of life.  They feel my soul, my family's collective memories, and my culture is maintained.

So, bring it on, polar vortex spinning southward.  I'm not afraid of you.
We are prepared; and we are going to live well and eat well this winter.

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