As winter continues its journey, dreams of the upcoming garden season are quickly becoming reality. Jardin seeds collected throughout the previous growing season are catalogued and set aside, ready for planting as the temperatures begin their steady rise. New seed varieties to be tried in this year’s garden are ordered and are beginning to arrive in the post. Winter has been mild and kind, and we anticipate finalizing garden plans and the work preparing and amending the raised beds. By late February the beds will be turned and the early crops of peas, kale, lettuce, and spinach will be direct sown with beets, cabbage, leeks, radishes, and turnips to follow quickly behind if the temperatures remain constant.
On Saturday, February 25, 10 – 4 PM, come and visit our jardin potager at historic Fort de Chartres. Join in our historic journey and watch us begin the annual work of gardening in the Illinois Country. Volunteers as habitants, prepare kitchen garden beds with reproduction tools and plant heirloom seeds of vegetables, herbs, and flowers, all heirloom varieties that might have been grown in Upper Louisiana. We celebrate the approach of spring with the age old activities that bring the promise of future harvests of the spring, summer, and fall seasons.
Thank you once again to Silvertree Forge, Jas. Adams, Proprietor, for offering to replace the wooden handles of newly donated period garden hoes and pitch fork. (Thank you, Shawna Kadlec, for the donation!) Mr. Adams has been kind enough to create our most excellent reproduction primitive garden tools used in our heritage garden. If interested in participating or for more information about period garden tools, please visit the Participer page of our garden blog.
Fall Sunset through the Ghostings
Wednesday, 23 November
50 Degrees F
Mist and Clouds, Slight Wind WNW
Time, like the cool wind and rains moving along the valley, marks the swift change from autumn to winter. The jardin has fallen into a slumber, with the final harvest of this past season’s bounty to take place this weekend. In honor of Martinmas and fall feasting celebrations, our humble contingent of la Milice de Ste. Genevieve will be in residence at Fort de Chartres, recreating the experiences of the colonists of the Illinois Country in the 18th century. The Martinmas (St. Martin’s Day) celebration originated in France in the 16th century and spread throughout Europe.
Fall Jardin Potager
Traditionally this holiday marks the end of harvest time, accompanying winter preparations, and the final planting of winter wheat. Feasting and bonfires combine with hiring fairs, as workers look to the end of autumn and the natural beginning of winter. Work moves indoors as the winter sits on the doorstep.
Beginning on Friday afternoon, November 25th, a grouping of some four to six families from the Milice will be in residence at the Fort through the holiday weekend. We will be enjoying a brief sojourn within the comfort and security of the Fort. The stone bake oven and a large hearth will be used throughout the weekend to provide meals and baked goods, while the inhabitants engage in a number of out-door activities including some informal shooting contests.
Turkey Roasting on Hearth
Milice and Schuetzen Target
Traditional regional and 18th century recipes will be prepared throughout our stay and I have posted a few on the Recettes page, with more to follow. The remaining bounty of leeks, lettuces, radishes, turnips, and winter squash in the garden are yet able to provide sustenance and decoration for our comfort throughout the weekend. Regardless of the weather, one can glimpse life in 18th century Upper Louisiana. Visit with us as we celebrate the bounty and blessings of the past season.