Autumn Tasks at Raggedy Hen Farm


We were allowed no illusions; no lingering, clinging bits of Summer.  Autumn has struck our little wet corner of the world with a determined smack.  Days of blustery rain, leaves starting to turn and tumble from the trees, and, as happens here in the Pacific Northwest, all the grasses are greening up again. Those “someday” tasks we’ve had on our list to get done before Winter hits moved to the top of the page and we’ve been rushing a bit to get them done!  Here’s a brief account of what we’ve been up to the past few days–in between rainstorms and warming coffee breaks:

  • Finish spreading compost on all the beds
  • Trimming back the tomato plants (cutting off the new growth and maximizing sun exposure for the many large, green tomatoes still on the vine
  • Harvesting ripe pumpkins and winter squash
  • Planting garlic
  • Planting fall/winter crops like lettuces, collards, kale, etc.
  • Harvesting figs and waiting patiently as the persimmons ripen
  • Putting away lawn furniture
  • Cleaning off the back deck, tucking the grill under cover, and gathering decor items
  • Trimming and cleaning potted plants
  • Bringing in geraniums for winter storage
  • Contact the city for a delivery of leaves later in the season
  • Tidy garage
  • Harvesting, pruning and drying some of the woody herb plants

There are a few tasks that have to wait until it gets much cooler.  We will be pruning back the raspberries, grape vines and roses, but we wait until after the first frosts to tackle those jobs.  Last year, it felt like we were able to slip into Autumn slowly on the backs of sunny, crisp afternoons but, as every year is different, that has definitely not been the way things are unfolding this year.  Every night for the past week, I’ve been hearing the migrating Canada geese honking their goodbyes as they fly overhead and we’ve had noisy flocks of all sorts of birds congregating in the back conifers and evergreens as they move through the neighborhood.  While it only seems a few weeks ago that we were sitting out in the orchard watching the chickens forage at the nearly 9:30 pm dusk, we are now shutting them up in their cozy henhouse by 7:30 pm.  Soon, they’ll go to bed before we even have supper.  Like every season, we savor and celebrate as we go about our chores–there is something so reassuring about the first dark days of rain–we start to anticipate buttery Chanterelle mushrooms (we ate our first batch of wild-harvested ones just the other night, sautéed up in butter and garlic); evenings of reading, warm cookies and hot tea; and fresh pressed apple cider from nearby farms.  Fall is here for sure, and we might as well enjoy it!



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