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Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Marking the onset of fall...with a sick day

I was home sick today. I slept in, under the spell of cold medication. I got up for work but by the time I dressed and brushed my teeth I was in a feverish sweat, my headache had returned and I could not breathe through my nose. So I returned to my pajamas and my bed.
After a pot of herbal tea and a nap, I awoke refreshed, but weak as a kitten. Here is what I accomplished, even in that condition: I baked two loaves of zucchini/chocolate chip bread; I picked a bushel of tomatoes off my withering vines (and threatened to fall in out of dizziness); I cleaned the cats’ communal litterbox; I battled with the failing washing machine and won; I emptied and refilled the dishwasher; I removed the summer’s nail polish from my toes; I read a chapter of my book; and I wrote a chapter of my book.
Oh yeah – and I wrote a column. All in all, it was a very productive sick day. It’s a good thing I was home, too, because I helped to avert disaster in the kitchen.
The Farmer was home, preparing a hunters’ lunch for opening day. He had thawed goose from last season and was making a bourguignon stew. Potatoes, beets and carrots from the garden were being steamed and he was roasting a huge chunk of venison. This is how the hunters clean up last year’s bounty before they head out to collect this season’s catch.
He was preparing to mash potatoes when he thought to call out to me, “Hey. Any idea what this stuff is that I found in the freezer?” He stood there with a melting, dripping container of calf colostrum. We freeze some of that first milk, also known as liquid gold, so that we can feed it to any newborn calves who are failing and weak. It perks them right up and gets them on their feet. And the Farmer was about to add it to his mashed potatoes. Mmmm. Creamy.
“No! That’s colostrum!” I yelled. He just gave me a look and shook his head  before firmly locking the lid back onto the container. I’m going to make sure that stuff gets labeled before it goes back in the freezer.
It’s time to change summer sheets for flannels and a quilt. I put the summer quilt in the baby’s playpen for extra padding at nap time when she comes to grandma’s house. I’m airing out the sheepskins to put on the living room floor where we sit and watch Netflix. The baby has decided she loves to roll around on the soft and fluffy sheepskins. They will make a cosy spot in front of the woodstove – which we will also have to fence off so baby doesn’t get burnt.
The Farmer has been busy cleaning up fallen trees so we have a stocked woodpile and we are ready for the ominous Farmers’ Almanac prediction of a nasty winter. We will get past Thanksgiving first, because we need our back porch to host forty people for lunch. Then we will board it up and stack the wood floor to ceiling within reach of the back door.
September flew by, and suddenly October is upon us. Time to put away the sundresses and sandals – but not too far away because I am optimistic that we will be heading south in the dead of winter – and dig out the boots and sweaters.
My garden hasn’t quite finished yet – the severe drought we endured all summer seemed to have no ill affect on the tomatoes, kale or zucchini. We have actually filled a deep freezer with one bag of tomatoes a day. Our resident sauce maker will be busy – especially if he wants to make room for turkeys next week. The potatoes aren’t much bigger than the seed potatoes I planted and the cucumbers are kind of boomerang-shaped from searching for water but other than that, it was a good harvest.
The Marketplates event at the Kemptville Farmers’ Market was a raucous success – it makes me proud to see so many people coming out to buy from local farmers. We still have a few farm-fresh turkeys left so if you would like to reserve one for Thanksgiving – just email me. A new shipment of The Accidental Farmwife books has come in, so I will stock the shelves at the B&H Community Grocer, Rooney Feeds and Grahame’s Bakery, where you can pick up a copy.
Fall is here – now if I can just make sure the Farmer doesn’t come down with a huge man-cold, we will be able to enjoy our favourite season.

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