The Last Harvest – Pickles, Pellets, Hay and Cooler Days

Sep 29 2019
My posts may include affiliate links Click here to read my full Disclosure Policy

The last harvest. September for us Minnesotans is about winding down and truly preparing ourselves for winter. Most of my family and friends think I hate winter. But that’s not exactly the case, I just really LOVE summer! And after shoveling snow for six months last winter I can honestly say that I did not look forward to September this year at all. Nor did I look forward to filling my closets with pellets for my stove. Or filling my horse shed with hay. Or harvesting the last of my garden.

My loathing of fall this year is based on the fact that we did not get a fall last year. This time last year I was already shoveling snow (No kidding!) and October it did nothing but sleet and snow before finally just snowing all November and December in 2018.

Fortunately, so far, its been a pretty decent (albeit cool) fall.

Regardless of how I loathed seeing summer leave us this year though I will admit that I AM TIRED.

I may not look forward to winter but my body surely does. After the last harvest I find myself day dreaming about quiet, shorter days by my pellet stove watching the snow fall outside. One thing about winter: There is less to do.

I finished everything on my Summer To-Do List! But compared to last summer my to do list was doable. It was incredible to have a vegetable garden as I didn’t have time to garden last year. My new raised beds were SO AWESOME – I didn’t have to weed at all! And my new “irrigation” that I made was so dang convenient and worked great.

I, for real, ate fresh produce almost every day for nearly three months. And I still had enough cucumbers and beans to make thirty quarts of refrigerator dill pickles, fifteen quarts of dilly beans and ten quarts of bread and butter pickles! (definitely will be planting less cucumbers next year omg.)

I literally just joked that this is the very first year EVER IN MY LIFE that I am looking forward to the first frost to just kill my garden lol!! I am sick of making pickles! But I know in just a few months, when its been winter forever I will be day dreaming about these glorious days when my kitchen was hot, all the doors were open and everything smelled like dill.

Saying goodbye to summer, embracing cooler days, harvest, pickle, harvesting the last of my garden and preparing for winter with hay and pelletsSaying goodbye to summer, embracing cooler days, harvest, pickle, harvesting the last of my garden and preparing for winter with hay and pelletsSaying goodbye to summer, embracing cooler days, harvest, pickle, harvesting the last of my garden and preparing for winter with hay and pelletsOld Rusty Bird Feeder Given new Life with Paint with a stand alone base gets a new location and a makeover in red and white paint in my flower gardenSaying goodbye to summer, embracing cooler days, harvest, pickle, harvesting the last of my garden and preparing for winter with hay and pelletsSaying goodbye to summer, embracing cooler days, harvest, pickle, harvesting the last of my garden and preparing for winter with hay and pelletsSaying goodbye to summer, embracing cooler days, harvest, pickle, harvesting the last of my garden and preparing for winter with hay and pelletsSaying goodbye to summer, embracing cooler days, harvest, pickle, harvesting the last of my garden and preparing for winter with hay and pelletsSaying goodbye to summer, embracing cooler days, harvest, pickle, harvesting the last of my garden and preparing for winter with hay and pellets

I’m totally pulling a Grandma and giving pickles out as gifts to my big family this year over the holidays. Its what she would have wanted 🙂

I made my first batch of pickles with my mom in late July. We harvested, we cleaned, we chopped and we filled ten quart jars and set them out to do their thing.

My Mom said: 40 years ago I did this with my Mother!

Sharing the experience with my mom as she had also shared it with her mom – in the same home, the same room, in the kitchen my mom helped me make out of her mother’s own kitchen

And also the experience of planting, growing, tending and preserving my own produce… It is just SO COOL!!!

I developed my refrigerator dill pickle recipe from The Creekside Cook’s Refrigerator Garlic Dill Pickles.

She is AMAZING.

The change I made to her recipe was the addition of two things: 1/2 a cup of sugar to the brine and a tablespoon of pickling spice to each jar.

The addition of the pickling spice was one she added to her own Jalapeno Garlic Dill refrigerator pickle recipe that I tried some years ago and it added so much flavor I swore I’d never make pickles without it again.

And I added the sugar to the brine because I really “like” dill pickles but not like really “like love” dill pickles… ya know?

I also made her Bread and Butter Refrigerator pickle recipe and they were really good too but I do plan on making a couple of changes there for next year. I also made Dilly Beans that weren’t bad but I’m definitely going to do some more tweaking before I have a recipe I totally LOVE.

Both inside my home and outside smells like harvest. Inside is the combination of dill and the unique wood shop smell of oil and saw dust from the 120 bags of pellets I’m storing for this winter.

Outside is the heady aroma of the last cut of alfalfa from the fields around me and the wood smoke from my neighbors chasing away the chilly nights by starting their wood stoves and fire places.

I am becoming reacquainted with my home again after neglecting it since June. I finally had to shut my windows and add another blanket to my bed.

More time inside meant I also gave my home the deep clean it badly needed. My workshop was a disaster so I tackled and organized it; finally putting tools away that I had needed so often this summer that they had become permanent fixtures on my dining room table.

My hummingbird feeders are tucked away until next spring and my big bird bath (my chipmunk watering hole) I replaced with a pet bowl that I can plug in. So, for the first winter ever, I will finally be able to offer my birds and critters fresh water all year!

I replaced my old suet cages with bigger ones that include roofs to help the suet last longer. I also added a songbird feeder so my little birds might actually have a chance of getting a seed or two from the chipmunks for a change.

I remembered an old feeder out by the little house that I’d been planning to bring over to my yard for YEARS. So I did just that! I think it was a good addition to my Grandma’s old flower bed by the garage. Post coming up soon on how I updated it!

Saying goodbye to summer, embracing cooler days, harvest, pickle, harvesting the last of my garden and preparing for winter with hay and pelletsSaying goodbye to summer, embracing cooler days, harvest, pickle, harvesting the last of my garden and preparing for winter with hay and pelletsSaying goodbye to summer, embracing cooler days, harvest, pickle, harvesting the last of my garden and preparing for winter with hay and pelletsSaying goodbye to summer, embracing cooler days, harvest, pickle, harvesting the last of my garden and preparing for winter with hay and pelletsSaying goodbye to summer, embracing cooler days, harvest, pickle, harvesting the last of my garden and preparing for winter with hay and pelletsSaying goodbye to summer, embracing cooler days, harvest, pickle, harvesting the last of my garden and preparing for winter with hay and pellets

This was one of the best summers I have ever had.

After the divorce last summer I partied HARD. I loved it. I worked my absolute butt off. I danced in my freedom and yes I HOWLED at the moon! It was the first summer since adulthood that I felt like I lived it to the fullest. I totally exhausted myself!

Last summer was so packed its all just one big crazy blur. This summer I may remember most for my quiet evenings after work with a glass of wine and a book outside on my deck.

Something I NEVER thought I would do after my divorce was pass up an opportunity to go on a camping “vacation” with friends. My ex would never have allowed it so I said yes to everything last year… But I said no this year.

As far as “adulting” goes it was the right decision not just financially but in a lot of ways. I had work to do here at home that was more important. And one of those very important things was simply being able to choose whatever it was I wanted to do for me and, yes, that included doing absolutely nothing.

It also included being spontaneous. I had bonfires that I danced til dawn around, I danced for hours in my kitchen, saw two live bands, hit a bull bash and a mud run!

After I decided to just play hooky that whole five days I took off I couldn’t believe how excited I was! People would ask me, do you have any plans? And my answer of, “None at all really!” Was the coolest thing in the whole dang world!

Waking up every day the whole vacation in my own bed and surrounded by my own peaceful home, it was priceless.

Maybe this is part of growing up?

Having this place means pretty much everything to me. Every day this summer coming home from work, feeding my horses, my critters and my birds, watering my flowers, having dinner in my garden and just puttering around.

Taking care of this place because it takes such good care of me…

It is HEAVEN.

Saying goodbye to summer, embracing cooler days, harvest, pickle, harvesting the last of my garden and preparing for winter with hay and pellets

Hi guys :) Thank you so much for coming by and reading my posts! You might also like my Weekly DIY newsletter so you don't miss anything! Just type in your email to sign up!

14 Comments

  1. erika
    September 29, 2019 at 11:14 am

    Oh my gosh, it sounds like you finished up a “perfect” summer. I am so glad you’re in your “happy place”. You deserve it!

    • September 30, 2019 at 8:09 am

      Thank you so much Erika!

  2. September 29, 2019 at 11:31 am

    Your garden looks great! Cold here, having our first frost and Montana getting blizzards!

    • September 30, 2019 at 8:10 am

      Hi Nancy, yep we just got hit by our first frost this weekend actually, looks like fall is official!

  3. September 29, 2019 at 3:27 pm

    Hi Tarah – my hubs just told me they have s.n.o.w. in Montana… fingers crossed it stays away from you in Minnesota for a few weeks yet. Lovely to hear how much you’ve enjoyed the summer, so now it’s time to enjoy the fall and winter too. Loved the pic of your shoes and the beer – feet up! hurray!!

    • September 30, 2019 at 8:25 am

      Thanks Susan! Yep I have family in Montana that are not happy lol they just got record breaking snow falls. We’ll see the cold when it gets here from that way but fortunately it looks like we’re gonna avoid the snow!

  4. September 29, 2019 at 4:10 pm

    Tarah, it sounds like you have finally overcome some of the toughest times one can go through, put your home in your kind of order and have managed to get to a point where you can take care of you and “YOUR” home. I am so glad the blessings have been many for you over the summer and especially recreating memories in Grandma’s house, now yours, with your mom this summer putting up pickles. Congratulations on a job well done on accomplishing your summer goals…I so enjoy reading your blog, you reminder me of my daughter. Have a blessed and peaceful winter reading in front of the fire with your feet kicked up and sipping your wine or hot cocoa!
    Jane

    • September 30, 2019 at 9:20 am

      Thank you SO much Jane! I hope you have a wonderful fall and winter as well!

  5. September 29, 2019 at 8:40 pm

    What a fun post—living LIFE is good! Like you we had way too many cucumbers this year, too many zucchini, but the upside we won’t starve and we have lots of jars and freezer bags to perk up winter meals. Congrats on finishing your list—our rain here in N.Illinois pretty much slowed stuff down, hoping we can get the yard/garden done before snow. Great post, made me smile—memories of canning with my mom!

    • September 30, 2019 at 9:21 am

      Hi Sandi, I hear ya about the rain, we got record rain falls over the last month and a half. It was just SO weird for this time of year in northern MN. I had some outdoor work I had to get done and it just took me FOREVER because of all the darned rain! Thanks so much for coming by!

  6. Barbara
    September 30, 2019 at 9:00 am

    Just love reading your posts. If I were a lot younger and lived a lot farther north would love a life like yours has become. You Go Girl!!!!

  7. LINDA MARTIN
    September 30, 2019 at 10:07 am

    Congrats on all you’ve accomplished this year GF! 😆
    Still in the 90’s here in southern Arizona thankfully. I HATE winter personally. 😣 Enjoy your Fall weather while it lasts. 😉

    • September 30, 2019 at 10:24 am

      Thanks so much Linda! I am VERY jealous I’m already really missing summer lol

Leave a Comment

Disclaimer

Everything you see here on this blog the author has chosen to do so entirely at her own risk. And that is: risk to herself and risk to whatever she may be working on/her home and her own wallet. The author assumes absolutely no liability if you choose to follow in her foot steps and attempt anything you see on this website yourself. The author strongly urges you to do your due dilligence before attempting anything of a diy nature at home.

Disclosure and Privacy Policy

This post may contain affiliate links and, if you do choose to use them it will cost you nothing, but you will be supporting my little farm as well as this blog and my future projects. Likewise for the banners and ads you see around this site. This site also collects Cookies:
For my Full Disclosure, click HERE
For my Privacy Policy, click HERE

Copyright Notice

All the photos and text on this blog are copyright Protected and owned by the author. If you would like to feature or use any of the photos or work you see here that is wonderful! You may share one photo from a post, if linked back to the original post. You may not copy entire articles and posts (even if you link back to me) without my express permission. Email requests using the contact form HERE