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You’ve heard the saying of dipping your toes in the water? I think Mother Nature is doing that for us.
We’ve had several chilly mornings in the upper 40s here on the farm and that’s enough to get us thinking of fall. Officially, it’s one month away. Time to get moving.
I have several friends who think of me as a “pioneer woman.”
I’m not. Just because I preserve what I grow, take my meat off the farm and heat with a wood stove, doesn’t mean I don’t spoil myself with the luxuries of the modern world.
Pioneer women didn’t have time for luxuries. They were too busy washing by hand, baking bread, sewing clothes, making blankets, growing and preserving food, butchering and smoking meats, chopping wood and most likely taking care of a kid or two. Whew.
Though I could live like they did, I really appreciate my modern conveniences. One of my more distant readers, Ed in Texas is 102 and I bet he remembers those long days of preparing for fall. It was a lot of work.
Today, those of us with full time jobs and the pioneering “spirit” kick it in to high gear this time of year. We’ve got to hustle to finish off picking and preserving the summer vegetables, saving seeds, stocking the wood pile and nurturing the fall garden. All this in preparation of the coming winter. The question is, how bad will winter be this year?
The forecasters are busy proposing different scenarios based on La Nina and El Nino, the Arctic Oscillation and the Jet Stream. Those are the main players in determining how cold and wet or how warm and dry we will be during the winter.
No forecaster is going on the record until October. I’m still counting August fogs. So far, we’ve only had one which equals to one big snow dump. I’ll take that. If I have to buy bags of salt this winter, I’d rather use it for ice cream. But for now, I’m still enjoying summer.
Those of us who grew our gardens with non-hybrid seeds are starting to cover the counters with plates of seeds. Saving seeds isn’t hard, it’s just a little messy. It saves you money and helps you grow what you want to grow, when you want to grow it.
I use paper plates for drying my seeds. I write the name of the seed variety on the plate and let them dry out of direct sunlight. When dry, they easily pop off the plates and go into marked white envelopes or old pill bottles and are then stored in the pantry. The only exception is my seed potatoes, which I keep in the refrigerator.
We have books and even a DVD on saving seeds at the library. You should check them out. While you’re there you might even look for books on drought tolerant plants. That seems to be the new norm for us each summer. Look for sales now on drip irrigation equipment. We just can’t count on Mother Nature bringing us an inch of rain each week.
Now, I’ve got to find my cleaning equipment for the wood stove chimney. Just because we may not get a bunch of snow this winter doesn’t mean it won’t get cold. Mother Nature is fickle like that. Even with an unusually warm winter, it’s still winter. I’ve already washed my Steelers sweatshirt. Let the games begin. Happy growing.
Cheryl Steenerson is a gardening columnist for The Anderson News.