Beauty in the Fade, Fall on the Homestead

The beauty of sunflowers show signs of fading as fall arrives on the homestead.

Finding meaning in fall.

The leaves swirled down from our persimmon tree with a wind rushing up our hill. The chickens have lost quite a few feathers, as a palette of various shades have been wind-blown lining the sides of the chicken run like a tossed feathered boa. Our majestic sunflowers with multiple heads of flowers with bright yellow bunches and streaks of red velvet petals that looked up to the sky, have now bowed their heads. The garden has taken on more brown tones as tomato plants are still trying to hold up the last few red and green ones, but the inevitable is starting to set in… autumn is coming.

When I think back over all that the summer season has given, even remembering the struggles we had, it was beautiful and provided. Even as life has come to an end, it all will continue to provide. We take what we are given and look to see how that can go on.

A sunflower droops its head as fall arrives on the homestead.

Sunflowers droop their heads but all hope is not lost.

Our sunflowers provided shade and seeds for the chickens. Some of those seeds will have likely fallen in place and will nestle into the soil to spring up as giants after the cold seasons have gone. That’s the beauty of nature. It knows what it’s doing and we hardly have to lift a finger. If you’ve ever been lucky enough to still have seeds left over on a sunflower head, these seeds can be saved for planting in new locations next time… and some varieties, such as the “Mammoth Russian” as we had, can be harvest to eat, with a little prep work

Today, tossed aside, tomatoes will volunteer for next year.

The garden paths are scattered with tomatoes here and there that have fallen off the vine from animal nibbles or rot that set in. We had at least 10 “volunteer” tomato plants that sprung up this year because of last year’s tomatoes that fell from the vine. We were able to relocate some of them this year- and even give some away for others to enjoy fresh food. We had a handful that were planted around the chicken and turkey runs, they provided shade and nibbles for them too. Wouldn’t be too surprised to see more spring up in those places next time.

Farm life yields life lessons.

We’ve had quite an exciting summer with our 3 broody hens. I even bought a bag of chick feed, certain we’d have at least one clutch of chicks. What a lesson it has taught us. We lost quite a lot of eggs in the process. Our kids learned a lot of science and about life. So did we. As we are gathering our eggs each afternoon, the numbers are starting to dwindle. The feathers that are decorating the chicken yard are a natural sign of molting and that our fresh breakfast eggs will stop soon. Thank goodness for the freezer and the ability to save some for warm breakfast casseroles in the winter time.

Blanched and canned and thinking of Thanksgiving.

Our corn struggles gave us one large bag to blanch and freeze. We planted more beans this year than we thought we could use… resulting in only 11 oz. that were blanched and frozen. These will be “just enough” to cover our servings for our Thanksgiving Challenge. On the bonus side, we tried preserving and pickling garden foods that we had never tried before. The colorful jars on the shelves bring a sense of pride, knowing the persistence it took on days when family life was busy… and knowing those days in a steamy kitchen on hot days aren’t being taken for granted on colder days.

We are thankful for what this growing season has provided for us and for the harvests preserved that will feed our family for the holidays and beyond… and for the seeds saved, until next time.

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