Thursday, October 31, 2013

Fall back! Fall back!

Daylight savings time is nearly at an end.  The kids get to trick-or-treat a little bit later than they did in my day, which is good because neither of us get home until after 5 PM.  With the sun setting before 7 PM now, there's precious little time for us to get to see the little goblins. 

I sent Broccoli Boy to the grocery store solo the other day.  He bought way too much candy, 2 bags each of Milky Ways, Kit Kats, and Reeses' Peanut Butter Cups.  Maybe he subconciously decided that he'd give the kids double the amount of candy since last year's trick-or-treating was effectively nixed by "Superstorm" Sandy (that bitch).  At least he bought candy that we like.

My favorite holiday and I did nothing to decorate for it this year, too damned tired to manage to do all of the stuff I have to do let alone the things I want to do.  I figure bribing the kids with chocolate to ignore my lack of spooky will have to do.

I've got the better part of 50 Allium moly "Jeannette" bulbs to finish interring into the ground before it freezes.  Hard to believe because the next couple days are going to be in the high 60's before taking a swing back down to the mid 50's on Sunday.  No worries, it gives me time to rescue some more ripe tomatoes and peppers off the vine before we get a hard frost.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose

Totally in a rut.  It's wake up, commute to work, eat breakfast, work some more, eat lunch, work some more, commute home, eat dinner, watch some toob, sleep.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Do you believe in magic?

Planted a bunch of bulbs* and astilbe roots over the weekend.  Won't know what the garden will look like until spring.   Though I know the biology of how these plants come up in spring, I like to think of it as magic.

Scilla siberica
Ornithogalum nutans "Silver Bells" & Ornithogalum balansae
Narcissus poeticus "Angel Eyes"
Allium moly "Jeannine"

Thursday, October 24, 2013

First Frost

I had to scrape frost off my windshield this morning.  Winter Is Coming.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

October weekend chores

  1. Plant assorted narcissus and allium bulbs & astilbe tubers.
  2. Cut down spent foliage - I'm looking at you lobelia, hosta, and ornamental grasses!
  3. Harvest last-of-the-season tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, & potatoes.
  4. Pull up bindweed & other weeds.
  5. Finish spreading the pile of hemlock mulch that's been sitting in the driveway for a year.
  6. Cut down and fertilize asparagus bed (weed out the females?)

Do I even bother to put up Halloween decorations at this late date??

Monday, October 21, 2013

The Good-for-Nothing Garden

This man pretty much shares my philosophy about working and gardening:

“I suffer from an illness,” Mr. Golden said. “If I want a certain plant, I’ll get it, unless it costs thousands of dollars. It’s one reason I’m still working and not fully retired.”

 MICHAEL TORTORELLO  Published: October 16, 2013

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

There's a chill in the air, and something simmering in the pot

Another box of bulbs came in, I will try to get them in on Friday before I head up to the beautiful Berkshire Mountains.  MIL insists I bring my camera - can't promise I'll get any pictures though.

This time of year is great, because it is the time at which I can be most frugal with the food budget.  I buy big cuts of chewy meat on the cheap and cook them slowly to tender perfection.  Whole roast chickens feed us for days, and even the bones do not go to waste.  This is soup season, my friends. 

My usual lineup of soups include: chicken (Polish style with garlic and dill), beef barley, minestrone, split pea, beef vegetable

Stewed/braised meals include chicken paprikasz (I use bone-in chicken thighs), beef stroganoff, & Yankee pot roast (using chuck roast - bone in if I can find it).  Pork shoulder (again, bone-in if possible - sensing a theme?) is a favorite all year long.  I'll also make a big pot of Bolognaise sauce which is good for a quick evening meal of pasta and Italian sausage.

Monday, October 14, 2013

October to-do list

Cut down grasses along driveway

Plant muscari bulbs in front walk bed between hostas

Pack up cured gladiolus corms

Pack up cured calla lily tubers

Trim dead foliage off of leucanthoe, hostas, lobelias, lungworts

Notes for spring: move Drift roses, cut back overgrown azaleas after bloom, monitor leucanthoe

Friday, October 11, 2013

October stuff

I end up doing the same thing in the fall as I do in the spring, which is purge and clean.  I purged my closets a bit and put a bag of clothes out for donation pickup this morning.  The gym at work is doing a shoe drive, so I'm working on also culling any shoes that don't fit well anymore. After helping out getting a friend set up for his yard sale on Saturday (it's looking like the weather MIGHT cooperate), I've got to get into the garden. 

I've got 3 hellebore bare roots, 4 coreopsis, and a MYSTERY Priority Mail box which I think might be some of my bulbs from John Scheepers.  I say might because UPS isn't registering the tracking numbers that Scheepers is giving me for my 2 orders.  They start with an S so I think that's Smartpost which is basically a drop-ship to the USPS for delivery to my home. 

I'm supposed to be getting a milkweed Asclepias tuberosa (aka Butterfly plant) in a shipment today.  My effort to help the Monarch butterfly population.  Purple blazing star is estimated to come between 10/22/13 and 11/12/13.  English primrose and astilbe grab bag delivery estimate is 11/07/13-11/28/13.  Yeah, way to go Michigan Bulb - I'll be freezing my ass off putting those in if they come near the end of that estimate.

Ornamental grasses need to be cut down, they're looking quite scraggly after the rainy summer and early fall.  Dying foliage on the hostas and other perennials needs to be cleaned up as well.  I think I can still move some irises around.  The columbine I tried moving seems to not have liked the rough treatment I gave it - ah well, they multiply pretty readily anyway.  I'll be digging up the calla lilies too.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

October nights

Was outside last night just long enough to break a sweat, and for Broccoli Boy to get a mosquito bite (unseasonably warm this early October is).

Moved the misplaced epimediums, put in veronicas, and we'll see if the blue columbine I moved (way too tall for where it was living - now you can see the autumn crocus that was planted on the slope above it) will survive.  BB helped me water in the plants.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The madness begins

I left work early knowing I had a shipment of plants coming in.  Rather than finding one box on my porch last evening as I expected, there were four.  Broccoli Boy had arrived home moments before me and gave me that look that Ricky used to give Lucy, and said "What did you do, Ray?"   Yup, there were three shipments I wasn't aware of - some of these online nurseries have much to be desired in letting you know when your stuff has been released for shipment.  *grumble*

I worked outside from 5:45 until the sun set at 7 PM, unboxed everything; dug up gladiolus bulbs for the winter; I put in 6 cherry hearts epimedium (in the wrong spot - DOH!), 1 pink muhly grass, 1 blue sapphire hens & chicks & 1 dragon's blood sedum (free gifts), and 3 blue queen salvia; then watered everything in.

I've still got 10 plants - 6 veronicas and 4 coreopsis - that I need to try to get in tonight - the calla lilies need to be dug up since the coreopsis is going in near there.  The veronicas will go in around the andromeda where I mistakenly put in the epimediums.  Makes life a little easier since I already dug up the area.  The epimediums will be moved to flank a small hydrangea in a somewhat shady spot on the front wall under the cherry tree.

After I was done, Broccoli Boy broke out the sprinkler and watered in the Weed & Feed since we haven't had rain since I spread it on Sunday.  I hate to use the stuff, but we had 2 bags in the shed left over and I didn't want it to totally go to waste.  We will not be buying it in the future.