Tangled Branches: Cultivated
happenings in and around my zone 6b gardens in northern Virginia and in central Virginia
Tuesday, September 26, 2006
New Garden, Old Gardener
It's not quite a done deal yet, but DH and I are buying a house in the country. We had hoped to get all the business concluded yesterday, but a last-minute snafu prevented us. It should be wrapped up soon though. I've been itching to write about this all summer, because it's been in the works since May, but I didn't want to jinx it. We'll only be there weekends for now, but plan to move there full-time in a few years.
We're getting almost 4 acres, most of it wooded. There are many lovely wildflowers. I'm planning to do most of my gardening in an open section next to the road. The deer may have other plans, the builder tells me. I think I'll start cautiously and cheaply.
Here at home, I'm getting a new garden whether I wanted one or not. While we were gone yesterday, the guy who's building our deck marked the spots where the footers are to go. Three feet into my flower beds. The deck was supposed to end where the flower beds start, but that fact got lost somewhere between the preliminary discussions and the building permit. One of the things I'm losing in the deal is my very earliest snowdrops. I'll miss them next spring. Maybe our new lot will have lots of spring ephemerals....
Saturday, September 23, 2006
The autumnal equinox happened just a few hours ago (12:03 AM EDT). Change is in the air. Details next week.
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
The Sandwich Fair
From our correspondent in northern Illinois, we have some pictures from the recent Sandwich Fair. The Sandwich Fair is the oldest continous fair in the Midwest, according to Dennis Hastert (and we know a politician would never lie).
I always like to visit the horticulture displays, and I couldnt' be there in person so I talked somebody into taking pictures for me (Hi, Dad). Today I received a CD in the mail with 58 pictures (Thanks, Dad). I selected the most fall-like ones, I think, for posting here. We have no less than seven pictures of corn and each one is a different type. And for good measure, I included blue-ribbon-winner socks and a birdhouse made from Farm & Fleet yardsticks.
Thursday, September 14, 2006
It certainly feels like fall here. It's been gray and dismal and cold for 3 (or is it 4?) days now. Tuesday, I went looking for my wool socks. And I put up the winter bird feeder. The hummingbirds are still coming around to their sugar-water, so I won't take than one down until much later. Haven't seen a butterfly for days. There are probably more migrant birds to be seen, but I haven't had a chance to look for them. Yesterday a house wren was flitting around the PeeGee hydrangea. I was hoping it was an early kinglet, but no.
But there are still lots of flowers in bloom, and the recent rains turned the lawn an almost-fluorescent green. The tomatoes are sloooooowly ripening still, and the squirrels have been leaving them alone. Tomato fruitworms are another matter. I was watching a Kellogg's Breakfast tomato starting to ripen, and then yesterday noticed a big hole in it, and another cursed caterpillar sticking its head out. Onto the compost pile. Kellogg's Breakfast hasn't gotten a fair taste test. The only one I've had so far, I picked very green and it started to get soft before it got very ripe. So, I added it to my Summer Vegetable Tian and cooked it for a very long time.
The plants are giving autumnal signs too. The winterberry holly berries are now quite red; the black haw viburnum berries are acquiring rosy tints over the green; the dogwood berries are red; and I thought the Japanese maple leaves were starting to change color, but at least two of them think it's spring instead, sprouting new leaves.
Monday, September 11, 2006
Shiny New Laptop
Boy, oh boy, it is ever shiny. Shiny case, shiny screen, bright blue shiny indicator lights.
I had just turned on my laptop last Thursday evening to write a post about cooking with garden ingredients. The screen flickered several times and the laptop went dead. Well, I think, it's old and the battery is going and I'll just have to use it as a desktop. But, plugging it into AC power had no effect. DH came home and suggested pulling the battery. No effect. So I let it sit for 2 days, thinking it was really truly dead this time. Saturday night DH swapped his battery for mine and it worked fine. And my battery worked fine in his laptop. Well, by this time we'd already selected a new one, and we picked it up yesterday and then spent all the rest of the day deleting useless (and worse) software that came preinstalled.
Anyhow, I need to recompose my cooking post if I can remember any of what I wanted to write. And I have some pictures in the old laptop waiting to be uploaded.
Wednesday, September 06, 2006
Birds on the Move
But first, what's up with Blogger? I posted a reply to a comment yesterday, and it shows up when I click the Post a Comment link, but doesn't show up as part of the Post page. No time to investigate right now, unfortunately.
Back to the topic I started with. Over the holiday weekend and after Friday's soaking rain (courtesy of Tropical Storm Ernesto) I added four birds to the all-time yard list. I've lately seen them reported on the local bird lists (VA-Bird and MDOsprey), so they're not unique to my backyard. I wish that just once some amazingly rare critter would come visit. Bird, butterfly, mammal, whatever - I'm not particular. I'll probably get a plague of African locusts or something for publicly wishing.
I also wish I had some documenting photos, but no, you'll have to settle for other peoples' photos and just trust me. The new additions to my yard list are: