This time of year when the air gets a little more brisk and things begin to change colors is absolutely my most favorite time of year. Not because of the boots, sweaters and pumpkin spice everything but because I begin to feel more at peace and comfortable in my own skin. The gladiolus’ are in full bloom and everything around me is vibrant and crisp. Waking up early and popping out of bed with a chill to quickly leap into a hot shower is the best way to start ones day. I try to have all the morning chores completed right as the day begins to break. Working in the yard doesn’t seem as difficult when the temperatures stay comfortable. As you work your body begins to stay warm in the labor alone. As the sun begins to rest its head on the hills, you can feel your body begin to get tired and ready to rest as well. When I blow out the last candle that licked the walls with light and curl up in the evening within my ever inviting bed I can not help but drop all of my worries and relax. This is the time of year where I am allowed to wind down and really dive mentally into what the next year will bring.
One of the simple tasks I take on during this time of year is collecting seed heads from my flower beds. Since annual flowers will not return on their own I collect the seeds now, they have already dried on the stem and are ripe for the picking. I collected several wild flower seeds, bachelor buttons, blanket flower and some of the oriental poppy seed heads. This process of collection will save me money in the long run and is a great way to be sufficient. I also began collecting my black oil sunflower seeds as they had dried on the flower and were ready. These seeds are an excellent source of nutrients for the chickens, rabbits and horse in the winter. Saving black oil sunflower seeds is a nice financial help as most places easily want $15-20 per 5-10 lb. bag.
The flower heads can be fed directly to the chickens or I can shake the seeds loose. I tend to shake half the seeds for the horse and rabbits and the other seeds are left on the flower for the chickens to enjoy.
It was also time to cut and harvest some of my lemon grass. This has been a very enjoyable annual to have on the homestead this year. I love the fragrant grass and the flavor is absolutely incredible. The rabbits also have enjoyed munching on the stalks when offered. And the bees are always clustered near the planters that I have the lemongrass planted within. I think next year I will definitely want to try and incorporate this tasty treat into my garden again. I am doing a little research on how to preserve the stalks for tea and also how to extract the oil from within for use in future beeswax candles as it is a very pungent oil.