Sunday, November 23, 2014

It's all about timing

Around 11:00, I took a walk outside to access the leaf/lawn situation.  I had it in the back of my mind that I could probably get the last of the leaves done and the mower stowed on Tuesday after the front moved through.  Wednesday for sure.

That was the plan....

Next thing you know, it's 2:30 and I'm just getting back in.  Seems last night's rain (.1") melted most of the snow while not softening up the soil too much.

So I wondered.... and I was off.  Yeah a totally different day than I planned.  No TV movies and braising something in the oven.  Nope.  I ended up sucking up more leaves, adjusting the leaf guard fence, hauling out a hefty load of kitchen compost and, finally, shut down the mower, stored it in the shed and took the battery down to the basement where it will 'float charge' until Spring.  *whew*  I'm pooped.

Thank goodness for the leaf fence.  The nabes have no luck getting things done in that regard, so a lot of leaves are still blowing around in their yard.  I just hope they stay there for the winter (and out of my garage!).

I came in, grabbed a cold drink and an ibuprofen and decided to put up a quick post.  As I was putting this together, I checked the radar.  O. M. G. !! 

I'm very glad I didn't know this was coming while I was working.  I'm sure I would have let some things go thinking I wouldn't have time to finish.

All I can say is - I'm glad I went with my gut today, instead of following the original game plan.  Looks like anybody east of the Mississippi is going to get really wet and really really windy until Tuesday when the temps tumble again.  Oh yay.  Hang tight, everyone.

Monday, November 17, 2014


Was about 4" when this photo taken earlier. Now measuring closer to 7". Heavy wet snow. Helluva day.

Late that day:  I don't know WHY I think I can still shovel snow.  This was probably a bad idea, but this heavy snow would freeze solid tonight and the next couple days since we will only get UP to the 20s.  If this freezes in place, I'm sure I'd have trouble getting the car out of the garage and around that tight turn onto the straight driveway.  But really.  I have to do something about this.  I'm too darn old and broken down and if I fell, nobody would even see me back here.  Foolish foolish me.  *sigh*

Thursday, November 13, 2014

A lovely day w/Mom

It's been a lovely birthday.  Low key.  A nice day with Mom (some needed shopping, coffee and treats), thoughtful cards and a much-appreciated set of mugs!   The colors will go nicely with my couple of Fiesta ware dishes. 

There is also a sweet pile of dark chocolate to boot.  Oh yum.

It is cold outside with some snow flurries.  I've made myself a delish gluten-free dinner (see Chef's page) and now I'm making a pot of tea.

All that and a good movie to watch tonight.  I feel so blessed that so many remembered 'my' day.  Thank you all. :-D

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Okay, Winter. Bring it on.

Anyone who knows me was pretty sure I was going to find outside stuff to do so as not to waste the last mild day for who-knows-when.  Yesterday was just above 60.  Today is is low 30s and we shouldn't get out of those for some time.

Anyway I took the opportunity to do a good clean-up in the sunroom.  Like the breezeway it gets a lot of traffic.  And this time of year lots of chiff and chaff gets tracked in.  It gets a bit -- untidy.  So while the sun was still in the east brightening up the room, I hauled out the vac and dusters and gave it a good clean.  There.  Probably won't get any use until next Spring as it is not insulated and can get below freezing in there.

The vac was all warmed up so I pulled the car out of the garage and had a go at it, too.  Thing is, I use my hatchback like a little truck, forever hauling garden equipment, plants, bags of this-n-that.  The real mess comes from hauling yardwaste to the county compost depot.  Oh my.  (Refer to previous post for a pic of the car full of crap.)

That kind of stuff gets everywhere and I don't seem to notice - until I pull out the carpets, empty the pockets and cubbyholes.  Wow.  If you sprinkled water in there, the car would sprout what with it's wealth of seeds, soil and compost.  I was so amazed at how much debris/dirt/dust had accumulated since last time I cleaned (oh, don't even ASK how long ago!) that I didn't even take before pics.  I mean, it was BAD.

Anyway, I gave it a good vac/dust.  It's not 100% clean, but at least I'm not ashamed to offer someone a lift this winter.  There's no new-car smell either.  It still smells like a bit of garden, but honestly, is that bad?  LOL

After that I got my teeth cleaned I came home and 'snuck' over to the nabe's and bagged up 5 loads of shredded leaves to fill in the bare spots in my beds I mentioned in the previous post.  I was glad.  THEY were glad. Haha.  Then I puttered about in the yard for a bit, tucking in corners, netting some deer-eaten spirea against further damage, but otherwise, just trying to quiet the urge to DO SOMETHING.  It's hard to wind down after going full bore for a month.  A thing in motion... *sigh*

I'll be posting more often on the sidebar pages now - especially some final plant/bed roundup, household stuff, and even the propagation page.  If you want access, click HERE for info on how to get an invite.

Well, since I haven't really calmed myself yet, I'm thinking it's time to give the 'fridge and freezer a good sort-out before the holidays.  May as well get stuff done before I wind down.  At least I know I can look outside and know that there are only the 2 sweet gums to draw me outside until all those leaves come down, but otherwise I'm ready for this cold early winter.

Tomorrow I'm looking forward when Mom and I will enjoy a nice lunch out for my birthday.  It's supposed to be very cold, windy and snowy.  Time to dig out the winter coats, etc.  Hope you are all caught up outside and ready to come inside for a while.  Keep warm. :-D

Monday, November 10, 2014

Something very very weird...

... this year.  I've just been browsing through my archives reviewing the past several Novembers.  In all of them, I was still working up leaves pretty near up to Thanksgiving (except LAST November when it started to snow - deeply! - on the 4th and later on too).

But here's the weird thing.  As of this afternoon - November 10th - I'm done with the leaves.  DONE!  Except for the sweet gum that is still holding on, I've mowed/bagged and mulched with all the leaves.  And you know what?


I'd mentioned to my neighbor week-10 days ago that didn't he think that the leaves are dropping early this year? Then, over the next week-10 days, I watched him mow his lawn, just shredding the leaves in the process and they sort of melted into the grass.

Last couple years he had to blow them into several huge piles for the big leaf vacuums to take away.  Not this year.

Happened to me too.  This year I decided not to rake/drag/whack any leaves.  I just mowed/bagged them up.  I dumped them right onto the beds.  And I only did it maybe 3 times.  Really.  Only 3 times.

Today the lawns are clear.  All the leaves have been used.  But for the first time in the 12 years I've been here, there are bare spots!

I have no new beds to mulch this year.  No trees have been removed.  And remember, I'm no longer mulching that monster ring bed anymore.  I used to do that and it took a ton of leaves!  Since I wasn't mulching that bed anymore, last year I had to build a big  bin for the leftover leaves.  (I used those leaves for mulch well into summer this year.)  Now that bin is empty.  The old asparagus bin is only half filled. The zin bin in front of the compost is empty.  And there weren't enough leaves for the bird bath bed either.

WHERE ARE ALL THE LEAVES?   And why have they dropped so quickly this year?  It's just crazy.

Oh I do appreciate getting everything done weeks earlier this year than ever before.  But it's so bizarre.  I can't EVER remember a year that I wasn't trying like crazy to get the outside stuff done before Thanksgiving.  But now - here I am - looking at the calendar and wondering what the heck happened? Today, when the leaves ran out, I even cut down a lot of perennial debris that I usually do in Spring.  I hauled it to the yard waste depot.  I loaded up the firewood racks in the garage.  And then - nothing.  It was all done.

Tomorrow is going to be another mild day - 60s.  Dry.  AND I HAVE NOTHING TO DO OUTSIDE!

But it's only the 10th!!  Oh sure, the rest of the year is forecasted to be pretty nasty - bitter cold, wind, barely above freezing starting on Wednesday.  So don't get me wrong, I'm grateful I don't have to be out in it (unless the snowblower comes into play).  But this early cleanup, lack of leaves and feeling out of sync with the season is messing with my mind.  It's like I'm actually somehow MISSING 2 weeks of November.  And I want it back!

How about where you are?  Noticing anything different about your Autumn?  Little signs?  Big signs?

As if this wasn't weird enough - while I was finishing up the front lawn today, the lady across the road who only last Fall called me crazy and the worst neighbor in the 'hood, pulled out of her driveway, caught my eye, smiled - and waved. Whaaa?

There's definitely a disturbance in the Force.  :-/

Friday, November 7, 2014

Except for leaves .... done!

It's been another long and busy week.  I've been so busy that I can't remember what I did which day.

The beginning of the week was mild, but horribly windy.  I hate working and fighting wind at the same time.  It makes me cranky.

But a ton was done.  We've had a couple of freezes so it was time to pull the last annuals, take down the planter boxes on the long bench.  I decided to put the deck bench, planters & potting mix bin with the other benches and netting poles right along the new length of privacy fence.  Glad I don't have to to shlep so much back to the shed this way.  Stuff will do just fine up close to the house.  Easier access for earlier setup in Spring!  (A tip: always put benches or anything else with wooden feet up on boards or pavers.  It will keep the feet drier and prolong the life of the item. Luckily I have a nice supply of red cedar boards for this.)

Just the opposite of Spring - is the Polar Vortex.  Yep.  Slipping down into the states over the next 5-7 days, just in time for my birthday.  Oh yippee.

This morning it's barely above freezing.  Since yesterday we've gotten about 1.25" of cold rain and threats of snow today.  Same tomorrow.  Brrr.   Monday looks like a break before more bad weather so I should be able to bag up some more leaves then.  The sweet gums have finally started to let go.  Just hope they drop before the weather shuts me in for good. 

More deer damage.    The buck(s) have broken down all the butterfly bushes.  Same with the older burning bush.  And my hemlocks!!  Drastic measure have been taken.  Money has been spent.  And a whole lot of work one day.  Check out the entire wire project on the Garden Project page.  *woof*

Now, I think, after a long week outside, more dental work for mom, and running around, I'm going to chillax in front of the TV and make up the first warm blaze in the fireplace today.  I'm pretty much tapped at this point.  Hope you all have a nice weekend. 

Saturday, November 1, 2014

November? Really? Already?

I know it's been a while since I've posted, but rest assured - REST has had nothing to do with it!

I've been hell-bent-for-leather trying to get the gardens and beds closed down and tucked in for the winter.

Though I've been taking pictures daily, I've been too tired to put anything together in some semblance of order.  But I can hit the highlights.

The close-in beds have been weeded and mulched with shredded leaves.  The swing bed is mostly done, still waiting for more.  Some perennials were transplanted back there: Joe Pye, an hydrangea, huchera, butterfly bush, dwarf Shasta daisy and a holly seedling.  Hopefully they'll make it through the winter.

The zins and marigolds have been pulled.  It was like blowing out a candle - those flaming flowers will be sorely missed as the days grow gray and blustery.  I've been saving seed heads to dry over winter.  The debris pile got huge but Craig came and hauled it away before the weather front blew in with rain and tumbling temps. 

Everything has been pulled off the deck (the bistro set disassembled, fountain shut down) and all items stashed in the shed or lined up against the new section of privacy fence to wait out the winter months.

The trees are still dropping leaves.  (n=neighbor's) The ashes, sassafras, walnut(n), wild cherry(n), pig nut hickories have mostly finished.  Still to come - oak(n), magnolia, dogwood, birch, sweet gum and silver maples.  Blowing in from the street - tulip, beech, linden and red maple.  I go out every couple of days, shred them into rows, let them shrivel up a day or two (or when the weather allows) I bag them up for the beds.

When October ends, I feel the leaves should be done.  That's absurd of course.  This stuff goes on until the end of November or snow calls the game.

I'm tired.  I'm really tired.  And it's not just garden chores, there's been a lot of running around with Mom's continuing dental problems, some house repairs and dealing with the f^cking deer.  Not only are they eating everything, but the bucks have SHREDDED my row of 3-year-old burning bush along the front corner of the property, using them to clean the velvet off of their antlers.  I wish I could wire up each and every shrub to some high-voltage wires!

The house is a mess.  I refuse to use one ounce of energy in here until everything outside is done.  The comfy chair is getting very little use right now, although the last couple of days has been really lousy weather - only in the 30s today, north winds, spittery rain.

Something good to look forward to, though.  Last week, I (after 34 years with Time Warner Cable), invited ATT U-verse into the house and omigosh what a fun winter this will be what with all the features, extra channels and movies galore (included with the U300 package - no premium channels needed).  I got to bundle my phone, internet and TV for what I had been paying piecemeal before, but faster internet, more channels and new phone features.  I also have a 2-year lock on the price.  I won't have to deal with this stuff again until I'm in my next decade!  Yay.

Hopefully, I'll get some posts up on the sidebar blogs soon between mowing/bagging.  And while I've been doing some cooking, I haven't really taken time to enjoy what I was doing - just mainly making sure I had something ready to eat between work binges.

Craig has filled the woodpile; I've drained the gas out of the string trimmer; filled the snowblower and made sure it starts easily (it sprang to life at the 1st pull - YAY). It's that time of year when both the lawnmower and the snowblower live side-by-side for a while with rakes and snow shovels sharing wall space.  The last 2 rainbarrels are drained and stored away.  The garage is cluttered now, but things will sort themselves out by Thanksgiving.

There are some flowers left up for the late bees: the asters, a lone mum, pots of marigold, salvia, lavender and all of the planters in front of the deck (ageratum, geraniums, etc.) and a couple of tall zins.  I have no heart to pull them until they are killed by freeze.

Bottom line, I look forward to finally getting inside, making Mom comfortable dental wise, cleaning house (*woof*), and settling in for the winter. I'll keep you posted further when I stop and come up for air.

Hope you are working ahead of the weather in your neck of the woods these days.  Won't it be great when we can stop?  *heh*

P.S.  Minutes later - I look outside.

It's snowing!  November is gonna be touch - n - go in the gardens.  *sigh*