Saturday, October 30, 2010

Project: Pumpkin Head

Pumpkins aren't just for carving, although I do love roasted pumpkin seeds and carving does require that you dig them out. But instead of carving, I like to create pumpkin heads, some what reminiscent of Mr. Potato Head.

First I gather my "surgical instruments."

Surgical Instruments
 Then I collect my body parts. I dug them up from the garden, of course.

Body Parts
Now I just need my subjects.

S-s-su-sub-jects (gulp).
After a bit of experimentation, my pumpkin heads come to life.

Mr. and Mrs. Pumpkin Head
 Jeepers creepers where'd ya get those peepers?

All ready to greet our trick and treaters. I think Mr. Pumpkin Head has his eye on Mrs. Pumpkin Head (wink, wink).

Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 25, 2010

What's Growing

Still harvesting but I did not get together the hoop house I had planned ... it's pushed to early spring. AND there is a great plan for a cold frame in Fine Gardening magazine that I will be sure to keep and build - if you don't subscribe, the plan alone is worth the newsstand price.

I am afraid my days of fresh basil are over now that we have frosty nights BUT I did make a LOT of pesto. I love to saute a few fresh cherry tomatoes in olive oil to top off some pesto pasta but the cherries are starting to fall like the leaves. This is just a sampling of the pesto I made for the freezer. It should taste oh so good when it's snowing outside.

But on the bright side, it's soup making season! We usually make soup every Sunday. Along with a dutch oven beer bread recipe. (Add some pumpkin, flax and/or sunflower seeds to crank it up.) So, I have been harvesting carrots to use in soups ... butt crack carrots. Thankfully they don't taste like butt crack! They taste oh so sweet.

Butt Crack Carrot
And I pulled all the beets so I can plant the garlic. Mmmm beets. I always forget about beets until I eat them, and then I think why don't I eat beets more often? Hmmm? Here is the harvest and don't think I let those beet greens go to waste! I have been adding those to salads all summer long and I saved them to mix in with other greens.

All cleaned up and in the pot. These are a variety named jewel-toned so some are yellow-orange. Yum yum.

Not sure if I mentioned this before but a favorite way we like to prepare beets - large bulbs - is to make a little core in the top of a cleaned beet, insert a garlic clove, drizzle with olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt, then wrap in tinfoil - grill (oh yeah), or bake. The smell alone is delicious.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Going Native: Virginia Creeper

Fall is the time of year I truly appreciate Virginia creeper, Parthenocissus quinquefolia. It is a stand out in the garden with its beautiful dark red leaves and rich blue berries. My inherited chain link fence is an ideal trellis for my creeper. It keeps this native vine somewhat in line and in turn, the vine hides the not-so-beautiful fence, beautifully.

I have read that Virginia creeper may cause skin irritation. Its very nature may also irritate - it's creepy. It creeps up into trees. "It creeps and leaps and glides and slides" along the ground in just about any condition and soil - so beware. But so far, it has not irritated me in any way.

It certainly isn't irritating to birds. Many birds eat the berries of Virginia creeper. It is also the host plant for several types of sphinx moths, including of course, the Virginia Creeper Sphinx Moth.

Virginia creeper safely clings to buildings without support by small adhesive discs at the end of its tendrils and will not damage a structure.

If you would like to read more about Virginia creeper, click here. If you would like to purchase this vine for your garden, it is available from Brushwood Nursery.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

What's Blooming

Rain was forecast for today so I took a couple shots last evening - the last rays of the sun were too good to miss. Today was as promised - overcast, rainy. Also, we had our first frost last night. But these poppies still look as fresh as they did last evening.

 The mysterious moon flower ... I am not certain if this is a bloom in the making or a seed pod.

Even though it is in its first year, this Rudbeckia Maxima is sending out blooms - that's twice this season. Solidago 'Fireworks' surrounds it - also in its first year.

It seems to be quite popular. This particular Solidago branch seems to appeal to wasp-like pollinators.

Whereas this one is claimed by the bees.

The plumes of this Indian Grass took me by surprise - another plant in its first year,  I didn't expect it to bloom.

I swear I did not pinch, prune or pamper this Woods Aster out front, and look at it!

These annual (well, here anyway) Asters caught my eye and I chose them over Mums for the front porch this year.

The Cosmos just keep on going, and going, and going ...

Marigolds light up the potager - well, those that managed to compete with the Nasturtium this year.

And for desert, chocolate Joe Pye. A real late blooming treat in the woodland edge border come fall.

Bloom Day is hosted by Carol at May Dreams Gardens the 15th of each month. Visit Carol's blog and add your blog to the growing list of what's blooming.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Take A Hike At Letchworth

A couple of weekends ago we took a little trip to visit my sister. We decided to take a hike at Letchworth State Park in Central NY. The leaves were not at their peak but beginning to turn. The day was slightly overcast but pleasant. For those of you who automatically think of "New York City" whenever someone says he or she is from NY, I hope this changes your view of NY State, "upstate." Letchworth is known as "the grand canyon of the east."  So, take a little trip, take a little trip, take a little trip with me ... (ah, that may stick in your head).

Trees roots revealed in the path of run off.
A stroke of fall color.
At this overlook you can sit at these tables made from stone - so cool.
Overlook is right!
Turkey vultures ride the air currents.

Trees cling to ledges and rocks.
Signs bring to your attention that there are 129 steps (as in stairs) leading to the lower falls.
The view is worth it.
And so you return back to the woods from where you began.

Monday, October 4, 2010

I have chickens!

My husband surprised me by giving me chickens! I had been stating for so long how I would like to try keeping chickens that he finally gave in. My real dream is to keep Guinea Fowl because they are just so cool. I came across a few on one of my paint excursions with PAPTIR at the Home Again Farm, not to mention Alpacas. Tell me it wouldn't be awesome to see some of these gals strutting around your garden? They even eat ticks!

Well, I am not sure what breed my husband gave to me, but they sure can hold a candle to Guinea Fowl. One of them looks like a Rooster to me and that could mean trouble. We are not actually allowed to raise and keep chickens here in the village so I sure do hope these bawking blokes keep quiet. I turned them loose in my garden. Tell me these scratchers aren't pretty to look at.

If anyone knows what breed they are, it would be greatly appreciated. Apparently they are extremely cold hardy and do not even need a coop! Boo-bawk! Hope you enjoyed - it is the month for tricks (and treats).


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