Saturday, October 9, 2010
Fall on Critter Farm...with caterpillars and gratitude
Fall is here, but things are still blooming away. These sunflowers are all volunteers courtesy of an energetic chipmunk who planted the seeds for me in my ceramic pot over the summer:
This frog is living among the tomatoes in the lower garden. He seems very relaxed, doesn't he?:
I tried my hand at growing hot peppers this year for the first time. I didn't have a whole lot of success, but I think this had a lot to do with our funky growing season of unseasonably cold and wet weather well into the first part of summer.
This is a Long Red Cayenne pepper - the only one I got. It sure is pretty, though. I wasn't sure if it would ripen before our first frost:
This is a Peter Pepper. Out of the three bushes I grew from seed, this is the only Peter I got. Funny little guy:
This is a Nu-Mex Sunrise pepper. I have very little hope that this one will turn color before a frost:
My German eggplant seeds produced two (count them) tiny eggplants in total:
It's definitely caterpillar season here. I found this guy floating in the big animals' stock tank. Despite googling everything I could think of, I can't identify him:
This guy scared me more than a little. He's a totally black wooly worm caterpillar. Country lore states that the coloring of a wooly caterpillar will foretell the upcoming winter weather. An all-black wooly worm means that a very harsh winter is in store. Say it isn't so!:
...But then I found this guy and felt much better about our prospects. See how his brown band is larger than his black bands? This means the winter will be mild. Yes!:
Alas, then I found this crazy guy, hanging out on the garage door - I'm not sure at all what he's trying to alert us to, so now I'm just really confused about what this winter will bring:
So, rather than worry about it, I decided to move on to the other caterpillar varieties wandering our property. We found this beautiful guy walking across the lawn right after we had mowed. He is going to turn into a Western Swallowtail butterfly come next spring:
And this one? Well, he's just plain showing off. I bet he spends hours looking at himself in the mirror:
In case you were going to ask, yes, the raspberries are still producing:
I wish I knew what variety this is - they just keep going and going and going and...:
I've already made raspberry pies and raspberry scones and raspberry cake...what's a girl to do with MORE raspberries other than make another batch of farm fresh raspberry jam?:
My chickens found their way to the lower garden, quite a distance from where they normally roam. They had a great time chasing bugs, watching me dig up my potatoes, and devouring any worms I tossed their way:
Also happy to help me out a bit this week? Pete and Reggie, my goat boys. I have a bit of celery left over in the garden that is now too bitter for us to eat, but these guys are more than happy to gobble it up for me. And their breath smells delicious afterward!:
It's funny. I had been feeling so sad about the end of summer and had palpable, physical dread over the thought of fall and winter, but now I find myself feeling ok with things winding down for the year. (Thank goodness, right?) As I do my tasks to prepare for the rains and colder temps, while I dig things up, cut things back, spade things under, and put things away, I find myself thinking about the time that has passed and how Jim and I actually have a bit of history here on our small farm now. This will be our third winter on Critter Farm - and I continue to love the life we've created here. My heart gave a jump tonight as I walked back from my barn, simply over the fact that I have a barn. When I come in from my morning animal feeding, Jim will sometimes ask me why I am smiling and I realize it's because my animals just make me happy. I absolutely adore them.
So I have a small request of you: Please remind me of this in about three weeks, when I begin to fuss and whine for the next six months about the endless dark days of rain, my feelings of isolation and how pathetic it is to be me living on this muddy, foggy hillside of a farm. I really do love it. I'm supposed to be here.
Happy October to you!