Week 28: And Just Like That, Snow…

We are now experiencing true autumn weather.  Our week ended with a small flurry of snow giving a beautiful appearance to the grounds of Pepperfield.

David and I began our Monday as usual.  After a quick visit to the hospital garden we spent some time in town running some errands.  Afterwards, we returned to the farm and worked on cleaning the last of the green amaranth.  Then I worked on getting a few items ready for dinner.  Korbin dropped in for the evening and we spent time enjoying good food and each others company as we caught up.  She brought a great gift of black trumpet mushrooms making the meal even more special.  The next day I started my morning by organizing squash.  We have an excessive amount, so I spent my time moving them to their final winter resting spots.  David and I spent the rest of the morning picking volunteer squash from around the farm.  Once we got done with that, we moved onto harvesting celeriac for winter storage.  I worked on cutting off the tops, while David cleaned up the roots.  This took a good portion of our morning and we took a quick lunch break just after.  I left for work a few hours later and spent a slow night in town.

Wednesday I worked on getting some meals ready for the week and an upcoming dinner.  I started my day by setting up a lamb braise on the wood stove.  While it simmered away, I focused on preparing some items for dinner.  I started by roasting red and white peppers for a roasted pepper topping.  After that I moved onto making a pear pickle.  Around mid-day, David discovered a massive hen of the wood mushroom growing up near the cabin so I took a quick break to help him harvest it.  Our dinner guests arrived shortly after and I worked on a few finishing touches.  The dinner involved five courses and started with a late garden salad.  Then I presented corn and zucchini pancakes with roasted peppers, pear pickle, squash butter and caramelized zucchini.  The next course was a Seminole squash risotto which was followed by braised beef over fettuccine.  Dessert was raspberry sorbet with some almond cookies and acted as a great closer for a fun meal.  The following day I worked on preparing the hen of the woods mushroom for drying.  This took about an hour and once I finished that I helped David dig up cabbage roots for next years seed crop.  Afterwards, I took off for work a few hours later for a decent night.

Friday, I focused on garden clean-up.  I started by helping David dig and clean amaryllis bulbs.  After that I pulled tobacco, pepper and rue plants that were done for the season.  I managed to get a fence rolled up before I left for town too.  We got slammed at the job with a huge push near the end after the football game got out.  The day after, I worked on some more clean-up, this time inside.  I focused on tidying up the kitchen and fridge before working on cutting up squash for the goats.  Then I setup some braised cabbage and left for the evening.  Work was quite busy again with a huge night of business.

It seems that my Sundays are restful.  After sleeping in, I stumbled out of bed.  I helped David make a pie for a party we were going to and then whipped up a quick ice cream to go with it.  David and I spent the day mostly in relaxation before heading to his daughter’s for the evening.  There was lots of pie – sweet and savory – and great company, crafting a great ending to a busy week.

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Thanks to our patrons, P&P is now entirely reader supported!  You have made a huge financial goal possible by connecting with the Community of Conscious Consumers (C3)!  (Check the link to learn more.)

We would first like to extend a heartfelt thank you to all our patrons.  Moving forward, we hope to continue producing the stellar content that you enjoy.  We are also looking to expand our team of writers to bring you even more awesome content.  P&P is still making plans for the monthly video update series and will keep you posted on its status.  Furthermore, we are making strides everyday on improving site and post readability.  Our time here at the Pepperfield Project is soon coming to a close.  We’re keeping the future of P&P (slightly) under wraps, but rest assured, things will be fantastic!

We will be hosting our third AMA later this month.  Stay posted for updates on details.

Week 27: Autumn Rains and Clean-Up Between

This week was quite rainy.  With only a few breaks this week, we struggled to put in a full day and have done a fair amount of waiting.

Autumn rain on a kale leaf

This week started out with clean-up around the house.  David and I were anticipating a guest for a few overnights during the week.  The day was cold and we had both stoves on.  Mid morning, I set some goat stock on the stove to reduce. Meanwhile, I prepared a goat chile verde for meals for the week.  Tuesday morning I began my day by shucking corn for winter grain storage.  Afterwards, I setup some squash to cook on the stove for a puree.  Additionally, I sliced some cabbage up to braise all day.  It was rainy again so I spent my time tending to the pots and doing miscellaneous chores around the house.


Wednesday I prepared a bunch of dishes in anticipation for our guest.  I began by making some fettuccine.  I continued to prep, setting up a mushroom bolognese in a pot to simmer for half an hour.  Then, while my pasta dough was resting, I set up a vegetable soup to simmer for an hour and then turned my attention to making some cornbread.  We had a surplus of corn (and corn products) from our previous dinner so I broke out a bunch of various corn items and turned them into a corn bread.  Shortly after, I moved onto getting risotto par cooked for dinner.  I found out about halfway through the day that our guest had canceled so I shifted gears and used a quick window of sun to mow the lawns.  This took a couple of hours and when I got back inside, I prepared dinner.  David and I ate it just like we would have if our guest arrived.  It started off with a Navajo Squash Risotto.  Then, the meal transitioned to heavier fare with a mushroom bolo and fresh fettuccine.  Finally, we finished the meal with braised beef roast in a red wine-mulberry reduction that was fantastic.  The next day I worked on garden clean-up.  While David prepared ingredients for a compost pile, I worked on hacking away weeds covering a pile we needed.  After that I piled all the refuse in the corner of the garden and then began pulling the old amaranth stalks that we harvested last week.  Still filling time, I shifted over to the old lima bean patch and pulled the dead plants and weeds to clear up the area.  By this time David was ready for me and I started hauling over manure.  We got the pile done in no time and I took off for a decent evening of work.

Friday was slated to rain, but early in the morning it seemed to be clearing up.  I used this time to do some more clean up in the garden.  I started with cleaning off the rest of the tomato trellises.  Once I finished that, I moved onto pulling out old tomatillo and ground cherry plants.  I spent the rest of my time tidying up a few areas before heading into town for the evening.  Work was moderately busy with a few good pushes making it a pretty good night.  The following day, I continued to work with early afternoon sun in the garden.  I turned my attention to pulling out squash plants in various patches across the garden.  This ate up most of my time, but I did manage to pull out some volunteer amaranth plants as well.  The rain started almost immediately after I left for work.  The night was cold, moderate and unexciting.

Sunday started off with more rain.  David and I got a late start to our day.  Mid afternoon we took off to Lanesboro for a showing of Dracula.  When returned to the farm, I headed back to town to do some research at the library before they closed.  When I got back, I heated up some leftovers from the week and caught an early night listening to the autumn rain patter on the house.

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Week 26: A Different Kind of Work

As the autumn days push cool air through the valley, I can’t help but to reflect to the parallels of springtime. Comfortable days, lots of work – but also plenty of time to do it – and preparation for the upcoming year.

Our visits to the hospital garden will soon be coming to a close. When David and I visited Monday morning, there wasn’t a whole lot to do. While he picked peppers, I went around and pulled out some dead plants, picked some kale and checked the tomato vines for any late fruit. Still exhausted from the Heirloom Harvest Dinner, David and I returned home and spent the day doing small tasks. I mowed the field and vegetable garden and then moved onto channeling the creek to drain excess water. Afterwards, I checked the cabin and brought down the laundry before heading to the back yard. I gave the hedge in the back one final trim for winter and then went inside for dinner. The next day I started my morning down in the garden. I worked on pulling the last row of corn plants out. Then I took apart a bean teepee to be used for firewood. Shortly after I helped David clean carrots for winter storage. We took a quick lunch break and then I worked inside on shucking corn seed. Right before work I helped sweep out the hoop house for our upcoming amaranth harvest. The night was moderate and relaxing.


Wednesday, I started my day by picking amaranth. I only harvested one half of the red patch and set it in the hoop house to dry. Then I helped David bring in some of the potted tropical plants in preparation for winter. This took up most of the afternoon because its a heavy and dirty job. We also rearranged the furniture that had been displaced for the recent dining events. I got some free time and caught up on some work I had before getting dinner ready. The following day David and I worked on moving in the citrus trees in anticipation of an upcoming frost. We had a guest stop by and volunteer to help making the whole job much easier. Once we got done with that, I cut up some squash for the goats and got ready for work. The night was decent, but not as hectic as most Thursdays.

Friday, David and I spent most of the morning thrashing amaranth. Using a large bedsheet, David and I vigorously shook out the pannacles trying to extract as much seed as possible. Once we got the gross work done, David sifted through our thrashings with a screen, removing the majority of the large material. The seed was then placed on another sheet to dry before it gets one last refining. Then David and I worked on a winter squash harvest. As we hauled the squash up to the house, I was amazed how productive the plants had been. I sat around a little before work and then headed into town for a busy night. The day after, I cleaned the rest of the red amaranth patch. David went around and worked on some small projects before catching up with me for lunch. After that we spent the rest of the afternoon digging beets. Afterwards we got them cleaned up and put away for winter storage and seed saving for next year. This was a pretty large project that ate up most of my time before work. The night was decent with a large push at the end.

Sunday, David and I started the morning by cleaning up the ferns. They have been here for some time and needed a trimming and cleaning. Afterwards, I worked on husking ground cherries while David peeled pears for canning. Shortly after, we took a break for lunch and then I worked on some items for dinner. I prepared a red wine reduction for a braise I’m making next week. After that, I put some goat bones on to simmer to make into stock. Korbin joined us early to work on tobacco curing and then joined us for dinner. We enjoyed the company late into the night. As the sun set, cool autumn rains drizzled through the night.

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