Sunday, October 28, 2007

Finally fall

After many mild weeks we're finally having fall like weather and the leaves are turning gold, red, orange, and brown. People have been asking since Labor Day whether things are slowing down on the farm. Finally I can tell them "yes!" The farm stand has been closed for two weeks, and the last market in Coraopolis is tomorrow. Tonight we will likely get a frost if not a complete freeze. Today mom and dad were picking tomatoes and peppers in long underwear and stocking caps. Dad actually got 24 buckets of tomatoes, but a lot of them weren't very red. Some people also like to get green ones at the end of the year and wrap them in newspaper till they ripen.
Yesterday I left market early and cut some things left in the field: butternut squash, these cool looking La Estrella pumpkins, and my big lagenaria gourds. There are a lot of pumpkins still in the field that are just now coming ripe, because we didn't get them planted very early. This afternoon dad was scavenging for some pickles from a late patch (he found 40 or so) and brought in the big ones. He just couldn't resist.
Here are the ssssssssssssssssssnake gourds. They are really interesting to look at, but do not seem to be in high demand.Some of the other lagenaria gourds: bushel, African wine kettle, birdhouse, zucca, and swan gourds. They all are neat, and when they dry people do all kinds of crafts with them. I tried to grow luffa gourds as well, but am not sure if they had time to mature enough. I brought the biggest ones in to dry and try to cure so that I can use the insides as sponges, but I don't have high hopes for them.
It's a clear night with bright moon and stars, so it's likely that it will get as cold as 28 degrees, which the national weather service is predicting. Even so, the broccoli and cabbage will probably survive, and we still have squash, pie pumpkins, and the last tomatoes and peppers to take to market through December. If it's not a hard frost, dad will get up at 3 or 4 am and fill his air blast sprayer with water to try and save the tomatoes, peppers, and lettuce for another day. "It's neat to be able to say that I was picking tomatoes in November," he explains.