We had our first frost about a week ago, and suddenly everything looks very different. Leaves are dropping swiftly, and those sunflowers that were just opening now hang their heads. Autumn strikes quickly but not without mercy. We were gifted several dry, crystal clear days and sparkling nights. The warmth from the sun was just enough to lift the frosted dew from the grains, still standing in the field. With the help of our new horse Haukjon, we managed to bring in the barley, wheat and oats just before the weather turned. The peas which we grew with the oats (ringeriksert and jærert) had been hanging on racks to dry, and we got that in too.
From the garden we have harvested all the carrots which are now tucked away in wooden boxes in the cellar, along with the other root vegetables. We have brought all the onions into the kitchen to cure, as it’s far too cold to do that outside now. I’ve put them in wire baskets with the leaves hanging out, so they have plenty of air circulation. They seem to be drying really well. I’ve dug up all the leeks and moved them to the cellar, with their roots in just enough soil to keep them alive. They were smaller than I would have liked, but definately an improvement on last year. I’ve also planted some witloof chicory in there too. I’m hoping it will produce blanched leaves to give us something fresh during the winter. I sowed the seeds in early summer, and let them grow until after the first frost. Then I just dug them up and trimmed the leaves and planted them in the cellar. The kale seed has been brought in to dry, it was a great success! I tried chard too, and it flowered and grew and flowered and grew taller than me! But not a single seed. I think there must have been a problem with pollination, though i can’t figure out what. I decided to re-plant most of the garlic I grew this year. It actually filled an entire bed. Next year we will have an absolute abundance! (Fingers crossed). I’ve also planted tree onions, just for fun really because they’re so crazy! and wild garlic (ramsløk). Not long ago we were lucky enough to get some elk bones, from Dan’s uncle to make stock with. We sawed them up into smaller pieces (some of them were huge!) and boiled it up in an enormous iron pot. We kept it cooking for a whole day, and the next day we removed the bones and boiled it down to concentrate it. When it cools you get a layer of fat on the top, which we use for cooking, and the stock underneath is like jelly. I cut it into cubes and freeze it. I don’t think we have enough for a whole year, but at least we don’t have to buy it for a while!