Homestead Update: A Bountiful Harvest

Homestead Update: A Bountiful Harvest

My brain keeps working ahead of my own personal schedule, or at least, what my body can handle. I apologize if you follow our blog closely enough and have noticed that I have been publishing posts that are completely blank or just have a few photos in them. That is my brain saying, “Hey… this would fit in the schedule nicely on this date” and then I just don’t get to writing it. Mostly because I feel like a chicken running around with its head cut off lately. September has been harder than I ever imagined; meaning just in terms of being “busy" (and exhausted and drained and elated and nervous). Our wedding is exactly two weeks away today, and I am beginning to feel the mode of panic that will consume my entire being in the following days. We thankfully have most, if not all, of our bases covered. It’s just those last minute details that need to be put into place. If you have any experience planning a wedding, you know what I am talking about!

But otherwise, life has been moving forward as normally as possible. So much is changing in our lives, and so much of it we are excited and thankful for. This autumn season has brought us a bountiful harvest, in both terms of farm product and the products of life. Soon I will be a wife; we are 99% sure we will be moving into a new home as a family of three, and our farm will be going through some semi-major changes. To say that I am craving the slow season of January is an understatement! Though I will be happy when Thanksgiving is near - my favorite holiday!

Life on the farm feels far away, even though it’s happening right outside of my window. Every week feels like I am going through the motions lately. Harvest on Sunday and Monday for CSA pick-up on Tuesday and Wednesday; harvest on Thursday and Friday for the Country Store. The weather has been hot, humid, and sticky so I have been avoiding going outside to pick unless I absolutely have to. This year our tomatoes once again are growing like a crazy uncontrolled jungle, so I have do an acrobatics act each time I pick them. It should really get filmed at some point because it’s embarrassing and hilarious. Our field looks SO much better than it did last year, but I am still embarrassed to photograph it! It is the essence of a small organic farm - pretty veggies growing in a field of weeds. It is what it is, and next year I hope to eliminate much of that since it will be all flowers instead of vegetables.

That’s the thing with vegetable farming vs. flower farming. Flowers get planted much later in the spring, and the weeds can be more easily tackled at that point in the season. At least, that’s how I feel about it. Vegetables require so much more attention and detail when it comes to harvest techniques as well, meaning more time and energy spent out in the field and wash station. I am truly looking forward to a family style garden in 2020.

Earlier in the month, we pressed all of the apples from our farm and our neighbor-fam’s farm to make cider for the holidays and our wedding. Our trees did produce as much as last year, so we only got around 12 gallons of cider compared to last season’s 21. For most apple trees, production happens every other year so we were in the off season. It was nice to spend evenings picking all of the delicious, ripe fruit and turning it into something we all love and enjoy. There’s nothing I love more than cider pressing day! It always tends to happen right around my birthday and is such a fun activity to spend with loved ones. We get to sit around in a big circle quartering apples and talking; we typically share a meal together, too. I just love everything about ti - the true picture of a farm community!

Last weekend we traveled to Belvidere, Illinois to be vendors in Urban Farmgirl’s Main Street Market. What a whirlwind that was! Shows are not my favorite - I love teaching classes and public speaking but I am not a huge fan of customer service. I have always joked with Jill that my dream is to be famous enough to arrive at one of our shows with our booth set up and ready to go and all I have to do is be there. Ha! Shows are hard work, especially when it comes to set up and tear down of your booth, inventorying product, planning for room and board if its out of state, and working with your customers.

Well, she made my dream come true! Jill drove out Friday and set up the entire booth. Cara of Wild Farm Soap joined us this trip to sell her amazing soaps, and she and I left at 3:00AM on Saturday to make it to the show by 7:00AM. Even though the early wake up call was not ideal, it was such a fun trip there and back!

This weekend we are at The Barn show right down the road, this upcoming Monday I teach my next Seed Starting & Edible Garden Planning class at Kirkwood Community College, and after the wedding we are participating in the Rural Road Trip. So much happening!

Overall, I would not want to be anywhere else than right here. Lately I have been craving a slower pace at life. I want to harvest tomatoes and lettuce and pumpkins for my family. Changing my mindset has helped in multitudes. As my focus has moved over to flowers, I have been diving more and more into ideas for the future of Under A Tin Roof. Harvesting the blooms and making them into arrangements has become more of the fun part of my job, and we had such a wonderful time watching all of our bouquets sell and go home with customers at Main Street Market. It was such a wonderful surprise, too!

As we move forward, I want to be even more conscious of our food and our livestock. I hope that we can return to that slower paced homesteading of years past. All in all, the harvest has been more than bountiful. I am thankful.

xoxo Kayla


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