The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Another Monday, another harvest push

Beans and nuts

Another Monday, another big harvest push.

Dirty butternuts

Curing butternutsThis week, my primary goal was to completely clear out the main butternut patch to make way for planting an oat cover crop. To that end, I harvested every squash, whether it was ready or not. The few that were still greenish will go to the goats in the near future, so they won't be wasted.

With over sixty new fruits coming in, I had to stand up the previous harvests' butternuts to make way for this week's graduates. The photo at left shows about two-thirds of our butternut harvest to date...but I've still got at least a dozen growing in other parts of the garden.

The good news is that our spoiled goats adore butternuts. Both girls turned up their noses at fresh mangels, Abigail likes carrots while Artemesia is less sure, but chopped, raw butternuts disappear down the goat gullet immediately. I guess I now have about four months of goat concentrates figured out --- excellent!

Field corn

Speaking of goat concentrates, I also harvested my experimental field corn planting. I put in a couple of rows of Nothstine Dent corn this spring mostly because our goats enjoy sweet corn leaves so much. We can only consume so much sweet corn, but I figured a bit of field corn could either feed the goats (if I lower my standards), the chickens, or family members who consume grain. We'll see who these new ears go to and whether the not-quite-so-sugary leaves are as much like goat candy as those of sweet corn.

Newly hatched sparrows

Finally, in unrelated Monday news, Mama Song Sparrow's third hatch is now underway! Two babies grace her hidden nest, deep in the raspberry canes, and both are so tiny they have to be sparrows instead of cowbirds. Here's hoping she has better luck raising her own species this time around.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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Hello again, I'm growing butternut four the first time and noticed some of yours look shiny. Is that from washing them or did you rub them with oil for better keeping? Enjoy your blog so much - Karla
Comment by Karla Wed Sep 2 07:08:46 2015
On the one hand, it's good news that the goats like the butternuts. On the other hand, there's going to be some competition for said butternuts from Mark. We know how much he enjoys them. ;-D
Comment by Anonymous Wed Sep 2 13:30:21 2015
Karla --- The squash are wet from being washed in that photo. People do sometimes use various methods to make them last longer, including dipping them in bleach water or even waxing the skin. But we find our butternuts do great in our cool kitchen all winter with no processing except a quick wash if we harvest during muddy weather.
Comment by anna Wed Sep 2 14:15:36 2015
Ah, what a beautiful sight! I am jealous of all those butternuts! Our main storage crops-the squash, the potatoes, and the cabbages-were all hit really hard with one pest or another- and the wild turkeys plucked most of the field corn out of the ground when small.... so our winter larder for such things is looking mighty slim. Sigh.... my goats ate the flint corn leaves, but without quite as much relish as the sweet corn. But then, they are very spoiled picky goaties!
Comment by Deb Wed Sep 2 15:00:37 2015
Why did you harvest your dent corn early? Normally it's not done until it's completely dry and hard. Then it can be shelled or ground.
Comment by Eric Wed Sep 2 19:47:21 2015
Eric --- With our wet climate, I always worry about things rotting on the vine. (Or, more often, molding or sprouting rather than drying). So I try to harvest anything dried (like dry beans or vegetable seeds) as soon as the plant turns brown. Even then, I sometimes see problems. So since the field corn plants were brown, I figured I'd harvest --- hopefully it won't be too precipitate!
Comment by anna Wed Sep 2 20:34:28 2015
Anna I forgot that you probably didn't have but a small patch grown, not the acres we grew in MN (and our fields were tiny by comparison) and you are not mechanically picking it and putting it in cribs to store and dry, and if you picked it too green it would mold. No, I see little corn other than sweet corn grown in SW VA. The land 'tis a tad rugged for that sort of agriculture. :)
Comment by Eric Wed Sep 2 23:01:48 2015
What sort of beans are those in the first picture? They look so beautiful!
Comment by Kat Fri Sep 4 14:45:02 2015
Kat --- Those are scarlet runner beans. The plant is just as pretty as the beans!
Comment by anna Sun Sep 6 08:55:55 2015

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