Swoope Almanac October 2012 – Figs, Cab Sav, Blue Cheese, and Sunsets
Figs and Great Wine
For the first time in my life, we harvested figs… which means we either got lucky or the planet is warming. We sliced the figs in half and ate them fresh with a dab of creamy blue cheese while sipping a full-bodied, peppery Cabernet Sauvignon. Pair that with a burnt-orange sunset over the Allegheny Mountains with trees starting to put on their kaleidoscope of fall color and you have a classic fall afternoon in Swoope – welcome to Meadowview.
We put the vegetable garden to bed except for a few remaining pepper plants and a couple of tomato plants we have high hopes for. A thick blanket of Crimson Clover now covers the rich soil to protect it from the erosive forces of falling raindrops. It’s also a stimulus package for the microbes.
Warbler Wave at the River
At the river, I witnessed a “Warbler Wave.” That’s when a bunch of these small birds passes through on their way to Central and South America. My students planted some “thickets” of Indigo bush and alder a couple of years ago and wouldn’t you know it, that’s where the long distance travelers were: Nashville and Palm Warblers. Common Yellowthroats, a Cardinal, a Carolina Wren and some Song Sparrows joined them.
A Bald Eagle flew overhead.
Fall asters, boneset, marsh marigolds, jewelweed and grand lobelia are blooming in the wildlife corridors we established along the small streams. More trees have come up on their own than the ones we planted. Catalpa, Green Ash, Black Walnut, Red Maple, and Sycamores are the native ones that we don’t have to plant. I noticed the leaves on one of the Catalpas were being eaten by something. I got close and turned a leaf over – Catalpa worms! There must be a thousand of them on this one tree. These are the ones they use for fish bait down South. I think I’ll gather a bunch and feed them to the chickens.
We now wait for the White Crowned Sparrows that will arrive with the frost in the coming days. The frost will make the tall fescue in the pastures very palatable for the cattle. The calves are looking really good. They should average out at least six hundred pounds when we sell them in December; they gained all that weight on good pasture, momma’s milk and my wife’s patient and ever – watchful care.
Smoke will be going up the chimney soon. The violent windstorm in June left us with plenty of seasoned firewood to keep us warm all winter.