It's hard to believe that summer is over already, especially since the temperatures have been so unseasonably warm here in Iowa, but there are signs everywhere that Fall has arrived. I really love this time of year.
I would love to have the windows open to soak up some of the last warm days, but as harvest is winding down, we have had to close the windows while our neighbors finish bringing the crops in to avoid having 3 inches of corn, soybean and gravel dust covering every surface in the house.
There are still some splashes of color trying to hold on.
My mums went a little over-the-top this year.
The Straw Flowers are still blooming. I will be cutting a bunch of these for dried flower arrangements.
The Giant Amish Cockscomb is still vibrant...emphasis on "Giant"-some of these blooms are 10-12 inches across. I like to grow them because they are one of my daughter's favorites...she thinks they look like brains....I would tend to agree.
I was able to salvage a few good pumpkins out of my garden-o-weeds. Most of them are adorning the porch right now, but one by one they are being fed to the sheep and chickens.
The sheep and chickens absolutely LOVE pumpkins, and they are so good for them. As an added bonus, raw pumpkin seeds are thought to contain natural dewormer.
Something else that I found in my weedy garden was this Praying Mantis egg case, I always get a kick out of finding unexpected things around the farm. This case could hold as many as 400 eggs, they will hatch out in the spring and become great natural pest control for my garden.......now if only I could get them to eat weeds....
I also found the former home of a Garter Snake. This guy has moved on to bigger and better things...or at least a bigger and better skin.
There are other signs of fall.
There are some things that go along with the season I don't like.....really don't like, REALLY REALLY don't like-like the expense.
We got our propane tank filled last week.....
I hate to see this guy coming. We have a thousand gallon propane tank to fill, and with propane at $1.37 a gallon...YIKES! Hopefully this will get us through most of the winter. Normally we end up adding a few more gallons around February/March just to get us by until it warms up.
The other big expense is hay. I am lucky enough to have some wonderful neighbors that grow beautiful hay at reasonable prices, I got this gorgeous 4th cutting alfalfa for the ridiculously low price of $3 a bale...unfortunately I was only able to get about 70 bales of this stuff. Most of the hay this year is running around $4 a bale or more. This pure alfalfa is too rich for the sheep and horses fed as is-they would be as fat as hippopotamuses, but I will mix it with some nice (mostly grass) hay that I am getting from my cousin and it will be yummy deliciousness for the critters.
As much as I hate the aforementioned expenses, there is no better feeling than knowing that the barn is full of hay and the animals will be taken care of over the coming winter.
"Why can't we eat all that pretty hay? I promise we won't get fat like a hippowhateveryousaid."