Watch it with the feet! Sunday, Sep 21 2014 

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A denizen of the woods. He and his kind have vanished into the leaves for the most part now; but I did disturb the cutest (and very put out) little tree frog the other day…in the pole beans! I had quite the time picking around him.

Rule, Britannia! Friday, Sep 19 2014 

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I love Scotland, but the British Empire more.  Now, if they can just solve their very real problems….

(yes, I hit the ‘refresh’ button all night on my computer!)

Now what? Thursday, Sep 18 2014 

One very dead Japanese Maple removed, possibly killed drought/winter stress/serious rot and hopefully not Verticillum Wilt*

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Those leaves aren’t supposed to be a crispy brown.

But now what? The space has an entirely different feel to it, the beanpole locust in the background is suddenly prominent, as is the Sugar Maple. The paths, which bent at the tree, don’t quite make sense anymore and there is a whole lot more sun, and more distance.  This will take some consideration.

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*The state lab isn’t exactly helpful on the subject: ‘We can’t test dead wood’…well, the whole tree is dead, so what exactly can you test?

Grapes Tuesday, Sep 16 2014 

A lot of home grown produce tastes better than that from the store: garlic, onions, squash, chard, etc, etc.*  I didn’t expect the difference to be so great with grapes though.  Silly that.

Our young Concord Seedless set a fair number of bunches this year. Now granted, they are the size of garden peas, but the taste! Very close (and this year better than) the wild Concord.  Hard to describe, but not anything like the grapes one finds in the store. Spicy and sweet, but without that overload of Sugar.  It is the spice which is missing from the store bought grapes.

I suppose that they would make excellent jelly, and if the bunches were full size, that would be an option.  But seeing as they are small….I’ll blame their disappearance on the catbirds :)

 

*Not always: sweet potatoes have failed rather badly for us. As, bizarrely, do cucumbers. Spinach is an utter disaster.

The Yellow Pot Monday, Sep 15 2014 

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I know, I know, no content here! The big garden and its pot, amazing how a focal point brings it all together.

Random Photo Saturday, Sep 13 2014 

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From some time ago (it is 50, raining, and dark): the lily is ‘Black Beauty’ and about as extreme a form as you can get it seems to me!

Volunteers Thursday, Sep 11 2014 

Nice to have…

In this case, a whacking great clump of white phlox.  In the vegetable garden of course….  Maybe next spring I’ll divide it? It is a tall, late white, with good mildew resistance.  What more does one want? (It is at least in a pre-arranged spot, that little yellow black-eyed susan down at the bottom? In a row of baby kale!

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Plant Identification Wednesday, Sep 10 2014 

I am hopeless at it, mostly because I never bring a guide with me and never bring the plant back.  (Trees are easy, I’m contemplating all those herbaceous things!)

Still, there is some learning going on.  Flat-topped goldenrod for example, has leaves that look more like a slightly overgrown tarragon than a goldenrod.  The beautiful wild blue relative of our fall garden asters has smooth leaves that feel like kid leather; it looks very weedy indeed…until now, when its color has the cultivated varieties well and truly beat. Blue wood aster has slightly paler, yellow leaves than the more common white wood aster, and a more pronounced notch at the base. Grey goldenrod has leaves that look almost like a sage leaf, but without the pebbly texture. The calico asters, with their thousands of little flowers, are very stiff, with lots of little branches and leaves.  One of the goldenrods that bloom all along the stems has a beautiful purple stem, the other doesn’t. The purple one has better form (and naturally is not growing in an area that is likely for long term survival: south of the barn where I must, must, do some weed whacking). And so forth.  The goal, of course, is to be able to edit the meadow lawn areas correctly in the spring.  For example, now that I know the difference between the flat-topped goldenrod and the regular goldenrod, I can remove the latter and keep the former in one area where the flat-topped type gives the right look.  (besides being rarer) Thankfully, because I didn’t know what the weird tarragon like thing was this spring (though clearly Not tarragon) and did remember that it was where the flat-topped goldenrod had been I didn’t pull all of it…quite!

Some things are easy: yarrow, one of the black-eyed susans (the felt leaved one that blooms all summer and the deer Love, naturally)

On Turkey Vultures Monday, Sep 8 2014 

I love Turkey Vultures.  Rather weird I know. I’m actually not that interested with all the little song birds, hawks are cool, as are owls, but the vultures…

I suppose it comes from so many chances to watch them in flight, as they were the other day. Playing off a fast rising thunderstorm that was moving to the south of us, a dozen or so were checking out the newly mown hayfield.

Consider the view from the attic windows, out across those old blue hills. The sky: pink, gold, robin’s egg blue, except to the south where a black storm cloud rose; below lay the green fields. What one could hear was the snapping wind and the low, continuous sound of thunder.  Add the turkeys’ bizarre gobbling cry and the raven’s croak. But over this scene were those great, silent, dark birds.  They were playing, as they do so often, off of the wind from the storm. I’m reasonably sure I saw one that was working on hammerhead stalls just for the heck of it.  Looking for food, of course, as always; but mostly just flying.

There is a bit of adrenalin too, when they start to stack up above an area, so close that you can see the feathers.  Death has struck somewhere near.  But they themselves? The living wind.

Cornfield Church Sunday, Sep 7 2014 

Cornfield Church

Under the hard, harsh sun
Where the whispering corn
Betrays the coming storm
The white church faces the west
From whence the distant thunder
But beneath its spread shadow
The graves wait for the rising east

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