The events hosted by the Venersborg Community Club at their 100 year old school house are definitely planned by kindred spirits. Seed exchanges, wreath making parties, Sweethearts' Dances, Homestead Days...Next up is Apple Fest this Sunday, October 23. I'll be there cutting (and sampling) some of the more than 200 (!) heirloom varieties.
I was lucky enough to be invited to demonstrate soap making at their recent Homestead Day. It was an opportunity for folks to share some of the skills that would have been vital to the community when the schoolhouse was built a century ago. I had a chance to learn a little about spinning and wool, ogle Brenda's Heirloom Hens and the beautiful quilts made by the lady set up next to me in between demos, but missed so much more like the pickling demonstration.
Oh, I also got a lesson from Jacqueline Freeman of Friendly Haven Farm on how to make real whitewash for the chicken coop. Jason got a chance to ask questions about the finer points of goat keeping, check out the school house's old school construction, and take some of his panoramas. Bea made delicious strawberry jam with other children and helped to ring the school bell! There was a nice article and photo gallery in the Columbian about the day.
Our container garden is fruiting like crazy! The 15 or so tomato plants are heavy with green fruit, but when oh when will they ripen? We purchased all our seedlings at the Urban Farm Store this year. They had a lovely variety of heirlooms and others that struck our fancy. We went heavy on the dark purple and paste varieties. The sweet and hot peppers are profuse, as are tomatillas.
The ever bearing strawberries are still putting fruit in our morning yogurt. My favorites are the mingnonettes. I would like to quadruple our supply for next year. We have half a dozen corn stalks in a maybe 40 gallon container with the pumpkin vines. They are all very happy. I'm pleased as punch that the corn is doing so well. It was really an afterthought.
I've been picking all the cucumbers at 1-2 inches and picking them as cornichons. Yum! I think we'll head out to Sauvie Island Farms later this week for real pickling cukes, more beans to dilly, and whatever else we can find. Bea and I spent some very satisfying days there last year.
Finally, all three chickens are all laying. First off was Heena, a Rhode Island Red. What an exciting day that was! We knew it must be her. She left clues of reddish brown feathers near her brown eggs. Sally Henny Penny, the Plymouth Rock Barred, is, I think, our favorite chicken. I just love to watch her feathery bottom waddle around the yard. She also seems to be the gal most affected by her new bodily function. She started sneaking into the house and climbing up into bushes to peek in the windows a few days prior to her first egg. Last but not least, Hammock, an Araucana, took her sweet time, but now supplies the prettiest blue eggs. They have all become a bit more friendly, especially with Bea. She's become quite the expert poultry wrangler. And, my gosh, have they all gotten LOUD! Bea has an idea that they all need husbands now.