The Old Farmers Almanac says last week’s full moon was the “Full Corn Moon” but not the harvest moon because the next one is closer to the equinox. Our grain corn isn’t even close to ready – those traditional names come from Colonial adaptations of New England tribal lore.
Someone on the Internet has been collecting moon names and other tribal seasonal wisdom from all over, but doesn’t mention the Utes and Paiutes from our region The Hopi live at our altitude, and according to the chart, it’s the “Month of Full Harvest” or “Month of Plenty,” which sounds about right.
The irrigation schedule ended this week, which means we have begun the shoulder season where we are less stressed about water. The hay farmers mostly have their last cutting in, or are about to get it done, so their demands aren’t as high. And the lower temperatures mean the trees demand less. On the other hand, we have to negotiate with the other users on our sub-ditch to decide who goes next. The sociology of that process could generate more than one PhD. dissertation, but everything is well watered. So far, no fist fights that I have heard of.
Lots of travel this week: R went to SLC for a couple nights to look in on some science, then came home to tend the place while I went to Phoenix to visit family. Transitions like that suck up a lot of time. We didn’t realize just how much until we stopped doing them every week, but the planning and organizing the hand-off takes energy that doesn’t go into more productive projects. It was worth it to see my mom and sister, even if it was 106 degrees.
Husbandry and gardening: The tomatoes were still flowering, which is pointless this late in the season, so I gave a bunch of them a good pruning. The message to the plants is “focus” and get to ripening. I turned the compost pile and incorporated the tomato pruning, While I was gone, R built a raised bed in the hoophouse and finished upgrading the hoop shed we use for hay. He also trapped skunk number 6, and kept alive the transplants I am holding for the hoop house garden once we get the compost mix to fill the new bed.
Food, harvest and preserving: We are still harvesting green and wax beans every three days. the scarlet runner beans are making a small contribution to the freezer as well. With me texting instructions from Phoenix, R made his first batch of fermented cucumber pickles. We made our first batch of dehydrated cherry tomatoes for the pantry. I blanched and froze artichoke hearts, since a whole bunch of artichokes flowered all at once.
Finances: We managed between us to make two trips to Salt Lake and stay out of Costco, which was a huge budget win. The big Costco trip is coming up in a couple of weeks.
Other projects: Like much of America last week, I was watching the news about Hurricanes Harvey and Irma pretty closely. Having lived for six years in Houston, the damage to peoples’ lives hit close to home. If there is any lesson to be drawn from these storms for the rest of us, it is to think about our own preparedness and resilience. Our risks here are more along the lines of winter storms and earthquakes, but the same general steps apply and now is always a good time to check in on what we shore up. Note to self: schedule the chimney cleaning and order in more dog food.
Community: Family was my top priority last week. R cooked dinner for a friend from SLC who dropped by while I was gone and camped out in our yard. The dogs had not seen a tent before and apparently had a lot to say about it.
Creativity and recreation: I smashed one of my fretting fingers between some concrete blocks. So my mandolin instructor has me working on picking and strumming with the metronome.
Next week: Tomatoes! Eventually, they will ripen and then they will be put into jars. We eventually will get around to taking honey from the bees.
Seasonal observations: You can just about see summer end on last week’s graph of our weather station. The last of the really hot weather came over Labor Day weekend, and the temperatures started ramping down from there. Our geese still have some vestiges of instinct telling them to flock up and attempt to fly; they are bred to be so heavy the running and flapping doesn’t have much purpose, but they try. This year’s turkey poults are almost the same size as the female hens and getting fat on grasshoppers. The hops vine is loaded with flowers—luckily I have the Internet so I can figure out how to harvest them. Even the sunflowers are starting to drop their petals and go to seed. It is indeed a time of plenty.