Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Foxey Persuasion

It's taken him a year, but I think she's slowly succumbing to his charms.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Surprising Autumn Blooms

I was pleased to find some flowers blooming in the yard today that I hadn't really expected to see this late in the season.  This loropetalum puts on a huge show in spring and is now in bloom again. Not quite as full as the springtime display, but bright and lively all the same.
This brilliant red quince was a surprise as quince usually bloom in late winter.  I was impressed by this one when it bloomed multiple times last winter and spring.  It has been looking not well, losing leaves in the late summer and I was afraid it might not survive.  If this flower is any indication, the shrub may rally yet.

I hope it will.  

I also spied a flourish of flowers on the jackmanii clematis and one lone zinnia that somehow manged to dodge the frost.  You just never know what you might find if you look around.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Birthday Extravaganza

 Sunny Peppers!
Yes, the peppers continue to ripen and survive despite cold nights.  It's amazing what a sheet of remay row cover can do to preserve and protect.  I'm not sure about this week with lows forecast in the mid 20's it could be the end, but it's been a great run.  We have loads of peppers now that I need to cut up for the freezer because I don't think we will be able to eat them all up.

I've had a wonderful birthday week with multiple celebrations in honor of turning, as someone said "double nickles".  There have been cards and calls, gifts and dinners and a general festive air all around.

I baked this gorgeous snapper from the local fishmonger on my birthday eve. Along side crispy roasted potatoes, the last of the garden beans and a salad of just picked red bibb lettuce, a nice french white Bordeaux, that was some living brother.  And we polished the night off with a flour-less chocolate torte that I baked for myself as I'd been having a hankering.

On my actual birthday Nov 8th, David went out to Prairie Ridge with me to help band birds. It was another cool sunny day and we had a big time capturing kinglets and many sparrows in the nets and putting the bands on their tiny legs before measuring, weighing and releasing them to fly on about their day.

That night we enjoyed a super dinner at Mateo Tapas Bar in Durham where we sampled 9 different plates and a fair amount of wine.

Yesterday I spent the day at the NC Community Garden Partners Annual meeting.  I am on the education committee and so was on the planning committee for this event.  I think it was a big success, we had over 100 people from across the state taking part in workshops and presentations.  People seemed to be learning lots and networking too, always good.  Our theme this year was sustainability of gardens, not on the ecological level but on the management, business, funding, longevity level. It is great to see the community garden movement growing in North Carolina and so many people interested in getting gardens started and in keeping them going strong.

Best of all- I won the raffle of this gorgeous community garden quilt!  It represents raised beds, pathways and veggies growing, and has a few chickens clucking through it as well.  Colorful and fun.  I couldn't believe it.
And so, I enter my 55th year feeling very celebrated, loved and lucky indeed.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Returning to Normal

I was trying to catch a flock of crows flying over.  You can see one- a blur, but love the red oak leaves set against that blue, blue sky.

What a day.

I am finally feeling the fog lift from having that tooth pulled.  I took a good brisk walk down along the creek, soaking in the fall colors and bright sky.  Came back home and worked in the garden for a couple of hours, weeding and tidying up in the veg patch.  Finished cleaning up the asparagus beds.  It always looks so much nicer when that's done.

Pulled down Jacks beanstalk, now dry and dead.  Pruners and scissors, cutting and pulling the twisted vines where they had climbed, wrapping themselves around the fence wire up, up, up.  Put away the posts, fence, piled the vines into the wheelbarrow for compost.

It was chilly and I kept my purple sweatshirt on the whole time, feeling snugly.  Pulled chickweed and oxalis from between the young carrots.  The soil was cold and I was glad for my good gloves.

Kept a fire going in the stove all day too.
sweet gum leaf  - like burgundy leather

The autumn has truly arrived and with it colorful trees, breezy clear days with leaves swirling by.  I am ready for this shift.

Also glad for the time change, to wake before 7 with some sunlight.  And at the end of the day to come inside and hunker down for long evenings of comfort food suppers and books.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Happy, Scary Halloween

Here I am in my own special Halloween costume.

Fresh back from the oral surgeon yesterday.  There I had a second molar, #30 removed, goodbye number thirty, and an implant anchor drilled into my jaw bone. Lets hear it for sedation, I was semi-conscious but didn't feel a thing.  Love this spiffy wimple holding an ice pack against my jaw to reduce the swelling. 

Armed with antibiotics, pain killers, ice packs and special peroxide mouth rinse, hoping that I will heal well over the next few days and in some period of time, can't remember how long we have to wait, I will have a new faux #30 installed.  The trials and tribulations of aging.  All I can say is I am glad to have some money set aside for such things and don't have to go around with a rotten tooth or a hole in my mouth forever. The surgeon says the second molars do 90% of the chewing, kind of a key tooth, I wouldn't want to live without.

Otherwise life is moving along.  I was happy to get my 60 cloves of garlic in the ground last week, to be 60 heads for next year. 
Discovered this cluster of hardy cyclamen popping up out of the leaf litter last week that made me want to plant loads more. What a nice surprise, those delicate pink petals sweeping up to the sky.

The first frost finally came on the night of October 18. That prompted the digging of the sweet potatoes.  About 5 gallons are currently curing under the bed.  Much smaller than last years beasts, but that's alright, I actually prefer the smaller ones to roast whole into sweet nuggets that can be eaten skin and all.  We covered up the peppers because they are still loaded wth big green fruits that I want to ripen and also the green beans, so we are still harvesting from those.

The fall crops seem happy and the frost slowed down the caterpillars a bit for which I am grateful.  So now we move into meals with many greens; lettuce, tatsoi, kale, collards and eventually I hope some cabbages and broccoli, despite their late planting.

Another cool thing recently was Leonard Bergey and his beautiful team of Percheron horses who came over to plow one of the pastures up on the creamery.  Such gorgeous animals and Leonard is masterful with the gentle giants, he is a whisperer for sure.

OK- off to a bowl of soup prepared by my handsome nurse David.  (Please forgive any percocet induced misspelling or poor grammar within this post.)