autumnal

This weekend has been chock full of the autumn weather that makes this my favorite season. Saturday I spent the morning in the garden, planting the last of the bulbs and seeds I’d ordered and cleaning up. Karl mowed the back yard and it’s looking pretty nice back there. The marigolds I planted from seed are still growing new blossoms that haven’t even opened yet!

marigolds still going apeshit

I’d planned on pulling out the tomato plants, but they are still going strong with ripening fruit, so I left them in for now.

tomatoes

I’ve obviously missed a few that are now hanging around on the ground, but I’m not too bothered.

I thought this dead allium looked neat:

dead allium

We put out our Halloween yard decor, which is more minimal than most in the sub:

our Halloween decor

Today I whipped up a quick Halloween shift dress for Willow, put on her kitty ears, and took her out into the back gardens for some photos:

Willow in the garden

These cabbages got surrounded by weeds and grew up very tall and odd. Now they are like Seussian trees for Willow to hang out in.

These crazy tall cabbages are like Seussian trees

These two pumpkins came off the vine today.

two pumpkins!

Yay for fall! More photos on Flickr.

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update of late

We’ve been getting a lot of rain lately, and the temperatures have been not as hot as usual. Things are growing, though, and I expect it’ll get hotter now that August is almost here.

I planted marigold seeds along the fence-side bed in the spring, and they are really coming into bloom now.

fence-side bed

You can see that I alternated different types – I didn’t realize that some of them would be gigantic! The sections that don’t have blooms at calf-level have marigold plants that are easily three feet tall or taller. They’re starting to bloom, too, though they are behind the others by a week or more (by my guess).

marigold

I planted some mixed seeds in the very small, sort of awkward bed by the driveway, and lo and behold, there are both cosmos and sunflowers blooming there.

sunflowers and cosmos

sunflower

cosmos

I also have a few varieties of sunflowers in the back yard, but they aren’t blooming yet:

fence-side bed

They are surrounded by this mint, which, as it will, is huge and spreads a little more each year. I’ll probably have to cut it back next year, but for this year, it’s filled in a weird bed that I don’t know what else to do with, so I’m going with it.

In the back garden, the mason bee house has gained a few more residents:

mason bee house

The left-hand column is mostly filled with actual mason bees (as far as I know, though I didn’t see them all go in to know for sure), but the others seem to be stuffed with straw – perhaps birds are the culprits?

The tomatoes are growing, though not ripe yet:

black krim tomato

fox cherry tomato

and the squash are still going:

buttercup squash

baby pam squash

I think that largest squash might be ready pretty soon.

I also got some more really good deals at Lowe’s. They keep marking things down – hooray! I added ten Royal Candles Speedwell plants to the front yard:

front yard

Also in the front yard, my Black Knight Butterfly Bush is blooming, tiny as it may be:

black knight butterfly bush

Back to the bargains, I also got some Giles Van Hess Speedwell:

Giles Van Hess Speedwell

and some Munstead Red Stonecrop:

Munstead Red Stonecrop

That will apparently flower in red, and the foliage turns reddish, too. I’ll look forward to seeing what it looks like.

Finally, because I can’t resist, an obligatory adorable dog photo (Brodie sleeping):

Brodie all snugged up

More photos on Flickr.

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rainy day-ny

It rained almost all day today and while I was mostly aware of that through my office window, when I got home I noticed that things are just freaking gorgeous in the back veg garden! I threw on my gardening boots and took a quick trip through the main back veg garden.

primary veg garden

The wintercreeper is slowly growing up the back fence – I can’t wait until the fence is hidden behind plant-green instead of icky old green paint. It was all I could do not to just yank this iceberg lettuce out of the ground and eat it right on the spot.

iceberg lettuce

One of the beans I planted is flowering already! They haven’t grown very high and I’m wondering if they should be flowering at this height. They were seeds leftover from last year and I’m not sure if they were still 100%.

bean blossom

The sugar snap peas are also blossoming.

sugar snap pea

As are the golden sweet snow peas, which are also already making pea pods!

golden sweet snow pea

I can’t wait till the peas grow more and I can eat some of these off the vine. So, so delicious. The hyssop is starting to flower, too, and will hopefully be attracting pollinators like crazy pretty soon. I love how the purple flowers set off the slight silver-y-ness of the foliage.

hyssop

More photos on Flickr, of course.

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did I leave the gas on?

No, I’m a fucking squirrel.

squirrel eating a maple tree whirligig in the front yard

This little guy was hanging out on the front garden today, eating maple tree whirligigs. I say, eat up! Just go poo somewhere else so the seeds don’t take – we already have an army of seedlings growing out there.

Life’s been really busy the past couple weeks! I haven’t posted nearly as much as I’d planned to, so here’s to catching up.

The common mullen that I’ve let go next to the front door has gotten huge and is starting to flower:

common mullen

common mullen

I realize that mullen is generally thought of as a weed, but it’s helping keep the yucky yucca at bay (not entirely, of course, but somewhat) and I was kind of curious to see how big it might get. From what I’ve read online, it is a biennial, so it’ll die after it blooms this year anyway. Apparently if you crush the leaves, you can use the sap to treat insect bites. I haven’t tried that yet.

This week I came home from work one day to find that the twelve purple leaf plum hedge shrubs I planted had been pulled out of the ground and were scattered on the neighbor’s driveway. I suspect, though the adult neighbor denies it, that their evil spawn did it. They leave him unattended all the time and the whole family seems to be lacking in the smarts department. I would not put it past them to lie to my face. Anyway, I soaked the roots and replanted them. Hopefully they’ll still survive.

purple leaf plum hedge along the side of the house

In happier news, a bunch of the things I planted from seed up front are sprouting! We’ve got black hollyhock:

black hollyhock

(thanks to Charli for those seeds!), a large area where I mixed several kinds of seeds – white swan echinacea, creeping baby’s breath, a white flower mixture (thanks to Charli for all three of those!) and purple dark opal basil:

mixed seeds: white swan echinacea, dark opal basil, creeping baby's breath, white flower mixture

borage:

borage

and bee’s friend:

bee's friend

The edibles I planted up front are also sprouting. I’ve got alternating red velvet lettuce:

red velvet lettuce

and mammoth red rock cabbage along the front walkway:

mammoth red rock cabbage

I also planted some Sunberry seeds along the neighbor’s driveway, but I haven’t seen any evidence of them sprouting yet. We’ll see.

So those are today’s photos. On to older ones. Last weekend K hung the bat house on the side of the garage – it only took us a year to actually put it up!

bat house

We painted it black last year, so hopefully it will get nice and toasty and attract plenty of bats. We hung it high (it’s actually over a window – which K repaired the screen in before hanging the house – he was able to insert some 2×4 pieces into the window cavity so we had a nice solid place to mount it), which bats will apparently be attracted to as well. Our neighbors have about six hundred bird baths and other surfaces in which they allow water to stand so it would be awesome to have some bats in the ‘hood to eat up all the mosquitoes that breed next door.

Lots of the veggies in the back garden are growing like mad, which you can check out on Flickr. I’m mildly concerned that something is snacking on some of my potato leaves

is something eating my potato leaves?

Ants, maybe? There’s not a lot of damage yet, but if anyone has any tips, I’d love to hear them.

In totally non-garden-related news, we’re doing a kind of neat project for the summer at the ‘brary. Our theme for summer reading is Get Creative @ Your Library, and staff members can volunteer to create something which will then be raffled off to patrons who participate in summer reading. I decided to make a Grumpasaurus, who I have dubbed Grumpasaurus II: Electric Grumpaloo

Grumpasaurus

I made him a little bigger than the original Grumpasaurus, who still lives in my office:

Grumpasauri

I tried to make G II a little less sinister-looking than the original, and I also played around with his spikes a little, making them bigger at the top. Hopefully someone will want him!

more photos at Flickr

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Sunday, Sunday

I managed to get some more gardening in today before the rainstorm came in (seems like we have one a day lately) and I put in a bunch more veg seeds, including celery, two kinds of lettuce, three kinds of carrots, broccoli, and cabbage.

back veggie garden

While I was doing that, K was mowing the back yard, which had gotten very tufty. It’s mostly weed grass which seems to grow extremely rapidly.

hangin' in the freshly cut lawn

The dogs love the freshly cut grass, despite the multitude of bumps and lumps in the yard (we theorize that the previous owners buried bodies back there). Logan especially took advantage:

Logan trolling for a bellyrub

She’s so coy, as if it’s possible to resist her pleas for a bellyrub anyway.

I also planted some sunflowers, corn, and potatoes (K helped!) in the fence-side veg bed.

fence-side veg bed

All of this before the rainstorm! I’m feeling pretty good about having gotten this stuff done today, though I’ll be even happier when things start sprouting.

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herbs planted

The weather has been unable to make up its mind today. It started out gorgeous, sunny and very warm, and then it rained a little, and then it was overcast but warm and dry, and then a huge storm blew in, and within 20 minutes it was done. Now the sun is mildly shining and birds are chirping again. I went out into the garden/yard at least three separate times, but in the end I did get one projcect done.

I pulled out a ton of chickweed and other weeds in the odd little bed between the driveway and the neighbor’s fence.

herb bed between the driveway and the neighbor's fence

The bed was also pretty overgrown onto the driveway, so I pushed it back to the boundary it should have, and planted seeds for a number of herbs including Fine Verde Basil, Thyme, Oregano Vulgare, Parker’s Variety Yarrow, and Colorado Yarrow Mix. I also threw in a random packet of wildflower seeds I had lying around. We’ll see what takes!

More photos on Flickr.

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Greens Cowl

greens cowl

I’ve been experiencing a chill at work lately, and my neck always seems to be one of the coldest parts of me (perhaps because it is kind of long?). Scarves are good, but I have a lot of them already and decided that a cowl might be a good alternate way to go.

I had a random skein of some colorful yarn sitting around so I started a basic feather and fan stitch pattern, and I think it turned out pretty well. The yarn is really soft and drapes nicely. Green is not a color I’d usually go for, but I think this actually looks pretty good.

More details on Ravelry (free account required)

More photos on Flickr

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inauguration day

DSC00513.JPG

Today’s inauguration was so inspiring to me. I was at work and watched the footage on TV with some of my coworkers and could really feel the excitement and emotion in the room. People kept randomly bursting out with joyful laughter and catching their breath and wiping away tears. Listening to President Obama is so inspiring. Beside the fact that he is truly a great orator, he also expressed so many things that I’d been hoping to hear. He didn’t sugarcoat the state of things, which it seems to me might have been tempting given how fucking exciting today is. He also touched on a number of points that I’d hoped he would. Here are a few highlights:

“On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics….What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them— that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply.” Hear, hear!

“For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus — and non-believers.” He mentioned the non-believers!

“As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals.” YES!

photo by Justin Masterson
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Thermosave curtains

We have a not-particularly-new sliding glass door in our den, a door which is also not particularly energy efficient. In the winter months, you can feel the cold air when you get remotely near it. We’d love to replace it and will eventually, but in the meantime we just replaced the old vertical blinds (bleh!) with some new curtains.

Thermosave curtains

They are Thermosave curtains which are designed to have insulating properties and theoretically will help us save money on our heating bills. You can tell that we put them up just before taking these photos, as they are still pretty wrinkled as pictured (the wrinkles are working themselves out as they hang).

Thermosave curtains

We got inspired by Coddington Design and bought a big ol’ curtain rod at Joann (hooray for 50% off sale + 10% additional off coupon! We actually saved more than we spent on this) and, shockingly, we were able to use some of the same screw holes that already existed for the vertical blinds. That never happens! I’m not the biggest fan of the grommets on these curtains, but they do blend in mostly and these curtains were the best deal, all things considered (insulating properties, size, style, color, price).

Thermosave curtains

We still want to paint this back room and now that we’ve commited to curtain fabric color, perhaps we can pick out some paint. There’s also no overhead lighting in the den, which we intend to remedy eventually (there’s no overlead lighting in the living room, either, and we’d like to have an electrician do a couple of other little projects when we have him out – another thing to get around to). Hooray for home improvement.

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