Friday, October 22, 2010

While the cat's away

In my case, mice the size of elephants might just be playing.

As Heiko, over at Path to Self Sufficiency has noted, I'm not home. I haven't been home for a long, long time. That's part of why I've been out of touch too. I bored my family by pressing my nose against train windows, saying, "Looook, look at the kale, look at the gardens!" Fortunately I was able to walk through a cousin's garden, and Ellie was able to actually pick up a hoe and work. I satisfied myself with surreptitious weeding.

Even without being home, I have had good help left back at home -- Esperanza's sister has been keeping the lid on at chez Stefani for me, and Denise's partner Kevin actually visited and sent me pictures of what's shaking in the garden. I've been a little surprised at the longings I felt for that small yard, and I'm looking forward to discovering in person the story these pictures are telling. One other nice thing was an article that was interviewed for at the height of the summer -- when Eric found it, I got to remember that there was a time when I was deeply involved in it and would be again.

Same mess waits in the wheelbarrow. I didn't get everything cleaned up before heading out:

It looks to me as though I might get to overwinter some peppers after all.

The tomatoes look actually a little bit frightening. Maybe there will be more left than I expected.

The giant squash has run on unimpeded

And these beans? I don't know what's up with that.

Looks like the squirrels have continued to ignore the sunflowers. Wonder if any of them are fat enough to eat inside?

Heiko and Susan shared their chestnuts with us, and even opened and shared a fresh pine kernel. Eric was good enough to serve as my honey importer, so I had more to share as I visited with various people all over.

Speaking of honey, one of the first things, relatively speaking, that I'll need to do is to harvest honey. A beekeeping friend managed my hives for me while I was gone, and he reported that only two hives had active queens, so he combined them for me. That's terrific; I wanted to go into the winter with only two hives. On the other hand, he also reported nine full boxes of honey. At approximately 30 pounds (a little over 13 kilos) of honey, that's going to be a day and a half of work, easily.

Oh well, one of the things that being a tourist keeps reminding me is of the value of Something To Do. Just one of the lessons learned, I suppose.