Harvest moon
Harvest moon

TO:

Regardless of whether we are in a recession or teetering on the edge of another depression, the streets of Manhattan have been downright depressing this week, and all around there is a discernible scent of desperation and a palpable anxiety.

I should have really been looking forward to getting on the train and leaving all of those worries behind for the weekend, but I knew what was awaiting us at the farm.

With days getting shorter and nights ever colder, we have to start preparing The Beekman for winter.  Keep in mind that she has stood on that hill for over two centuries, weathering winters long before global warming diminished their bite, but, still, there are things that most be done to make her more comfortable.

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There are over 50 windows in the house and all of the screens need to be replaced with storm windows.  This means carrying the screens down into the cellar and the heavy windows up two flights of stairs.  Very good exercise.

All of the outdoor furniture needs to be cleaned and stored for the season, too.  There’s the Adirondack tables and chairs under the willows by the pond, the teak steamers and bistro set by the pool, and the marble and cast iron furniture that dresses up the porch.

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The porch furniture all tucked in for the winter.

The perfect formation
The perfect formation

The Canadian geese heading south.  Do they know something we don’t?

Bird's nest
Bird's nest

One of our feathered friends facing foreclosure.

“TO” TRAIN REPORT: (Each week I’ll give a quick status recap of the train trip to and from The Beekman)

The train was 30 minutes late.  The person one row ahead talked very loudly on his phone for a good portion of the trip.  He had just seen the Broadway revival of Speed the Plow and wanted to make certain that everyone knew it was worth the ticket price

FROM:

When we moved to The Beekman a year and a half ago, we were driven by an unquestionable desire to return to our agrarian roots.  While life in the city may have made us emotionally stronger, we were physically weak, and felt a strong desire to be able to provide for ourselves.

After many long days, aches, and pains, we feel ready to face the winter… and whatever else comes our way.  Maybe it’s not exactly survival of the fittest, but survival of the best-prepared is definitely on the horizon.

Here’s a peek at our winter rations:

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8 pounds of dried beans of various varieties

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12 quarts of canned green beans and several more gallons flash frozen

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a full bushel of fingerling potatoes in the root cellar

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30+ quarts of tomatoes and tomato sauce

Purple carrots
Purple carrots

Broccoli, cauliflower, green peppers, beets, parsnips and basil have found room in the freezer and will surely contribute to a soup or stew this winter

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Enough pumpkins and squash to last us well into the New Year

Luscious raspberries
Luscious raspberries

Cherries, raspberries, and pears all frozen and awaiting their turn in a muffin

Apple sauce
Apple sauce

Plenty of apples in the freezer for pies when our sweet tooth begs along with apple sauce, apple butter, pear sauce, pear butter, and, of course, the hard apple cider when things get really bleak

There is still plenty of beef from last years cow as well as some rabbit and goat.  (We’ll skip the pics of those. No reason for you to get attached. It’s just part of county living.)

Habanero peppers
Habanero peppers

Plenty of dried jalapeno and habanero peppers for when we need to spice things up

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Thanksgiving dinner

Blue eggs from the Araucana chickens
Blue eggs from the Araucana chickens

Even if all else fails, we’ll make do with fresh eggs from the chickens and fresh milk from the goats

Goat milk
Goat milk
Beekman chevre
Beekman chevre

We are exceptionally proud that we’ve learned how to make goat cheese and goat milk yogurt

Beekman 1802 Goat Milk Soap
Beekman 1802 Goat Milk Soap

And, never fear, thanks to BEEKMAN 1802 goat milk soap, we will never, ever go dirty.

If times get tough, we have several extra bedrooms and a hay loft.  We’ll start a commune.  Regular readers of the blog get first dibs, of course!

A pumpkin lantern
A pumpkin lantern

The Beekman pumpkins are unlikely to scare off any evil spirits.  In fact, they might even attract a few of the more stylish ones. Find out how we make our pumpkin lantern in this week’s HowToo blog.

Also, be sure to tune in to our Blog homepage on Halloween (Friday.) We’ll have all sorts of special Halloween entries – including the debut of our “newest, oldest” blogger, which is a perfect blog for children to follow. Start with us at the beginning…

Interior, The Beekman Family Crypt
Interior, The Beekman Family Crypt

“FROM” TRAIN REPORT:

20 minutes late
Unbelievably crowded
Why on earth would people be fleeing the countryside?
Do they know something we don’t?

by Dr. Brent

Reader Comments

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Cindy Weiher

As a fellow preserver, canner, and freezer of summer's bounties, would you be willing to share organizational tips for your freezer storage?? I always start out with everything sorted and stacked neatly, but it never fails that at some point I've completely lost track of what is still in there, how much, and where it is. Or, would you be open to sharing photos of your freezers and/or canned goods storage??

Love your show and website!!

Reply
tamra

Ditto to all the gushing by previous posters.

Blame me if the economy fails to recover. Yes, I'm praying for tough times so I can live on your commune. Sign me up.

Reply
Roger

I think it's so cool that you guys have a crypt. When I was a kid in the 1960's our neighbors had one, except it was officially called a "bomb shelter". Made of reinforced concrete and stocked with provisions and bottled water, it was built 12 feet underground and designed to protect their whole family in the event of an atomic bomb attack. A lot of people feared we might have one during those cold-war years. As I think about it, both your Crypt and theirs have an element of being 'scary'.

On a happier note, I am reminded once again of the food harvesting and preparation I often participated in when I was a kid. We lived in town but were only 10 miles from my grandparent's farm nearby. My grandmother's garden was big enough to feed about half of the eastern Wyoming county where we lived. I spent many a weekend shucking corn, picking beans, gathering cucumbers / tomatoes / pumpkins and squash and climbing trees for apples and apricots. My father had several hives of bees there so I got to help him tend to them and also harvest the honey. Starting then and even now my mother calls on me (and my strength) to tighten the rings on the lids of jars whenever she is canning food.

It IS satisfing at the end of autumn to take a look at all that has been "put up for the winter" and feel the satisfaction that comes from that. I'm impressed by the amount and variety of food you guys have prepared for the winter. And best of all – it's chemical and additive-free!

Now that I live in Oregon I find that locally grown foods are even more varied and abundant. Thank God for Farmer's Markets! I'm excited that much of what you guys are doing on your farm can also be done "in the city" to some extent. I'm learning to can and freeze more food, make pickles, applesauce and my own home-made sausage. I'm now looking into putting some bee hives on my property. I have a really big apple tree, a huge rhubarb patch, and in my flower beds I plant many of the herbs I use in my kitchen.

I'm lucky to live adjacent to a large "environmental preserve" which is property that will never be built on. In the time I have lived here many local streams, including the creek in the preserve next to my home now have salmon returning to spawn because pollution is being stopped and the waters are a lot cleaner. It helps me feel like my small lot seems more like a small farm. Even in tough economic times like now I feel like I have a lot to be thankful for. I am very inspired by what you are doing at the Beekman Farm. Thank you for sharing so much of your lives on this website!

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