The week of Fall Equinox is the week we take off for both our Harvest and Ma’s ( my better half ) and my Anniversary , as I have mentioned before. And so it was a very busy week.
We had a couple eight hour work days but more were between twelve to fourteen once we got started for the day. We did manage a couple hours before to get up and going as well as an hour or so once we finished for the day. We did manage to get a fair amount of work done which is always a good feeling.
Sunday last week , we did manage to relax for the most part. Monday we got started.
Monday , we headed to Gotham to pick up a few things to get us going. After we got home , Ma started peeling tomatoes for sauce While Ma worked on making her sauce I started in making chicken stock and we broke down peppers for salsa .
Along with peppers , tomatoes and chickens , we chopped carrots , onions and, celery for sauce and soup mix.
Tuesday we started in canning . Somehow , we aren’t sure , Ma hurt her back slowing her down some but definitely not stopping her.
We ran two pressure canners on the porch along with a water bath in the kitchen. BY the end of the evening we managed to get all of the salsa and sauce jarred up and had to bring in a second harvest table for the canned goods , the original table being stacked already.
Wednesday we set up the chicken stock and chicken soup mix. While I worked on canning , Ma was filling jars with chicken , carrots , celery , onions and peas . By the end of the day we had filled another table with jars.
Thursday I finally had all the apples off the trees and brought them in to peel. Ma’s back being rough , I kept her down as much as possible . We had around forty pounds of Pork to break down into burger . It took around an hour to prep. Ten minutes to grind and another hour to bag and clean up before I peeled apples ….all the rest of the friggin day and into the eve . By the time we got the apples beginning to break down it was too late to worry about having them ready for canning.
We had been using two 22 quart roaster ovens for pasta sauce and an 18 quart roaster oven for chicken stock along with three large slow cookers for our salsa . We then used the roasters again to make our apple sauce
Friday I finally finished canning some time after dark with a deep sigh. We now had three tables filled with jars of produce to get us through until next year.
Saturday we had planned on relaxing………….. Yeah, that didn’t work out. We started out planning what we wanted to get done…. Then I went out to the shop to figure out what needed to be moved around for the new canned goods …… I walked back into the house and shrugged;
” There is nowhere to put anything as it sits.”
We spent the next couple hours going through things and cupboards trying to make room inside and out for all the new canned foods where they wouldn’t freeze.
The threat of an early ” winter” storm coming in out of the blue put an extra twist on things. We normally don’t get snow up here until November with an occasional early snap on All Hallows eve ….So , at the very least a month and change earlier than our earliest cold snap in decades .
By the end of day , we had moved things around enough that everything was in a safe place , all of the oldest canned goods ( a few from 2017 though mostly from Last year ) were in the house for use first .
Ma ordered a couple more large coolers to make things easier…we do still have more harvest left even if the storm shuts us down this week.
The early storm.. WTH ?!?
We saw notice of a cold front coming in as the week started to fade…Sure enough , Sunday morning it was snowing and in the mid 30s.
I managed to seal the leak ( the ones I know of anyway ) in ” Outie’s ” roof on Saturday along with the other would be late Fall tasks I was working on…including pulling out the snow shovels ….
We were expecting a couple loads of wood early in the AM and sure enough , around 8am The first load coming in at three cords . Our work portion of our days off seem to be starting around then so I shrugged on my overhauls and got to work.
I had Ma stay inside as we just can’t afford to have her get hurt any worse. Ma made up some breakfast while I moved and stacked two cords in the wood room.
The second load came in just as we finished breakfast ; another three cords .
Flash ! Poof! ………….Crap!
We normally get up between 4am and 5:30am most every day unless I have to work early………..Sooooo…………..I was half awake when;
FLASH! POOF! My monitors flashed on , our clock flashed on the off. Then Everything was off. We lost power at 4am.
” Crap! “
I crawled out of bed, found my phone and started calling the electric company…. I have four different numbers to call …None of them were answered. My concern being ;
A) no power means no pump to our well
No pump means no water
No water means no water for cooking, canning , washing but most importantly.. No toilets…AHHH!!!!!! Happy Sunday !
B) No power means the soup I just made for the week on Saturday eve that was sitting in the slow cooker wouldn’t have any heat to keep it safe…… Crap!
C) No power meant that there was no way I was moving wood if I didn’t have a way to get cleaned up afterwards.
Yeah.. there are more reasons that I was irritated I couldn’t get an answer . Being at the end of a line in the middle of nowhere means it could easily be just us and no one know.
Fortunately it turned out ALL of Zen was down from the flatlands at our feet to all the homes on all of Zen. Even though we are far apart there are , it seems , hundreds of us…. just not up here however, I suppose if you figure in the around 200 square miles that makes up Zen it shouldn’t surprise us.
Best of all , power was found and kicked back on by 7:30am …Minutes before the wood showed…All was well…Still irritates that the 24hr power emergency numbers weren’t answered …. So just another day after all…whew…
The week went extremely fast as we knew it would. When you bust your rear working all day , the day goes by quickly …Even faster when you work at home.
This was our last Holiday until after the snow is gone in the Spring. Trying to get things done on our all too short weekends , as we all know , is insane.
I’m gone at least as much as I am here , normally longer let alone with the doc appointments and PT at least twice a week , flipping schedules as we do makes any time to work at home all but nonexistent.
We still need to get the tractor fixed… Things just haven’t worked out at all with that this year , ever since it went down during last Winter’s last storm. I am a little worried about that and no idea where to turn. Our guy that helped us last time moved back to Alaska . We haven’t been able to find anyone that will come up here to work on it and no way to get it anywhere.
ON the up side; Ma got a call during Break that she had gotten a promotion at work… Not the one we had been hoping for…. One at a higher level yet . Ma was all but speechless .. I made far more sense to me beings how things had been going at work for her. She has been watched by folks all the way to the top person in the business as of late for work she has done and their wanting everyone to follow her example … So , no , I was Not shocked. ….
Zen they hummed
Ma and I walked out to the porch together , another early morning with foods simmering in the kitchen and morning room.
Black as night yet , we sat chatting while we listen to the last of the night birds as they made their Good Morrows to one another..
I stood to walk the deck , listening for signs of morning when I heard the sounds of our elk herd chirping far to the North. A young bull squealed in from the East , setting off a returned call from the Northern herd , followed by yet another bull off to the West.
The stygian skies began to show movements of low clouds drifting in the saddles of Zen as they make their way East. With the flow of clouds , the rain began. The dark began to lose its hold with the falling mists. Greys filled the summit as the rain fell ever harder .
The greying of the early morning brought in Hummie , sleep filled eyes blinking as he mumbled a Good Morning to both Ma and I as he made his way to his perch by my window.
Ma called back to him as he settled in , rubbing his face against his wing when Liam shows up at the other fence next to his feeder , welcoming the morning with us. I greet the son of Hummie as another few hummers flew in chittering up a storm.
Liam’s twins , as usual , started bickering while they spun in smaller and smaller circles , flying higher and higher before one took off in a burst of speed , swinging past me and into the proch , past Ma and whizzing over Hummie’s head , his sister following on his tail feathers .
In moments all of Hummie’s and Liam’s family are flying around the deck and porch areas ; the last of our hummingbirds until Spring starts bringing the cousins back again.
As normal , our Harvest week is when any of the stragglers not of Hummie’s clan take off South for the Winter . Soon even Hummie’s family will start heading down to Gotham to get the Town House ready for their winter stay. Hum is normally the last to head down as well as generally coming back up to visit as often as weather allows. It is nothing to see him flying up the hill side from town during a break in a storm if only to say Hi and grab a quick drink of Ma’s Super Juice to get him back to town once again .
The sun finally breaking out from between clouds as it rises above the far Eastern range , I watch the hummies and listen to their chatter as they drown out the calls of the elk.
Oranges and reds fill the skies to the East as , with one final effort , the Sun bursts through the cloud cover to burn away the last of the fog and rain , if only for the moment.
Watching the sun rise means it is time to get going on our Fall chores . One last look at the sun , the hummies and listening to them scold and tease one another I laugh , shake my head , walking through the door to the smell of Ma’s pasta sauce , my grin broadening to all but split my face in half. Hours of canning to go, more harvest to break down , firewood to come as well as chill temps on the horizon and yet, it is still
Just another day on Zen Mountain