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

First frost 2011

Frost on oat leaves

Frost on squash flowerThe first frost of fall 2011 was gentle (albeit early --- October 3.)  It barely nipped the basil and summer squash and I suspect even our uncovered tomatoes might keep right on ripening.

The sudden cold was a shock to our systems, though.  I cleaned out the wood stove nook and lit our first little fire.  I just burnt five or six sticks of leftover kindling, but the wood was enough to take the chill off until the sun came in our south-facing window, and to remind me how much I love our efficient wood stove!

Frosted squash leavesThe frost is our cue to get ready for our first little "staycation" of the year, slated to begin October 11.  We realized after last winter's trip that the vacation had been too long and that we started missing home pretty fast, so we're opting to take two half weeks off at home this winter instead.  I've always loved the idea of a staycation, but didn't trust myself not to work right through them.  Let's see if Mark can keep me honest so that I get the same deep relaxation during a staycation as during a cruise.

Learn about cheap and easy frost protection in my 99 cent ebook.

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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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Ive been hoping for an early frost around here....not for the crops but to kill off the bugs! The darn mosquitos have been nasty in the timber this year and hoping for a frost to end that issue!
Comment by David Z Tue Oct 4 08:35:20 2011

I'm North of you guys, but not in the mountains. So while I had colder temperatures, I didn't get any frost. Unlike you, we already pulled out tomatoes.

Good idea about the staycation. I like those, but I do end up working on the homestead throughout those weeks.

Comment by Greg S Tue Oct 4 09:19:39 2011

David --- I know what you mean. With the unusual heat extending into September, our broccoli and cabbage pretty much got eaten alive by cabbage worms and the blister beetle infestation in our swiss chard never seemed to stop. Hopefully the frost will put a damper on it!

Greg --- It's amazing the effect the mountains have. I went to school outside Pennsylvania, and was surprised to realize that the weather there is a hair warmer than I was used to, despite being about 500 miles north....

Comment by anna Tue Oct 4 12:59:56 2011

As usual, I biked to work yesterday. But it was so warm that even in the morning that a jacket was too hot, and just a t-shirt was fine. And in the afternoon we hit 24°C!

But then again, last year in November we had around six inches of snow!

Comment by Roland_Smith Tue Oct 4 14:05:05 2011
Today we had a lovely day like yours --- crazy how fall can change gears so fast. I'm glad to hear you're having beautiful biking weather!
Comment by anna Tue Oct 4 18:39:53 2011
We've stretched the season and the garden is almost done, covering tomatoes at night hoping a few more will ripen on the vine. Peas still going gangbusters but like chard and root crops can handle a little frost. Tired of squash. Beans and cauliflower done and broccoli isn't worth much time as florets are so small now. Cucumbers are still trying. It's over, we both know its time to fire up the rototiller. But when that frost hits, that momentary icy blossom and those thick frozen brings a heaviness to my heart, what a great summer we had and now it's over, All Over. Whew, glad that only lasted a minute.
Comment by Pam Tue Oct 4 19:46:44 2011
I know what you mean. On the one hand, I'm ready for a break from the garden! On the other hand, I know that every day in the fall that we're able to eat fresh from the garden means that time in the middle of the winter when I get sick of freezer produce is further off.
Comment by anna Tue Oct 4 20:10:26 2011

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