Saturday, November 27, 2010

Fountain finale

Thursday it rained all day with temps rising well into the mid-50s.

But after the front moved on, frigid temps followed.  Friday dawned 25F and it got above freezing for only an hour or 2.  Then it sank back to mid-20s and has been there ever since.

When the days can no longer warm up the water in the fountain, it's time to pull the plug, empty it out and put it in the basement until spring.

Now the deck is really down to bare bones and "outside season" is officially closed

I'm sure the chickadees will be miffed now that they have to use the regular birdbath like everyone else.  Come to think of it, I'm kinda miffed too.  I'm going to miss sitting in the sunroom and watching the fountain sparkle while those little clowns flit about all day.  

All that's 'flitting' about this morning now are ... snowflakes.  And plenty of them! Ah well, looks like a good day to start a pot of turkey soup and light another fire.  

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Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving day wishes

Right now outside temps are just above freezing and rain is pouring down.  We've gotten almost an inch since midnight with perhaps another inch or two still to come as the massive weather system drags by.  Then temps will plummet and might bring some snow tomorrow.

Inside, however, is warm and dry and fragrant from turkey in the oven and yeasty bread dough set aside to rise.

Here's wishing that all my readers are warm and dry and surrounded by good food, good friends and family today.

Happy Thanksgiving. :-D

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Monday, November 22, 2010

Crazy daze

The mild weather persisted so Sunday I spent 4 hours outside mowing and gathering up the last of the front yard leaves.  I also stored away the last 2 deck chairs.  I drew the line at taking down the wall fountain because the chickadees just love to wet their little whistles in the trickling stream.

It was supposed to rain today, but all the wet kept to the north.  Temps soared well into the 60s so I spent some time in the garage working on a door  (< click for story) most of the morning.

After that, however, all I wanted to do was SIT AND ENJOY the balmy air.  But darn, I'd just packed away all my deck chairs!  LOL

So I dragged my rocker out of the sunroom and set myself up with a cool drink to enjoy the view.  Check out the Mellow Yellow spirea, sweet gum tree and ('way in the back there) asparagus fern.  I've never seen any of them this colorful! 

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Friday, November 19, 2010

Cheerful November morn

* Sunny November Day *
After 3 days of dark, gloomy, (and albeit much needed) rainy weather, today dawned bright, clear and cheerful!  Niiiiiiiiiice.

The view from the kitchen window isn't half bad now. :-D

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Thursday, November 18, 2010


Birds are flocking this time of year.  Right now the crabapple trees are filled with robins gorging themselves on the soft fruit.

Otherwhere, hundreds of starlings are gleaning lawns after Tuesday's day-long rain.

(click on pics for full size)
* starlings foraging *
They flush when startled, wheel, dip, soar and wing as one.

* starlings in flight *
They flee to naked trees

* starlings in trees *
But moments later, they return to their lunch.

What a display...!
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Saturday, November 13, 2010

Tucked in

This post should have appeared on Saturday, the 13th.  But that was the day my DSL modem decided to DIE.  *sigh*  I finally tracked down a new one at an ATT store and installed it Sunday evening, so I'm playing catchup on all my blog pages.

So here's the post that didn't appear Saturday the 13th:

Deadline made!   The extraordinary weather allowed me to get EVERYTHING tucked in and ready for winter by the 13th!

It took a couple of days, but I weeded the nearly 300' length of the ring bed and got it all mulched (with either whacker-shredded or mowed/bagged leaves).  

* ring bed - weeded & mulched *
(click for larger picture)
Another fine day let me fill all my 32-gal Roughnecks with sifted compost.
Click HERE for full story.

* compost sifted and stored for spring *
And then there was a nice morning spent stacking a cord of firewood.
Click HERE for full story.

* firewood secured, stacked and ready *
Bottom line, all the beds are mulched, annuals composted, perennials trimmed back, compost done, firewood at the ready, and furniture/pots/water cans/hoses/etc. all stored away in the shed.  I think I'm done.

All that's left is to make a wish, blow out the candles, and enjoy my birthday!  :-D

* cake 'n' candles *
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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Wrangling with the wacker

Ever since Mom moved down here 6 years ago, she has tried to give me her 'leaf thing'.  I refused, having my own methods of shredding leaves.  But this year I decided to get it out of her garage, bring it over and give it a try.

It's a Craftsman Leaf-Wacker and I have no idea how long ago she bought it.  So I positioned it over a 32-gallon Roughneck to try it out.

The contender:  My stash of leaves.  

It was the PERFECT day: High 50s.  Bright sun.  No wind. 

At first I scooped up armfuls of leaves and dumped them in the hopper.  Then I realized I could just flip over a leaf rake and use it like a shovel.  Wow.  No more bending.  My back applauded!

The leaves were bone dry and crispy so the nylon string shredder had no problem whizzing through them.  It reduced the leafs to maybe a 1/3 or even 1/4. 

Every 4 tubs I'd stop and haul the shreds out to the now-weeded ring bed.  At this reduction I figured straight off I wouldn't have enough to do the whole ring, so for now I just made sure all existing plants got well mulched.

The day went on.  In the end I got 18+ bins of out of the pile.  What with shredding, hauling, mulching and then cleanup I was at it for nearly 5 hours.  

Finally the last tarp was folded away and the remaining leaf litter put into compost.  Not a bad day's work.  And the ring bed?  Since the leaves had reduced as much as they did I only got slightly less than 2/3 of it mulched. (As I recall last year the shreds were coarser and reduced less than 1/2 so they went further as mulch.)

So now I have to wait for the sweet gums and silver maples to drop their load.  Then I'll just vac them up with the mower.  Hopefully I'll have enough then to finish the bed, but I dunno.  It looks dicey at this point.  We'll see....

(P.S.  Mom sure won't be getting the wacker back! LOL Mine-mine-mine!)

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Thursday, November 4, 2010

Leaf mulch marathon

(Click on any picture to biggify and enjoy better focus.)

11/6 a.m. entry update -- Oh good grief!!

* first snowfall 11/6/2010 *

Leaf mulch marathon:
* leaf mulch on foundation, birdbath, brick wall + crab beds *

* grassy sweep next to crab bed *

* leaf mulch on fence + wall beds *

* leaf mulch on arbor bed *

* leaf mulch on stump bed *
It's been a busy 3 days (once the days warmed up past freezing!). It was traumatic to pull out all those bright salvias, marigold and other colorful (but frozen) annuals and denude the beds.  The view from the kitchen window really suffers this time of year. *sigh*

As of this morning, all the beds close to the house (including those in front that I've not pictured) are set for winter.  There were so many new fallen leaves that I didn't even have to get into my stash under the tarp on the driveway!

Oh, and rest assured, I left access to any holes to the bee nest in the stump bed.  There has been no traffic for over a week so I'm pretty sure they're tucked in for winter.  I'll let the leaves blow over the holes to insulate what's left of the colony for next spring.

Lest you think I'm about finished, think again.  I still have to weed the entire length of the ring bed before piling on the leaves else I'd only be insulating the weeds.  Eeek.

And some trees are still holding out on me.

* sweet gum trees *
Not only are these 2 sweet gums bogeying those leaves, there is a large silver maple directly behind them (and another back down the hill by the golf course) that haven't gotten their 'drop leaf' memos yet. Ah well.  I'm taking off today, tomorrow and Saturday (I'm pooped).  But they are predicting 4 sunny days starting Sunday so I'll be back at it then.

Now.... someone, please, pass me the ibuprofen. *moan* :-/

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Wednesday, November 3, 2010


* 11/3/10 dawn: serious frost on mulched beds *

It's colder each morning. 

Wet snow predicted for the end of the week.

So much to do, so little time....

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Monday, November 1, 2010

Ah, November....

Welcome November.  Now it's time to get serious about prepping the beds for winter. This morning it's only 26F.

Everything has a coat of frost.

* silvered leaves *

Or Ice.

I'm pretty sure that when things thaw out today (high only in mid 40s), the plants, especially the annuals, aren't going to look very good.  Even though there's been 3 previous freezes, the marigolds and salvias out in the beds held up, while the impatiens on the deck and in front of the house didn't even blink!

All the beds have bloomed way longer this year than ever before so I'm not going to complain that yesterday may have been their last hurrah.  Definitely more of a 'treat' than a 'trick' for October 31. :-D  Even the rosemary is still in bloom (under the white rowcover). 

* dawn - 11/1/10 *

Meanwhile, back on the leaf-wrangling front.

All of the ashes, hickory, sassafras, birches and red maple have dropped their leaves.  So have the neighbor's hickories, wild cherry, walnut that seem to favor my lawn instead of theirs! Those have been gathered up -- most of them under that tarp.  There are still piles on the front lawn I have to drag back to my growing stash.  It's been way too windy for the past week to actually work with the leaves, so I've settled for just getting them off the grass.  Things are calming down now so will be able to shred these and mulch the beds over the next couple of days.

* gum trees 10/31/10 *

The sweet gums will drop their leaves soon -- the nighttime temps will be in the 20s for a couple of days.  That blush of red to the left are not leaves, but a bonanza of little red crabapples.  For the past week or so flocks of robins and other birds are stuffing themselves with the now-soft fruit.  When I fill the bird feeder in the morning these days, you'd think it was SPRING based on all the robin calls and song.

Every year I shoot for having all the outside chores done by my birthday, Nov 13.  I don't always make my deadline but, if the weather holds, this year is looking good.  I should even be able to get in a cord of firewood.  Woo and hoo!  

It's supposed to rain the 2nd half of the week so time's a'wastin'.  I'm off... (sure, just ask anyone ;-D).
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