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Between a fig and a hard place

Our poor little fig tree had an amazing year this year. I suppose it was all the rain. There are more figs on the tree this year than all previous years combined. Or close to it. That tells me that the tree needs to be watered more in drier years. A few of this year's figs on our tree. Bite into one and lose a tooth. I was so happy to see all the fruit and notice that the birds didn't seem to want them. I eagerly awaited harvest time (late summer) and dreamed of fresh fig tarts and eating figs...
Tags: Travel, Charlie Brown, Lucy, WCS, Garden Flowers Plants


The path to nowhere

I mentioned that, last July, I started digging out the rock/concrete border of the little path that makes a useless loop out in the south forty. I was using a pickax. Not fun, and not good for my back. And I didn't get very far before letting the project drop. Before. Last July I pulled up one side of the border on a small section of the path. Look at those tall weeds! Then, last week, the landscape contractor used his mini backhoe and made short work of the entire path, removing the rocks, th...
Tags: Travel, WCS, Garden Flowers Plants


Hazelnuts no more

When we moved into this place a little over eighteen years ago, about a dozen noisettiers (hazelnut trees) lined the northern property line out in what I call the west forty. In the spring of 2013, we had them cut down to hedge height. Before. The dead hazelnuts. A couple of them had been cut down to the roots in recent years. Now, at least half of them have died, likely from the persistent drought conditions that have built in over time. At least, that's the opinion of the landscaper for the ...
Tags: Travel, WCS, Garden Flowers Plants


Carport birch

We have this somewhat rickety old carport out front. It was built by a relative of the neighbors across the road several decades ago. I used to cut and store firewood under it until we got a second car. Now the newer car lives in the garage and the older car stays under the carport. After. The dead tree was just to the right of the carport. At three of the carport's corners, somebody planted trees. One is an ornamental weeping some-kind-of-fruit that makes beautiful pink blossoms in the spring...
Tags: Travel, WCS, Garden Flowers Plants


The north forty

Here's the first of a short series of before-and-after (or after-and-before) photos of the landscaping work. This section of the yard is what I call the north forty because it's just north of the house. The huge juniper and the trio of birch trees grew in the middle, and I had lots of fun mowing around them for the past eighteen years, not to mention picking up fallen birch twigs and branches before mowing and trimming the sides of the juniper once a year or so. After. Wide open space! You can...
Tags: Travel, Ken, WCS, Garden Flowers Plants


The finished garden path

The path's finish layer is gravel, like it was before. This gravel, however, is much smaller than the previous was. It's going to take a while to settle. Tasha's (and our) footprints are obvious. As are the leaves falling from the linden tree. Nothing stays pristine for long. Looking east, toward the house from the back gate. We could have gone with a hard surface (pavers or bricks) for the path. That would have been much easier to keep free of fallen leaves and other debris, but it would prob...
Tags: Travel, WCS, Tasha, Garden Flowers Plants


Steamrolled

This is the rouleau compresseur (roller compactor or road roller) that the contractor used to compress the crushed granite layer in the garden path. Once that was done, he started pouring the gravel on top (picture coming soon), then compacted that. Et voilà, the path was done. The crushed granite looks like concrete. The finish layer is made from small brown pebbles. Another thing he did on Wednesday was to rip up that little garden path I've been bitching about for years now. It serves no pu...
Tags: Travel, WCS, Garden Flowers Plants


The path to victory

The yard work continued on Tuesday and the entire garden path got scraped down by about six inches. Then a layer of anti-weed fabric went down, topped with a base layer of crushed granite (at least that's what they called it). The main garden path, halfway through the scraping. It all looked pretty spiffy at this point, but there was more to do. As it got late, the guys stopped work on the path and took the backhoe thing back over to where they had removed the juniper on Monday. Within thirty ...
Tags: Travel, WCS, Tasha, Garden Flowers Plants


Hedges are done

The guys arrived on Tuesday morning and finished trimming the hedges pretty quickly. Then they took down two of the dead birches (two more to go!) and sawed them into lengths I can burn in the wood stove. Then the heavy equipment was delivered. The hedges are done for another year. The heavy equipment being unloaded out back. Heavy might not be the right word. The front loader/backhoe, steam roller, and mobile bucket all look like they're the size of Tonka trucks. They fit right in with the sm...
Tags: Travel, WCS, Hedges, Tonka, Garden Flowers Plants


As easy as 1, 2, 3

The landscapers showed up on time Monday morning. Yay! They started working on trimming the hedges. When the boss arrived about a half an hour later, he and I did a tour of the yard to review what was being done. We added a couple of things that will help me out with other projects (among them, ripping out the little garden path). The boss (in green) cut the branches with a small chainsaw. First he cut a slice, like a piece of pie. Then he got the other guys off the hedge and they attacked the...
Tags: Travel, WCS, Garden Flowers Plants


The day before, episode two

Dare I think it? That the landscape contractor will actually show up tomorrow morning as promised? Promised "without fail" in fact. The weather is good and will be for a couple of days. Oh please, oh please! The real fake well. It's not part of the project. At least I managed to cut away the dead clary sage plants. We've been waiting for nearly a year. I've put off a lot of maintenance work out there thinking that there was no point since a lot will be torn up in the project. As a consequence,...
Tags: Travel, WCS, Garden Flowers Plants


The garden plot

This is the state of the vegetable garden as we move toward winter. I still need to pull the zucchini plants out. And those cosmos will come out, too, as they begin to die. The greens, kale and chard, will stay and hopefully produce a crop later this fall. They like the chilly weather. What's left of the 2021 vegetable garden. I took the trellis fence down as I do every year, but this time I also took the posts out. I'm thinking I'll move the trellis further into the plot (as opposed to along ...
Tags: Travel, WCS, Garden Flowers Plants


Needless to say...

The landscape contractor didn't show up yesterday. I sent him an email mid-morning that included his original statement that they'd be here on the 4th. Last evening, he answered. He said he was sorry, but they already had an appointment for the 4th. Yeah, I thought, mine! So he says they'll be here next Monday sans faute (without fail). You'll forgive me if I don't hold my breath. This was about a week ago. I noticed another few hours of hand-picking going on in the vineyards out back yesterda...
Tags: Travel, WCS, The Vineyard, Garden Flowers Plants


Jerusalem artichokes

I'm sure it's because of all the rain we've had that the Jerusalem artichokes are doing very well this year, especially those on the west side of the garden shed (to the left in the photo). In dry years, I don't water over there very much and the plants produce many fewer flowers. This year, you can see the difference that water makes. Once the cracks are patched, I should probably consider a paint job. The cracks on either side of the door are supposed to be patched as part of our deck renova...
Tags: Travel, Jerusalem, WCS, Garden Flowers Plants


The artichokes are done

I'll cut these down soon and add them to the yard waste pile. But I'm enjoying their "last stand." They look like medieval torture instruments. Or triffids. Not long ago, these were bright green with deep blue flowers. Thursday turned out to be another very nice day (after a chilly morning) and I got the west forty mowed. All that's left is the north forty and I'm planning to do that today. The weather is expected to change over the weekend so, at least for now, the grass will be cut. It could...
Tags: Travel, WCS, Garden Flowers Plants


The last of the hydrangeas

Our hydrangeas still have a couple of flower heads with color. Most have faded to white. I'll be pruning them back once the leaves fall. Our hydrangea flowers are pink and purple. I've tried to get that elusive blue with no luck. They're still pretty. I pushed myself and got the south forty mowed yesterday afternoon. It looks much better. I'm planning to do the west forty today, then the north forty on Friday. The weather is good so I need to "make hay" while the sun shines, as they say. I can...
Tags: Travel, WCS, The Vineyard, Garden Flowers Plants


Faded flowers

As it does at the end of every summer, our daisy patch has gone from vibrant yellow, white, and green to a ghostly brown. The flower stalks stand in the garden like otherworldly sentinels of doom. They'll remain until I cut them down to prepare for spring's new growth. A dead head, grateful or otherwise. Today is the first day of astronomical autumn. That is, it is the season that begins with the autumnal equinox, one of two days each year when the amount of daylight is equal to the amount of ...
Tags: Travel, Wikipedia, WCS, Garden Flowers Plants


Fading color

These are the hortensias (hydrangeas) that I grew from cuttings many years ago. There were four, but the other two did not survive in their location on the other side of the garage door. Now we have an aucuba there. It's holding on, but not thriving. There's still a little color left in the hydrangea flowers, but it's fading fast. When the leaves fall, it will be time to prune the stems back for the winter. Hydrangeas under the garage window. If you look closely, you can see a board leaning up...
Tags: Travel, WCS, Bert, Garden Flowers Plants


The (garden) party is over

Our 2021 vegetable garden is almost a memory. There are still zukes, kale, and chard growing (sort of). On Wednesday, I cut all the weeds down with the mower after piling up the pulled plants and some trimmings and tree branches (that were piled in the garden path). I'll get rid of those later. Tasha "helps" with the garden cleanup. The plot will have to be tilled up at some point and I'll probably have to mow it again before that happens. And, in accordance with the laws of the universe, the ...
Tags: Travel, WCS, Tasha, Garden Flowers Plants


The last of the tomatoes

This year's tomato harvest is over, at least in our vegetable garden. I picked the last decent-looking toms on Monday and pulled the plants out of the ground. They (the tomatoes) will go into a meat sauce for today's pasta lunch, I think. The last of the Mohicans tomatoes. Yesterday I took down the trellis fence at the back of the garden plot. I planted climbing peas and beans there last spring but didn't have much luck with them. Quelle surprise. I also pulled the fence supports out of the ...
Tags: Travel, WCS, Quelle, Garden Flowers Plants


Change is our friend

In this case. The cabernet, côt, and gamay grapes are starting to turn color. That means they're ripening. I wonder how much they will ripen if the weather gets cold again. Not that it's hot now, but it's pleasantly warm and dry (even though we had an unexpected rain shower yesterday). I saw a tractor out in the vineyards yesterday trimming the vines. I think they need to do that to keep the vines ventilated and as part of the preparation for harvest time. "Red" grapes go from green to purple ...
Tags: Travel, Ken, WCS, The Vineyard, Garden Flowers Plants


Setting seed

Our artichokes are doing their late summer thing. The flowers are faded and the seeds are emerging. Like many members of the thistle family, the artichoke's seeds fly away on feathery parachutes. One year, we found an artichoke plant sprouted from a seed that fell in our garden path. The artichoke flowers have dried up and are beginning to release their seeds. If my favorite weather web site is correct (ha!), we have a few days of warm and sunny weather ahead. As I predicted, removal of the so...
Tags: Travel, WCS, Garden Flowers Plants


Regaining control

I took the first step in getting this year's vegetable garden back under control on Saturday. The tomatoes are a lost cause and the beans are done. We still may get a few zukes, and we're trying to keep the kale and chard going for a fall crop. We intentionally planted them along the edge of the plot with this in mind. The sorry state of the 2021 vegetable garden. So, what I did was take out the soaker hose. And yes, I realize that probably means we'll have sunny and dry weather until winter. ...
Tags: Travel, Ken, WCS, Garden Flowers Plants


Cosmos

I planted some decorative flowers in this year's vegetable garden. Namely, cosmos and flax. None of the flax seeds sprouted, but the cosmos came up and now it's flowering. A bright spot in the disaster that is this year's potager, for sure. An insect on a cosmos petal. The flowers are white, purple, and red. I need to give them some water today; we're in a dry spell. Imagine! [Author: wcs]
Tags: Travel, WCS, Garden Flowers Plants


Bring me some figgy pudding

Perhaps it's a little to early for that. But the news is that our little fig tree is covered in figs for the first time. Ever. Oh, we've had a few figs over the years, but nothing like what this year promises. Time will tell if the promise will be kept. A couple of the figs on our tree. They're still small and not yet ripe. We planted the fig back in 2006, fifteen years ago! It froze to the ground in 2012, but came back from the roots the next spring. Fig crops have been meager, at best. Our r...
Tags: Travel, WCS, Garden Flowers Plants


Good for your heart

I was surprised to see how many beans there were in this third harvest from the garden. Even with all the weeds, the beans produced a fantastic crop this year. With all the rain we had, though, I didn't put in a second and third crop, so this may be it for the season. But that's ok. A wok full of yellow and green beans from the garden. There were even more beans than you see in this photo. Ken steamed a batch that we ate two ways: the first was warm as a side dish and the second was a cold thr...
Tags: Travel, Ken, WCS, Garden Flowers Plants, Food And Cooking


It's just one of those years

I picked these tomatoes yesterday. They're small, and there aren't very many. I threw a bunch of rotting toms away. Even the zucchinis have slowed way down. This year's vegetable garden has really suffered from the cold and wet conditions that we've had all season. Except for now. We're in a heat spell. If it continues to be warm and dry, maybe we'll get some more. A meager harvest from 18 tomato plants. I still haven't finished cutting the grass. In the morning, the heavy dew discourages me. ...
Tags: Travel, WCS, Garden Flowers Plants


Cactus flowers

I believe this is a variety of "prickly pear" cactus, given to us by a friend many years ago. It's blooming right now. Le monde entier est un cactus. The expected warm-up predicted for this week has -- wait for it -- fizzled. We got up to the mid 20sC yesterday, the low 70sF. Not exactly summery, especially for late July. Now it's going to cool down again. And more rain is predicted for the weekend. Lovely. Maybe it will warm up for Halloween. [Author: wcs]
Tags: Travel, WCS, Garden Flowers Plants


Beans

I picked the first batch of beans from the vegetable garden this week. There are more green beans than yellow so far. I should get at least one more batch like this, maybe more, in the coming week or so. Weeds were choking the plants, but I pulled many of them out to help with air circulation and sunlight (when there is sun) and the beans responded. Fresh green and yellow beans from the garden. The zukes are producing a couple of squash every few days and they're good. I've seen a lot of tomat...
Tags: Travel, WCS, Garden Flowers Plants


And speaking of daisies

These are some domesticated standard garden variety daisies in our yard. We have a patch (un massif ?) that comes back every year. They're about three feet tall and look wonderful when they flower. Once the flowers fade they look a little sad, then in the fall they turn brown and die back. I have to cut and remove the dead stems before they re-sprout the following spring. Daisies in the garden. We're expecting some rain today. We'll see how much we get. I may have to turn on the soaker hose fo...
Tags: Travel, WCS, Garden Flowers Plants



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