Monday, November 23, 2015

Oh gosh it's COLD

Only 15F this morning! Good grief. I knew it was going to get cold, though. Yesterday it barely got out of freezing (even though bright and sunny) and by 2:00 pm the birdbath started freezing over again and was solid by 4:00.  A bitter north wind sure didn't make things better.

The garden jeans made it to the end, but only just.  Toward the last I stopped sewing on the patches and used pins and Gorilla tape to help keep the dirt/leaves out. LOL  These will be retired.  The back of the legs are still nice and will become next year's patches.

The B&B salvia have held up to low temps, but I'm sure they will eventually succumb. (Yep, totally toasted this morning.)  The Veronica (blue bomb), however still blooms and will stay evergreen over the winter.

The deer shredded the last butterfly bush (Pink Delight) in the ring bed last night.  They stripped the main stem down to pith.  I hate those damn vermin.

Meanwhile, I am warm and toasty inside the house (thanks to all that work I did to my furnace heat ducts and cold air returns early this year  CLICK HERE).  Also warm and toasty inside me thanks to a freezer full of veg broth, frozen beans, turkey & chicken stock and lots of cubed meat for soups.

Another frozen turkey is thawing in the fridge and will be roasted up on Wednesday.  Friends down for the holiday on Thursday.  Then on Saturday my Mom and her brother here for leftovers.  Weather will 'warm' up through Friday so travel should not be anyone's issue.

Hope all get to spend time with friends and loved ones over Thanksgiving.  That's the best part of the holiday.  Enjoy.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

2015 gardening season - done

And there we have it, folks.  The end of the 2015 growing season.

Yesterday was still mild and dry (that massive system is still to the west of us as of this morning).

After a morning of Mom's PT etc., I came home with the thought of maybe just putting the mower away and having my friend do a final mow next week.

But I had the gas.  The time.  The weather....  I was off.

About 3.5 hrs later - the deck is cleared (bistro set going into breezeway today), the back lawns are mowed, the front lawns are mowed (and last leaves bagged for mulch, even swiped some of the good nabe's!), the Snapper has been blown clean and dry and stored back in the shed while the battery is in the basement hooked up to the float charger for the winter.


Today, maybe even tomorrow will be in the 50s.  After that - 40s & 30s.  Brrr.

About the only thing left to do outside-wise is the sno-blower.  The new fuel line is leaking where the old one did.  I'm wondering if there is something wrong with the nipple connection to the carburator.  Thankfully mild temps will encourage me to pull off the cowl and work on it today or tomorrow.

Otherwise, it's been a pretty darn good gardening season.  

Downsizing: The ring bed is no more.  The stump bed is no more.  

The arbor bed has been given a 2nd chance. The swing bed is coming along. SpaRRows (the container veg patch) worked wonderfully!  

Oh there were upsets: deer damage (eating plants and thrashing my hemlocks again this year!); groundhog, chipmunks everywhere.

Cool stuff: 4 turkeys frequenting Dogpatch (the 'wild' area behind the golf course pines). New shrubs and trees were installed this season and fingers crossed they'll make it through winter.

Only blooms left this late are the potted mums.  They've had several freezes so far.  I'm leaving them -- want to see just how long they hang on.  I'm really enjoying the color. 

Bottom line, I'm ready to go inside for a couple of months although you'll still find me on the deck on really mild days or at least in the sunroom.  It's physically and emotionally hard on me to stay inside - I'm all about outside.  (No, really!  I've already started a list for next Spring. LOL)

Stay tuned.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Stump bed - no more

The stump bed is no more.

The continued mild weather (last year we'd had 7" of snow by now!) has me pushing myself in the Fall gardens. 

I'm not just doing the usual clean up stuff.  Nooo. I'm indulging in what I call 'bonus round' stuff: planting shrubs, cutting down dead, reorganizing, etc.

Load after load of trimmings, tree limbs, roots have gone outta here this season.

And now this.  The stump bed.  
Previously I'd purged all the plants there.

Yesterday we took out the stump, filled in the hole, and covered the dirt with shredded leaves.

But fear not. That space will not be turned into lawn.

Click the pic for the full story. 

As for me ... there's a another mild week ahead.  Wonder what kind of trouble I'll get into.  Stay tuned.
Later that day - I didn't even wait until tomorrow to get into more trouble.  CLICK HERE. 

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Too busy to blog - Fall cleanup catchup

It's been non-stop busy around here. The mild weather was suductive and I seldom came inside.

Too busy to grocery shop.  Too busy to eat sensibly.  Too busy to blog.


But it's finally winding down and I can catch my breath!

I've been cutting, trimming, mowing, bagging leaves, potting up winter keepers for the basement, cleaning gutters, putting furniture, etc away in the shed, still finding time to push the household purge (CLICK HERE) along and still keep up Mom's PT at least 2ce a week as well as her errands.

Yep.  My days were about as long and tangental as that last sentence.  

I pulled up all the geraniums from their pots (then emptied/ stowed those pots under the fence bench) into smaller pots for wintering over in the basement along with the 3 B&B salvias that spent the summer on deck

I'm short of leaves this year - so much so that I only resorted to outside help once this season; to bag up the front lawn after the pitiful ash drop and the normal hickory drop.  

Between the front lawn and all the mowing/bagging I've been doing all along, there were enough leaves to do the swing bed, the crab bed, the little crab bed, the privacy fence bed and a few bags in the leaf bin.  I still need more for the viburnums against part of the golf course bed (CLICK HERE for details), the birdbath bed, the compost bins and the front of the garage area.  My friend who did my lawn will be doing a nabe's lawn this coming Saturday and I'll be getting all those bags of leaves for over here.

I have figured out how to take care of the spaRRows container for the winter.  Those on the cart and on the carpet were moved in front of the border wall and covered with the glider (RIP) cover.  Those pots near the birdbath have been capped with inverted pots to keep out squirrels and provide support for the snow that will be shoveled off the deck this winter.  The cart was quickly disassembled and stowed away in the garage.

Meanwhile the deck is getting more and more sparse every day. All those plants (and the bench) there in the last pic are not there now.  I figure by the end of this week the deck may well be empty, just in time for me to go inside and enjoy a good long rest on my Friday birthday.

Meanwhile, still more garden purge going on ... more on that soon.  

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

fat Pat weather

Blustery "fat Pat" weather - wind & rain
The bloated remnants of hurricane Patricia (merged with a Texas disturbance) arrived last night with blustery winds and rain.  Not as much rain as I expected (so far only .75"), but the winds (22+mph) are really doing a number on the leaves. There's more of the same due all day, but the view outside is really nice.  Very November-ish.

I'm afraid I'm not having much luck with leaf harvest this season. The winds are from the ESE - so my hickory/birch leaves are blowing across the street.    I've only gotten 2 beds (the turnaround zin borders - sassafras leaves) and just part of the front bay window/ hosta bed  (so few ash leaves due to dying trees) covered at this point.

There's still the privacy fence and swing beds needing leaf mulch.  I just hope the winds change direction before all the leaves are down.

Temp at 50F today.  A 'raw' day and great for inside activities.  What?  Well, if you've been following the Chef's Page, yours truly is going to try another turkey.  Fingers crossed.   

update: Got my groove back!  CLICK HERE.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Feathered fun

A few days before the really cold weather, I noticed that 4 wild turkeys (I think hens) have frequented 'dogpatch' (the unkempt area behind the border pine trees), sometimes more than once a day.

They are really quite large and always seem to find lots of things to peck at back there.  They keep their distance but don't seem to mind me being on the deck moving around, watching them.

This morning from the upstairs window I saw 1 bird under the neighbor's bird feeder scratching at seeds.  Then it walked away.

Maybe 10 minutes later I was out filling my bird feeder, listening to the birds, emptied my seed container, turned around and WHOA!  Not 20 feet away from me 4 big birds were watching.  I froze.  They seemed unfazed and started walking/pecking at the lawn and headed for the arbor bed.  From there they meandered back toward the snow fence back by the golf course, had a look around and then, following the fence up the hill, disappeared.

So I guess the watching goes both ways.  LOL

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Last of the annuals pulled

With 3 progressively colder nights and hard freeze, all of the annuals I didn't pull last week were all killed.  So were Mom's so after her PT yesterday I pulled all her tall zins and took them to the yardwaste depot.  Then I came home and had at mine.

I had no idea how many were left.  All the huge State Fair zins back by the golf course, the rhubarb was a limp mess, the marigolds tucked hither and yon, the zins in pots up by the deck, the salvias and petunias, even that sorry frozen geranium had to go.

It was another huge pile and I had to break it into 2 loads.  The first one was so stuffed that the rhubarb had to ride shotgun.

While cleaning up the back beds, I saw that the deer had eaten down all the wild asters, the comfrey and the red mum.  They also ate the single mantauk daisy flower on the transplant.  I HATE DEER!!!

Anyway, after the zins and marigolds were pulled from the driveway pots, I took and planted up the 2 deck mums there for more color.

Then I took the precaution of netting ALL my potted mums, even the one in the arbor bed, against the deer.

By using dark (black/brown) netting, most of the bloom color shows through clearly enough to enjoy.  When the temps drop again, I can just float some row cover over them for protection.

Starting to look a kinda dull in the gardens now.  Thankfully I've been adding more 'bones' over time and the structures/ landscaping is pleasant to look at.

The hard freeze really turned the tide on the tree leaves and all are showing changes in color/texture.  And so I'll be drifting into leaf/ mulch mode soon.  As long as there are mild days, no probs.  Well, as long as my back, shoulder, ankle, elbow, etc hold out.  I tell ya, if there is something I can injure, I find a way to hurt it.  LOL

Why don't I just collect stamps or something tame like that??   (yeah, riiiiiight)