Wednesday, December 7, 2016

First Frost Finally!

After waiting and waiting, we finally had our first frost last night. It hit 27 degrees and we were greeted by a white, icy wonderland this morning. We missed tying the record for the latest first frost, December 9th, by just two days.I am still wondering what kind of Winter we are going to have. The forecasters are calling for more of a "true" Winter this year. But with such a last first first I am wondering if we are doomed, for a third year in a row, to another mild, warm Winter.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Music Garlic is Up!

After a late start, it was great to see some of my "Music" garlic push through the soil in the last week. It is interesting to note, that although the "Music" and "Red Chesnook" garlic were planted at the same time, it has taken the "Music" garlic almost a week longer to sprout. I wonder if this is just a one-off this year, or a typical difference between the two varieties.

Thursday, November 24, 2016


Happy Thanksgiving!

The morns are meeker than they were,
The nuts are getting brown, 
The berry's cheek is plumper,
The rose is out of town.

The maple wears a gayer scarf,
The field a scarlet gown.
Lest I should be old-fashioned,
I'll put a trinket on

Emily Dickinson

Sunday, November 20, 2016

The First Garlic is Up

Walking past the kitchen garden today, a bit of green caught my eye. I walked over to my garlic raised bed and discovered small green shoots poking through the soil. Since I had just planted the garlic back on November 6th, I wasn't expected to see anything quite yet. But I found 6 of the "Chesnook Red" cloves had sprouted. Interestingly enough, none of the "Music" are yet visible. I am hoping that they are just a touch slower and I will see some green in their section soon. The 2017 garlic season is officially off and growing!

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Zinnias - A Few Holding On

As we near mid-November, the days are getting noticeably shorter and colder. The Kitchen Garden has been put to bed for the year and I only have one more week's worth of digging dahlia tubers before the same can be said down in the Big Garden. But I haven't yet had time to clean up the "over-flow" Kitchen Garden Bed. The cantaloupe are long finished, the vines brown and mushy. The "Bright Lights" cosmos have finally given up. Hopefully a few will spill their ripened seeds and  produce next years volunteer plants. But there is still one bit of color and life left growing right now- a few plants of the "Country Fair Blend" zinnias. This last splash of hot pink and reminder of Summer is as enjoyable to the humans as it is to the hummingbirds and pollinators still seeking a good source nutrition.  

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Paper Bark Maple

I decided I had better head down today and take some pictures of the  Paperbark Maple. Its leaves are notoriously slow to turn color each fall. And just when I think it will be in peak crimson glory within a few days, it suddenly drops 80% of its leaves one night! And then I have missed another year to capture is beauty.

While there are still a few green leaves on the tree that haven't yet turned red, I knew I didn't dare wait any longer. So this morning I snapped a series of photos. They can never completely convey  how fiery red and brilliant this tree is, for just a few days each November. 

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Welcome November

And just like that, November has arrived. In our part of the world, November signals peak autumnal color. Thanks to our record October rainfall, we are enjoying more color this year, as the trees aren't quite as stressed from months of endless drought. Right now the Sweet Gum trees are finishing up for the season, but there are still a few crimson leaves hanging on until the next wind storm.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Rose Hips in the Hedgerow

As I was walking up and down our long drive this past weekend, flecks of color caught my eye. It was a nice patch of rose hips in the hedgerow along the road. In a year where drought has once again  limited the fall color in our trees, it was so nice to see this splash of autumnal beauty.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Harvest Monday - The Beans are In

Not a large harvest this past week, but still one that I am very excited about. The beans are in! Well not all of the beans, but the majority of them. We received out first significant rain on Sunday morning. It was predicted so I harvested most of the pods from my bush "Titus" cannellini beans earlier in the week. I would say 4/5 of the pods had fully ripened. They were brown and dry, but did not spit open and shatter- just as the catalog promised. My total harvest to this point is 9.1 oz, or 1 1/3 cups. Not a huge amount but I think a descent harvest from just 20 plants. Now I get to play around with these in a few recipes and see how they taste. If they make the cut I would like to double or triple my grow out of them next year.

I also enjoyed a good "second flush" harvest on the "Lemon" cucumber plants. I know that I was complaining earlier in the season that they weren't a very prolific producer but I need to rescind that remark a bit. I harvested another 9 cukes this week, weighing in at 2 lbs. 3.4 oz. So that puts my total year to date harvest at 21 cukes from the 5 plants. Not a huge amount, but not too bad either from plants growing in a location that received only half-day sun.