The homestead is a bit quiet at this time of the year. We are gearing up to do some tree care – putting up deer proof (and snowmobile proof) cages/ mulching and mineralizing, putting the gardens still to bed by cleaning and composting, planting bulbs (and yes, still the garlic!), and collecting the last of the seeds/herbs/medicinal supplies (I can still gather Cleavers, Rosehips, Mints, Apples, Mullein, Comfrey, and with this wet and warmish weather some late Red Clover, and seeds of all kinds – Echinacea, Wild Bee Balm & Scarlet Monarda, Boneset, Blue False Indigo, Common Milkweed). Flowers and some herbs are seeding nicely, too – I’ve collected some Witch Hazel, Zinnia, Cosmos, Safflower, Gilia, Flamingo Celosia, Gomphrena, Rue, Calendula, Bachelor Buttons, Dianthus, Clarkia, and more.
I just pulled my Carrots (these lovely short and stout Uzbecki yellow guys – they like a slight frost for sweetness), and could consider digging up some Sunchokes (though they are hit or miss for my body – too much inulin, better after frost, but I’m not sure it’s been enough frost for those guys…). The little second blast of Asian Greens in the garden look yummy (but apparently only to me, the deer have left them so far alone, not so with the Snow Peas or Pole Beans or second wave of Green/Purple/Yellow Wax beans – they ate those down to the nub). And the Fall Raspberries are still fruiting in snackfuls. The Nasturtium are wondrously blooming profusely and giving off pods, we might steal a few for pickled ‘capers’ and let the others dry for seed. I’m waiting for the corn to dry but that seems perhaps impossible in this ‘tropical’ October weather this year. It will likely rot and I will have to buy or trade seed for next year. I did acquire a nice little sack of Abenaki Flint Corn from the Greenhorns at the Common Ground Fair this year, so perhaps I will focus on that next year. But the child does love to save her cornseed, she’ll be disappointed. I will dig out some Pumpkin seed for her to save soon to make up for the loss when I process all the lovely pumpkins we grew (a little too early this year!).
For me, seed-saving is about making sure we keep localized plant-living, well – alive. The seeds our plants grow have thrived in our soil, with our micro climate so they will adjust and adapt their conditions to ours (and vice versa, do not think our bodies do not also adjust and adapt to the conditions around us) and feed an overall locality and community. We can trade and then diversify our offerings to this biome, strengthening protections for this symbiosis. I love a good Seed Swap; with stories about everyone’s garden did this year, what they had to overcome, how they succeeded, what they let go, what they promote. I like people that grow. It’s really the utmost optimism and sure, some science, but also a lot of magick (there is a lot of magick in science, despite the naysayers – sure – magick can just be science we haven’t found the answers for, but it could just be its own sensibility of wonder and leaps, too). I tried so much to grow various seeds for J’s breads – Poppy, Millet, Barley, and some herbs but most failed this year with all the moisture; it’s an optimism, for sure.
I can’t wait for a Grand Opening of the bakery/bookshop resplendent with a Local Seed Swap! Meanwhile, we’re up to Fedco this week to get holiday baskets, bulbs for the orchard and paperwhites for the shop, orchard minerals, and maybe some seed for next year (I like to get started in February for some things so it’s not that early to stock up, right?!).
What’s the theme? Buying and thinking local while being aware of our places in the world. We are not on isolated little (political) islands, we are connected in ways we haven’t even begun to discover or articulate (underground, overground, and still on the ground, inside our bodies, in wavelengths and vibrations, in dreams and consciousness, in relation and sharing, and so many more) – taking care of each other is the biggest theme and we can do that in a myriad of ways. These are the ways we know.