As I sit here in my living room watching sun stream through the gaps in the remaining leaves, I am glad I decided to take a rain day today. It was sprinkling enough this morning to prevent us from embarking on inventory tasks and we were having internet issues at the farm. Both internet speed and inspiration seemed more available at home, so here I am. Of course, home is a never ending source of work, especially this time of year.
In the pictures above, you see a minute portion of our apple harvest. We picked about 4.5 grocery boxes full. I scrubbed roughly four boxes worth and we juiced three of those boxes for hard cider. Last night I cooked down a kettle full of peeled slices into spiced applesauce. This afternoon and evening I will probably get started on dehydrating some chips. A friend was good enough to take the half box I didn't wash. I don't even want to think about what's left on the trees. Don't get me wrong. I am extremely grateful for this bountiful harvest. I'm just feeling a little out numbered. The end is in sight, however! Then we'll be able to focus all of our attention on...raking.
Am I excited about all of that raking? Well, not totally. However, it's a great source of exercise. The COVID lifestyle of the last couple years packed me with a bit of extra insulation. I have shed most of it now, just in time for football parties and holiday bashes. Therefore, I am focusing on getting as much fresh air and exercise as possible while it's pleasant to do so. We'll see if raking becomes possible later today. So far we've had rain, sun and gusty winds. If that ain't Minnesota, I don't know what is.
The more I sit here contemplating what to say next, the harder it is to focus. There are so many tasks left to do outdoors before winter arrives. Houseplants that have been basking the summer away have to be brushed off and brought inside. Herbs and tomatoes are waiting to be picked and I think we'll even get a couple more zucchinis. I guess that means I'll probably be baking more bread. Not sure when I'll get that done. Some of our excessively abundant leaf litter has to be bagged and placed around my blueberry pots for protection. Bird nets need to be removed and tree wraps need to be put in place. The branches that I should have excised in July or August are still hitting the roof. Aye! I must admit I'm feeling the crunch. I just thought of something else. All of my butterfly weeds, Joe Pyes and Asters have gone to seed and I should really collect that seed and share it with some friends before our home is consumed by prairie...not that that would be so bad. Sounds like less raking!
All of this said, I think I will have a little lunch and move on to my next social marketing task. Once that's complete I'm sure the apples or leaves will command my attention. While I whine a bit about the tasks at hand, I still find time to pick my flowers and take my hikes. All the while, I am surrounded by beautiful plants. They are sources of inspiration, motivation and frustration; but I wouldn't have them any other way.
My name is Connie Kratzke. I have worked with Kahnke Brothers for 16 years. During this period, I have done everything from watering the plants to designing our website. My role at the nursery involves selling stock, managing inventory, marketing plants and overseeing the production of shrubs and perennials. Sometimes I sit at a desk and other times I can be found in a Bobcat. During my career here, I have become a MNLA Certified Professional. I am also an at large member of the Minnesota Grown Promotion Group/Minnesota Grown Advisory Committee. Currently, I serve as City Arborist for Silver Lake, Minnesota, and a member of their planning commission. My focus is on helping our clients succeed with their landscaping efforts. Education is a huge factor influencing that success. Keeping it real is my strategy. Through sharing my experiences at the nursery and at home, I hope to debunk myths and eliminate concerns. At the same time, I want people to be aware of what doesn't work. Living things are somewhat unpredictable, but they all have basic needs. Understanding how to fill those needs while simultaneously achieving landscape goals is a process that I want to share with as many people as possible, because I truly enjoy it.