While every month is special, September can be a stand out. Some of my favorite people are born in September, the autumnal equinox, humidity tends to drop, and we have some really beautiful days on the farm. In fact, work just gets in the way of things I want to do. πŸ˜‚

Kind of a long post but a lot has been going on the last few weeks.

I won a major award at the South Carolina Koi and Goldfish Show! Pond builder and I entered four koi in the show this weekend. I was thrilled that the kujaku won Reserve Grand Champion B. This koi is about 30″ and is from the Omosako koi farm, Hiroshima. I purchased her through Genkikoi and she arrived in the United States at the start of COVID (March 2020). This is the second time I have shown her. Last year she was awarded Mature Champion B at a different koi show.

Benching the koi…measure, photograph, accept into the show. The gentleman doing the measuring (green shirt) has a beautiful kujaku that is a show stopper. He did not bring it this weekend, but at a koi show this past spring, you always knew when spectators were at the tank with his very large kujaku – loud gasps, OMGs and kids squealing.

This koi show is nice because it’s inside an activity center. Temperature and weather are never a problem for this show.

While it’s fun to hang around the koi show chatting with the koi family, I’m always up for a few field trips in the local area.

I have a friend from high school who volunteers in the Greenville, SC area with community gardeners. The volunteers create garden spaces to grow food and share with the community. Since I’m really interested in subsistence farming and learning how to garden better in the southeast, she kindly took me around one afternoon.

Field Trip 1: Blue Oak Horticulture You may know that I have not been too successful with my personal greenhouse the last two winters. This farm has a fabulous passive solar greenhouse . One of the owners, Ryan Merck, CCOF senior farm certification specialist, spent some time with us talking about the greenhouse, plants, chickens, and answered a lot of questions. While I took notes on a lot of neat things to know – I’m really inspired to do better with pest management next year on the farm. Taking the time to study pest life cycles and applying the appropriate management strategy will be part of my winter reading. I was also reminded to think about scheduling tasks and putting them into the calendar so you don’t forget. Plants can be purchased here and I came back with some leeks and four different types of blueberries for my blueberry patch.

Field Trip 2: home of another community gardener The food garden had assorted fruit trees, berries, volunteer squash plants, cucamelon, and a really nice stand of eight different fig trees. I’m learning that having multiple varieties of trees and perennial shrubs assures you of something bearing fruit each year. The cucamelons were adorable. Also known as mouse melons, they look like miniature watermelons and taste like cucumbers with some zing. The property also has a park like area composed of water features, specialty trees, and a natural koi pond. The former owner must have spent years creating this amazing spot.

Field Trip 3: McLean Maple Farm. The next day I went with friends out to a maple tree farm while the koi were being judged. My friends are members of the Charlotte Koi Club and have a gorgeous backyard filled with numerous japanese maples and a koi pond. Who wouldn’t want another japanese maple for their yard? The farm is on six acres and there was a large selection of maples. The farm owners have many maples planted in the ground so that buyers can visualize what the tree might look like in their own yard. In the center of the farm is a meditative space filled with interesting maples and a little koi pond. I came home with a new maple, variety Orangeola – heat tolerant and has some amazing orange color leaves in the spring, red in the fall.

Other koi events in September included our local Charlotte Koi Club meeting at a member’s home…

…and a quick visit to the ZNA Potomac Koi Show, early September in Vienna, Virginia. There were a lot of koi shows around the United States this September.

New farm projects are always happening. Fall does bring a lot of gardening tasks – lots of transplanting and cleaning up for winter.

We have five new peach trees to plant in front of our house, need to find a spot for the hazelnut bushes, create a larger blueberry patch and find a spot for the new maple. I have these temporarily arranged in the hopes of discouraging the chickens from walking into the breezeway. The chickens ignore my barrier.
Last year’s ramp box was a failure. This year I have moved the box into the woods, covered with leaves and planted both seeds and bulbs. Crossing my fingers that next March/April I will be able to harvest a few!
The tea garden has moved for the third (and hopefully last) time. We have put in a few more raised beds on the south side of the house for vegetables with shorter roots.
I have been busy collecting black walnuts that are falling all over the place. It’s messy work to process them but black walnuts have more antioxidants than regular English walnuts and some people claim they are tastier. Falling black walnuts season is for a few more weeks.
we’ve added fermentation experiments to farm living…

The pond builder has been busy collecting extra hay, chopping down trees, making new steps up to the pond area, brush mowing, moving a lot of bags of dirt and mulch for me…he sleeps well at night. I might have some progress photos of the little log cabin he’s going to build next post.