Monday, September 26, 2016

Greeting fall with mixed emotions

Fall is undeniably here.  The mosquitoes have already calmed down a bit, and soon they will be gone. This year was really miserable for those of us who don't like heat mixed with high, high humidity. I am one of them, and feeling cooler air today is welcome, even with the humidity. However . . .

There hasn't been a frost yet, nothing even close, but the plants are looking pretty sad. No amount of water or tender loving care will make up for the fact that summer annuals have a genetic life span, and it is nearing the end for many of them.

I love the zinnias at the front of my house. So cheerful! They are multi-colored, some tall, some medium, some short. They shaded the delicate shade-loving impatiens well enough that they are still looking quite nice. However, the zinnias, not so much.

Sad zinnias

Sadder zinnias

As for my tomato garden on the deck, they are done. I am just letting the last crop of tomatoes hang on the sad, brown plants in the hope that they will ripen before they rot. They are almost all Moldovan Green, my favorite tomato, so even though they look very un-ripe, they are not. I brought in two last night, one for supper with my wild salmon, the other one sitting on the counter for today's lunch with some cottage cheese and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.

Sad tomatoes

Sadder tomatoes

A few of my mums made it through the winter, and I notice one is just full of buds. One of these days I will have to tell the ragged looking zinnias that they have served their purpose. I will blow them a kiss and then pull them out to make room for the mums to show off.

Mum budded out - it's having its day.

I planted several lavender plants against the foundation, bought from the booth that sells everything lavender at the market. The owners, Mike and Doreen King of Lakeside Lavender & Herbs, tell me that I need to trim them back this fall. They will be healthier next year if I do so. The smaller ones on the right are best for culinary uses, so they will get extra tender loving care.

Lavender against wall

Culinary lavender, smaller

Even the basil is sad - but this was a GOOD GOOD YEAR FOR BASIL.

There are several perennial herbs hidden among the zinnias that will be useful well into the winter - tarragon, oregano and thyme.

Oh, and I planted potatoes last spring. It's time to go on my potato search. Two organic potatoes yielded eight potato plants. Now if I can just find where to start digging!

Isn't it wonderful what one can do with foundation plantings?

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

The Wheel turns to Mabon - the Second Harvest!

On Friday, September 23, we will be celebrating Mabon – the Autumnal Equinox and Second Harvest on the St. Joe river in my yard in Mishawaka. I know it is a work day for many of you, so 5 pm might be a little early. Come when you can, and we will partake of a potluck supper whenever we reach critical mass.

Our ritual will include putting your veggie offering in the middle of the cast circle, then telling about your garden. Leave a cuke, pick up a potato, leave a melon, pick up a squash! If you don’t have garden produce to bring, recipes for using that garden bounty will be a wonderful addition to the giving table.

I have great mosquito repellent (no Deet, all essential oils and witch hazel), so plan on going down to the river to light a Mabon fire to top off the evening.  

We need new pictures! I don't have anything in my files beyond 2004. Wasn't that a great altar? Thanks to Leann Lawson for that. And we did have some magnificent fires out there!!!

Blessed Be.

Mabon altar at farm - 2004

Mabon fire at farm - 2004

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Fred has taught himself a trick . . .

Fred, a.k.a. Figgy Pudding, doesn't do tricks. Ayn Chee would play fetch with anything, and keep it up for hours! Couldn't get enough. She could also catch treats in mid-air. So can Tashi, although with her cataracts getting worse, she misses about as often as she catches them.

Fred doesn't do fetch. He doesn't catch food, much as he loves it, even when you toss it in the air towards his nose. When I leave the house, I always tell them it's time for their meatball doggy treats, because mom is leaving now. I hold Fred's right up to his mouth and he grabs it. Don't bother to toss it - he won't get it. Tashi's gets tossed to her even though I have to retrieve it from under a table or chair sometimes, and then hand it to her as well.

A couple of days ago, I gave Fred his treat, then tossed Tashi's to her - and then saw Fred throw his from his mouth several feet across the floor. I picked it up, got very close to him and tossed it. He got it.

Surely he didn't throw it across the floor so I would toss it to him the way I toss Tashi's to her. I forgot about it until this moning, when exactly the same thing happened! Fred wants me to toss him his treat, and lest I forget, he tosses it at my feet so that I will pick it up and throw it towards his nose.

Fred has learned a trick. Lo and behold, I think I am falling in love with that little guy.

Tashi and Fred