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Sunday, October 31, 2010

What To Do With Your Dormant Beds? Happy Halloween!

As usual, we've procrastinated until the last minute to get the Halloween decorations up. Like, did it today. I cleaned out the two beds in the parking strip and thought, "hmmm, those look like cat-proofed graves."

So, we dug out the scant Halloween decorations purchased last week and I planted head stones and faux bones in them. Of course, the bones are Styrofoam, otherwise they would add some calcium to the soil. But I did chop in the old pea and bean remnants for nitrogen. Spiderwebs went up the Cathedral to the peas for that extra Gothic touch.

Now, our wacky weather has totally confused some of the crops. Since one of the remaining zucchinis is still blooming and producing fruit, I left it. I figure it's a built-in pumpkin patch of sorts. We're still getting ripe tomatoes, for Pete's sake.

We put candles in front of the tomb stones so when it got dark, trick-or-treaters can see them. We've been getting all sort of compliments from the parental units as they bring their costumed charges by. The cats have scattered, but the coons show up between door bell rings. Being masked bandits, they fit in with the street crowd. They're always greedy for cat food and are professional tricksters for their stolen treats. I wouldn't be surprised if one of them didn't mug one of the little kids for their candy.

So, if your beds are out where the public can see them, be creative in ways to spruce them up for holidays. Maybe I'll wrap them like giant presents for the holidays. Roland suggested graves for Santa and his elves. Sick. Hmmmm. I do like Edward Gorey.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Rain, Rain, Go Away! And Take the Spiders With You

Well, despite the cold, wet summer, my tomatoes have finally started to ripen - in October! We replaced the cloche plastic for now, just to keep the rain off of them. Unfortunately, I've been picking the larger varieties in threesies every week; not enough to go through the trouble to make into a sauce as the previous harvest goes bad by the time the new one is ready. We've been eating them like apples.

We've had a brief window of fairly nice weather at the beginning of this month. I've taken advantage of it to do some fall harvesting in general and clean out some beds.

We harvested 11 pounds of potatoes out of one of our claw foot tubs, which I think is a respectable amount. I managed to stab just a few with the garden fork while digging them out. The marigolds loved the tub, so I planted them back in after the potatoes were removed.

We also harvested quite a few onions. And after letting them cure under the cover of the front porch, I've braided the stems together and have them hanging in the kitchen to store.

Now, it has started to rain AGAIN. In fact, it rained hard all last night. My zucchinis have a terrible case of powdery mildew, so I have written them off now. My sugar pumpkins haven't fared much better, but the pumpkins attached are still green. One is just starting to turn green. I don't care about the Halloween thing, I just want to make pumpkin pie.

Other crops have done well in this type of Purple Sprouting broccoli.

There seems to be an over abundance of spiders this year. I guess it's a sign of fall. There's nothing like a 'Hairy Wappler' staring at you from in the bath tub. It seems that every time I walk out the door and down the front steps, I run into at least one web. I then do the 'get the spider outa my hair' jig, wildly flailing my hands around me head while my eyes are cross-eyed. I have past trauma with spiders, you know. One time, when I was a kid, I climbed through a coral fence and my head smacked into a web. When I stood up, the spider was hanging right between my eyes! I yelped so loud, my horse thought the world was about to end. It was, for me. It probably was for the spider too.

The sunflower blooms are getting smaller and smaller now. Roland has harvested some of the seed for next year, and the squirrels are harvesting the seed for whenever. I suspect the whole neighborhood will have an abundance of sunflowers next summer.

Our dog, Snorky, practically bursts an artery when he sees a squirrel outside. He spends a good part of the day looking out the front window for squirrels. Walks consist of squirrel patrols. Lately, walks have been short because of the rainy weather. Squirrels are smart enough to at least stay out of the rain as we don't see any while we're dumb enough to be in it.

Not that I'm not a north-westerner. I've lived with this kind of weather my whole life. Now I'm sick of it. Normally I love the fall when we get Indian summers and the air is crisp and clear and the leaves are drop-dead gorgeous. There's something about the gray weather that just deadens the colors though. The leaves droop or just fall off before you can appreciate their beauty. Which is why I don't plant tulips for spring. But that's another story.