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.
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.
The porch furniture all tucked in for the winter.
The Canadian geese heading south. Do they know something we don’t?
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
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:
8 pounds of dried beans of various varieties
12 quarts of canned green beans and several more gallons flash frozen
a full bushel of fingerling potatoes in the root cellar
30+ quarts of tomatoes and tomato sauce
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
Enough pumpkins and squash to last us well into the New Year
Cherries, raspberries, and pears all frozen and awaiting their turn in a muffin
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.)
Plenty of dried jalapeno and habanero peppers for when we need to spice things up
Even if all else fails, we’ll make do with fresh eggs from the chickens and fresh milk from the goats
We are exceptionally proud that we’ve learned how to make goat cheese and goat milk yogurt
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!
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…
“FROM” TRAIN REPORT:
20 minutes late
Why on earth would people be fleeing the countryside?
Do they know something we don’t?