Things are quieting down and bundling up for winter here on the farm. The prairie is tall and brown, with the dry seed heads rattling together as they shake in the wind. When the winter snows come, they will begin to topple against each other and fall into mounds of soggy brush, but today they are still standing proud in their old age.
My husband spent all week raking and hoeing the weeds and withered flower stems out of the beds around the house. We don’t have many leaves out here on the prairie and that is a nice change after years of living under oak trees. I hope I never have to rake leaves again! I miss the shade that comes with it, but you can’t have everything. We tried to develop a thick patch of myrtle under our little dogwood tree, but the grass kept growing into it and I did not relish fighting with it the rest of my life. Been there, done that. Joe decided to rip it all out and be done with it. We’ll try to come up with an alternative next year that crowds out the blades of grass without our having to battle it.
Speaking of weed-fighting strategies, Joe tried a new one for keeping his vegetable garden in ship shape. He planted annual rye in his raised beds and tucked them all in with a blanket of straw. The rye grew quickly and will prevent the weeds from taking hold, and the aisles are deep with straw for the same purpose. It looks pretty, and when we turn the rye under in the spring it will provide the “green manure” nutrition that will help the garden along.
I’ve got the chickens ready for winter as well. They are still using their “chicken nipple” watering system but when it gets cold enough to freeze that up, they have the backup of a heated water dispenser in their coop. The heat lamp comes on at 5:00 am, and we put in bales of straw to keep the wind down in their run. They are excited to have something new to flap up onto and see things from a different vantage point. The northwest wind was blowing their feathers up over their heads to hint at what was to come.
Now, all that is left to do is wait for the cold and snow to begin. It is supposed to drop to freezing overnight, so maybe we are on our way.