Thursday, November 24, 2011

Tucked - and tuckered

The leaves have finally finished falling and the beds are all tucked in.  The firewood has been stacked.  The deck has been cleaned off, the hoses drained and put away.  Aside from giving the lawns a final mow this coming weekend then parking the Snapper in the shed for winter, it's time to stick a fork in me. I'm done.  *woof*

The squirrels are still busy, fattening up for winter.  Such a colorful collection of clowns!

And, this morning, there's turkey and pie in the oven.  What's not to be thankful for?

Don't count calories, today.  Just count blessings.  


Saturday, November 19, 2011

Dubious distinction

The 16-foot-long central leader of the Autumn Blaze maple broke off about 2 weeks ago and has been hanging from the side of the tree since then.

My friend said he would, if not actually take the tree down at this time, at least disentangle the huge limb from the live branches.  No sight of him.

So I called a tree company a week ago Thursday.  Sure, they'd come right out to look at it if not that same day, then by the weekend.  No sight of them either.

So, at the "venerable" (ha!) age of 65, yours truly borrowed a CHAINSAW for crying out loud and figured out how to use it.

When the pundits tell you that it is the government or the insurance companies that keep health care so expensive, don't you believe it!

It's situations like this (an angry, frustrated woman  -- with a chainsaw) that sends premiums thru the roof.  Grrrrrr.

P.S.  Happy to report no misfortunes today while I added to my stash of firewood.  But I'm learning to not trust anyone who promises anything anymore, even when it's their JOB!  My electrician was scheduled to do repairs here and at my mother's house.  She's canceled twice (claiming "illness") since October 21 and now won't even return my calls.  *$(#*  Not even the calls where I'm pleading for her to at least TELL US she won't do the job and we should find someone else.  After all,  I'm too old to start playing with electricity as well as chainsaws.

I have to draw the line somewhere!

I'm sure the insurance companies would second that. :-/

P.P.S.  As of November 1 I'm now covered by Medicare.  Woohoo! And, obviously, not a moment too soon.

Friday, November 18, 2011


Brrrrrrrrrrrrrr.   Got down to 18F last night.

Someone forgot to unplug the fountains.

At least the sun is shining, bright - but brittle.  

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

High winds and rain - doom and delight

*Click pic for better details*

High winds continued throughout Monday with temps near 60, ushering the (still advancing as of this morning) frontal system.  Yesterday a.m. we received .75" of rain, and then another .75" late last night when the line of powerful storms swept over us.  This morning the radar shows the front still in force stretching from Arkansas to New England.

No real damage, except to doom the Autumn Blaze maple (rightmost in pic).  It's been dying for 2 years and I'd passed up an offer to have it taken down a couple of weeks ago.  But I'd miss its thick branching which blocks the 14th green in the golf course.  It also breaks up the winter sunrise so I'm not blinded while enjoying my coffee in the sunroom on nice mornings.  But the center of the tree was quite dead and you can see it has broken off.  *sigh*  I was hoping it would make it through the winter, but obviously not.

I was, however, delighted with the rain.  We'd not had any for 2.5 weeks and I didn't want to mulch the rhubarb or the newly planted garlic until both had been well watered.

Now I just have to wait and see when those 2 sweet gum trees will let loose the rest of their leaves.  They are the last hold outs and I still have to finish mulching the bee ring bed (veg seg) and the aforementioned garlic and rhubarb in the veg bed.

One thing is for sure, there is a LOT more winter interest in the gardens this year.  The crabapple bed has some color (pots + sedum + bright red crabapples) and texture as does the arbor and stump beds.  And, since I've left up the trellises and added a table to the veg bed and leaving in the kales, it's got something for the eye too.  Finally, waaaaay in the back of the ring bed, you can see that the New England asters and still blue-tifully blooming away, feeding late bees.

Last year by this time we'd already had snow, so I've been most appreciative that this November has been dry and mild.  Really helped with the cleanup.

Yep, things are looking good right now.  Now c'mooooon gum trees.  Let's get this over with before the snow does fly!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Birthday guest

The quick brown fox jumped out of the golf course to greet the startled birthday girl.

What a great pressie! I've not seen signs of fox for a couple of years.  How gratifying to know they're still out there.

Windy and m(w)ild today.  Blowing 20-30 mph with gusts expected to hit 40-50 this afternoon.  Won't be any trouble at all to blow out all these (So many? Good grief!) candles. ;-D

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Leaf wrestling - and rustling

This morning my friend H. came and hauled off his trailer that I packed to the gunnels. What a BOON it was to have access to it this year.  And, boy, did I take advantage of it. I'm pretty sure when he dumps it at the township compost station it'll come out as a solid block.  It's amazing how much you can pack in if you stomp the stuff down every now and then.  But there, I've cut back, pulled out, pruned up and generally cleaned up the beds and bushes as far as I'm going to at this time.  I've left some things up for winter interest.  And the driveway turnaround is free and clear again and I've moved the glider back where it belongs.

Now, hooray!, I'm down to just leaves and lawn.  I'll keep the former wrestled up for bed mulch and the latter mowed (it's still growing!).  I feel this year I won't have enough leaves for all the beds.  While I didn't create any new flower beds (the ones under the gum trees are there just so I don't have to mow under them), I did widen the bee ring bed from 18" to over 30" so I have to get creative.

Oh, look! Here's a really nice pile of crispy oak leaves on my driveway.  And I don't even HAVE an oak tree. Hmmm.

Gee, I wonder where they came from?  And my neighbor's lawn is suspiciously bare under his huge pin oak.  *snark*  I doubt he'll call the cops on me.  ;-D

I've been baaaaad.  Not only did T. NOT call the cops, but I persuaded him to use his blower to push all the (messy) neighbor's oak/hickory leaves onto my driveway.  Bad?  Or just - helping out?  (Nah, I'm just helping myself! Sue me. *grin*)

And trust me.  This pile is WAY bigger than it looks (so does the one above).  Yet I'm sure I'm still going to come up short this year.  *sigh*  How ironic.  One of the reasons I created so many bed was so that I would have a ready place to put all my leaves.  Now the beds have outstripped the leaf supply.  The tale is wagging the dog.  Curses!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Just leaf me be...

I'm worn to a frazzle from cleaning up beds and wrestling with leaves and am not even going to post anything about those hassles today.  I need a break!  So MUMs the word.

I prefer the pom pom mums that have larger petals but with fewer of them.  They make for a nice, long-lasting bloom and hold their colors well.  With the pom pom, there are always more petals to unfurl to keep the colors fresh.

Bees, butterflies and other pollinators prefer the daisy-type mums.  There are fewer petals to unfurl so the sweet goodness held within the central 'button' is exposed for them.

There is no traffic on the pom poms.  There's really nothing for insects to forage on. I'll be adding more of the daisy mums next year to balance my pom poms so everyone finds something to enjoy.

While working in the veg bed I got a good look at this English lavender plant in one of the large pots.  It was WS'd 2 years ago, was brought inside for last winter where it didn't fare well at all, got planted out as an after thought late this spring and pretty much just left to fend for itself.

Well, fend it did.  What a beautifully shaped plant.  It didn't bloom this season, but I'm sure that it will be just lovely next year.  It's sure nice when a good plant succeeds!

<== Meanwhile, for other vegetable bed news, click this pic.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

She's still singing

The fat lady sings most every night now.  We've had several more freezes and there is usually frost every morning.  It's taken full toll on the summer gardens.  They looked very ratty after Sunday's blast.

I've been busy cleaning up the beds.  I don't remember it being such a fight to pull up annuals last year.  But then, it had been a very dry year and most of the plants were stunted and not very well rooted.  This year the Yvonne's had root masses as big as beach balls, most of the marigold had developed extra rootage along stems, and the subrotunda - well, I had to just cut them off at ground level and will dig up those roots next spring.  They weren't budging at all!

It's getting there.  I've left up all the blooming mums, asters, Walker's low catmint and lavenders. And I'm not touching that magnificent honeycomb butterfly bush.  It's still blooming.  Even now, after all these freezes, it's been feeding monarchs, a painted lady, a red admiral, clouded sulfurs, cabbage butterflies, some skippers and lots of bees.  

While most tender plants have succumbed to the freezes, the foundation bed hostas are mostly still green.  But I'm going after them today - the temps are still decent and the rain will hold off until tonight. I'm also hoping to start putting leaves on the beds, too, while it's still dry.

There's one stalwart hosta that I'll not cut, though.  It's a spring bloomer that's a little confused. I hope it will open before the before Friday night's mid-20s. (Mid 20s? Dang.  That means it'll probably dip to teens here. Hmmm, maybe a little floating row cover for this one. Brrrrr.)