Autumn, Leaves and Paint Stripping

Our little homestead hearth

Greetings Everyone!  I hope your regions are a tad warmer than ours at the moment.  Fall, that wonderful, beautific, welcome season has arrived here with full force.  Our temps were colder a bit quicker than we are used to here, but to be honest, after one of the hottest and wettest summers on record, I was very ready for its arrival.  You will not hear me complain about the arrival of the blessed harvest season.  I have a very special affinity for this season and all its beauty (I am in New England, after all!) and the cooler temps it brings along with it.  This chubby homesteader doesn’t do heat!

Oh, the wonders of the autumn season here in New Hampshire are glorious.  We had quite a remarkable foliage season, which is coming to a close now.  In fact the northern parts of the state received a few inches of snow over the weekend.  I am not quite ready for that, though we did finally invest in a new snow blower yesterday.  If you recall, our old faithful gave up the ghost last winter and we ended up shoveling our way through many, many, many feet of snow.  Not going to happen this year, it was just too much physically on my husband and I.  We do have a strong, younger workforce, but being teenagers, their time on the homestead is greatly reduced by their activities and burgeoning social lives.  And now the oldest wants a job to earn actual money for things like driver’s ed and dates, you know, teenage things.  I couldn’t believe that driver’s ed is now anywhere between $600 and $800 to take the course!  When I had to take it a million years ago it was $85.00, and when my husband took it, it was part of the curriculum offerings of his alma mater.  This is the same school my children are attending, but it is no longer part of the school.  Yikes!  We started to prepare the oldest for having to pay for driver’s ed himself since he was 12, and so when he began farm sitting back then, he has been saving almost all he’s earned since and has almost saved enough to pay for the course himself.  He doesn’t know this, but we’re going to chip in a bit to make it happen for him.  Not only do I need another driver in the house as I’m going back to working off the homestead, but we’re also proud of him for saving just about every dime he’s earned for something he wants.  The boys also have a trip to Disney in the spring that their band has been invited to perform on, so they are saving for that as well.

Happening around the homestead is this wonderful site.  We are needing to strip the paint off the house as it was peeling fairly seriously.  So, we invested in a pressure washer and went to town.  I know, it’s not the prettiest site and unfortunately it will need to look like this through the winter as we have run out of warm enough days to paint it now.  It has cedar clapboards, so we’re not worried about the weather affecting it, but it does look quite sad and hideous at the moment.  We thought we would have enough time to get at least a primer coat on it before the cold set in, it’s happening a bit earlier than usual this year.  But that was not to be, so it will be first on the list for the spring to get that done, and it will be a happy day once it has it’s shiny new coat of blue paint with white trim.  Hoping to cheer it up a bit, the cream color it was before was a bit…bland for our tastes.  It is a real shame that it was ever painted at all.  It was painted for the first time not long ago, and the siding under it was weathered. Paint doesn’t last on weathered wood, we learned that the hard way painting a deck in another home when it should have been pressure washed first.  The cedar siding is pretty and after the pressure washer took off the gray “weather” of the wood, its quite nice.  If we were able to cleanly and completely strip off the paint that is on it, we would leave the cedar but it doesn’t come off entirely, so it will need another paint job.

Top on the list for the fall was to get the firewood under process.  We purchased two cords of green wood to season for next winter, which is what you see stacked here.  The boys stacked this for us and it is a very nice feeling to know that no matter what the weather may bring, we will be warm.  We have another 2 or so cords that is seasoned but needs to be split still that we will be using this winter as it hasn’t been on a trunk in a several years.  The cherry tree that my husband cut up that fell earlier this summer is also split and ready to weather out the winter drying stacked in a row to be ready for next year.  All in all, we should have a good three cords to burn in the new woodstove that is in the living room next winter and about 2 or 2 1/2 for this year.  We have had a couple of fires in it already since it was put in last weekend and oh, what a difference it makes in that side of the house!  There is just nothing like the heat of a woodstove, infernal and comforting.

The garden has been completely put to bed now.  I pulled the last of the sweet peppers in pre-emptively before the first hard frost showed up.  So, consequently I have a lot of green peppers hanging around.  No one in my house likes the flavor of green sweet peppers, so I am not sure what I am going to do with them.  Right now, they are sitting in a box by a window getting indirect sunlight hoping they will go red.  If not, I may just freeze them and add them in small amounts to things like salsa and stir frys this winter.  I can hide veggies in some interesting places when I have to, I’ve even been known to put spinach in brownies, but that’s a post for another time. I left my carrots in the garden and all the beds are well mulched with maple leaves right now so they can overwinter getting some nutrition and protection from their bark bearing sentries.  I mentioned salsa up above, I made and canned a couple of good batches this year.  I had some ginormous zucchini that hid from me in the abundant leaves and so decided to make salsa with those. It is actually delicious!  I will do a follow up to this post with the zucchini salsa recipe for you.  I also did a batch of garden salsa that is pretty good as well.  Salsa made with garden fresh veggies is just amazing in the dead of winter. 4 feet of snow on the ground and you pop open a lid of that, grab the tortilla chips and a cocoa and put on a good movie while you watch it snow.  It’s one of the comforts of winter in New Hampshire, and I will always make salsa and pick blueberries when the veggies and fruits are in season because they just taste so amazing when everything outside is frozen and barren.

Well, time to wrap it up for this post.  I’m wishing for you that your autumn season is as cozy and wonderful as ours has been.  I hope your to-do list gets done before the snow flies in your area and that the upcoming Thanksgiving season brings you many blessings.  It is just about time to enter the restful time of winter for us, hope you are enjoying autumn in your hearts as the season moves along.  Until next time, be well, be kind to each other and many blessings to you all.

18-9-22 065
Rest well, you’ve earned it.

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