After very cold temperatures — 20 degrees at night and a HIGH of 42 degrees — the weather’s warming up to a pretty Indian summer. It’s still cold at night, down to the twenties, but the daytime temperatures are getting nicer, all the way up to the seventies. So we’re able to get a lot done. I’m finishing up harvesting the garden by pulling up our carrots and rutabagas. We’ve had better carrots, but the rutabagas are gigantic! And they’re sweet and solid — not woody at all. I sure wasn’t expecting that as I didn’t thin them as well as I should have. Bad Jackie!

As I’m processing tomatoes and we’re eating our melons, I’m also busy saving seed for next year. For the melons I just pick out the seeds and put them in a sieve, running it under warm water in the sink and encouraging the pulp to wash out with my fingertips. I either do the same with the tomatoes or I put the jell with the seeds in a cup, fill it with warm water, and let it set for three days. It forms a yucky white layer on top, but after three days of fermenting, the seeds sink to the bottom and the I can easily scoop the white layer off and pour off the liquid. I sieve off the seeds and dry them on a piece of wax paper with the name of the variety written on it in permanent marker. They dry in about three days, then I put them in a small, labeled envelope to store in a plastic tote bin.

Seeds are getting more and more expensive and many varieties are going missing every single day. So seed saving is definitely a homesteader’s skill that needs polishing up!

Our baby turkeys are growing fast. They now have wing feathers and can fly short distances. Unfortunately, they still fit through the 2×4-inch wire in the orchard and free range through the surrounding grass and brush, searching for grasshoppers and other goodies. We do worry that a fox may snatch one up, but so far, only our cat, Mittens, has caught one when they were much smaller. It’s hard to tell a cat that you CANNOT catch baby turkeys when their instinct is to catch mice and birds (even though we keep rescuing the birds). You can’t punish a cat for doing what its instinct tells it to. We do praise her for catching mice and squirrels and scold her and take away any birds she catches. It does seem that she’s catching fewer birds lately, so I hope that’s working. And so far, she’s not stalking the turkeys.


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