This morning as I was cutting back the peonies and daisies, a large gaggle of Canada Geese, squawking loudly and flying in V formation were heading South. The air was cool but not cold and it just seemed so – I don’t know – bittersweet, for lack of a better word. This is my favourite time of year but the long, cold winter is drawing ever nearer.
Don’t get me wrong, I love Winter too. Finally a respite from all that manual labour (of love). Thick soups, hearty stews, baguettes and cheese, a roaring fire, flannelette pyjamas and endless Netflix. Of course, there are always things to do indoors.
For right now, I am deciding on what to put in the flower boxes for the winter arrangements. There are lots of evergreens to trim and bring home for this project. The sweaty work season isn’t over yet.
Well, I finally had some time to walk around the property and take pictures. Autumn is a magnificent time of year and we all love it. Perfect for Thanksgiving. Well, here goes nothing. The pictures are not in any particular order. Sorry.
Benches in Hen House
Tiger Eye Sumac
Fish and Chip Sign
Hen House and Steps Carved Into Hill
Steps as seen from below
Newly planted garden
Stone wall and Sumac
Sumac in Autumn
And Sumac Again
And more maple forest
Last weekend I had the best time. We went up the street to an estate auction. I had never been to one and so it was an experience. I couldn’t believe the number of people there. Cars parked up and down every side street and even on the main road.
The lady whose house it was, had been put into a home and all her possessions were arranged and organized all over her garden. Wow, she had some lovely things. She must also have been a collector. There were many things that had not even been used – some still in their original packaging.
I bought a beautiful wool rug for the living room for $30.00. I bought three solid oak mission chairs for $5.00, a Persian vase for $10.00 and a hand-knitted awesome poncho for $5.00. Are you kidding, I am in heaven! Oh, how I love a bargoon. I missed out on a small table to go with two of the chairs so I’ll have to go to more auctions to find one. You have to be real quick at these auctions or you lose.
There was one guy with tatoos on his arms that was buying furniture furiously. He had a flatbed parked on the road and loaded it up with all his purchases. He owns an antique shop in Toronto so that’s where this stuff is going to. So remember, when you’re in antique shops and everything you see is expensive, remember they were probably coming from an estate auction.
Don’t get me wrong, It is really nice to pick fresh salads for dinner or to freeze those vegetables you can’t eat right away but it’s a whole lot of work and the novelty has worn off.
When we first bought this house and started gardening I promised myself that when a kitchen garden becomes too much work and the fun is gone, I’ll quit. That’s what I’m doing. No more vegetable garden next year. I’ll turn it into a nice patio or something – maybe just grass. That’s the plan and I’m sticking to it.
Besides, there is that whole acre of slope and bog garden that needs my attention now. I can’t be everywhere at once.
Oh, this feels good – like a weight has been lifted.
It’s been quite a while since my last post. Most things have bounced back since the late frost but are at least two weeks behind last year. Oh well, sigh. We’ve had pretty cool June with lots of rain. I’m not complaining because I don’t like the heat and humidity so the longer this pleasant weather lasts, the happier I’ll be.
Anyway, I’ve posted a few pictures and will be taking more. The shots you see of who-knows-what are the shots I’ve taken of my latest project which is carving the steps down to the valley. I can’t do too much at once. I find it very taxing what with swinging the heavy pickaxe and shovelling the dirt out of the way. And let’s not forget the rocks. It seems under every rock is another rock. There’s lots of earth too. I had thought the earth would be crappy but I couldn’t have been more wrong. It’s a rich, black loam. It will be fun planting out with no-work perennials. It will have to be groundcovers and plants that don’t need fussing. Anyway, I’m getting ahead of myself.
Initial carving out the hill
Hibiscus in Bloom
So there you have it. My humble attempt to bring beauty into my environment. It’s a work in progress. So much more to do but can only do so much at a time. I guess this project will be completed the day I die. I will attempt to take it with me when the time comes.
Oh, today we’re cooking but two days ago we had nighttime temperatures drop to -3C. That’s about 28F. We had covered the annuals with newspaper. Despite that, many died anyway. When I inspected my garden the morning after the freeze, my heart broke. All three Giant White Fleeceflowers collapsed to the ground. I’m sure the roots are fine and maybe they’ll spring back next year but that’s it for this year.
Walking around, the devastation was widespread. My purple smoke bush had leafed out but all those leaves looked burnt and drooped. Who knows if the rest will leaf out. Some of the leaves on the Japanese Maple were hit, others weren’t. Parts of my Hydrangeas were burned from the frost.
In the vegetable garden, about 30% of the newly sprouted beans died. That’s OK. I’m on my way out there and I’ll pull those and plant more.
To make matters worse, we’re having a drought. Hell, we’re now having July weather and it’s only May. I don’t know what will become of all this.
So, today bright and early I went into the garden. Charlie had bought several bags of black earth, peat moss, and composted sheep manure as well as 5 bags of triple mix.
First on the agenda was the vegetable garden. It’s important to get the cool vegetables seeded so I threw the five bags of triple mix as well as my own concoction of black earth, peat, and manure. After raking and smoothing I proceeded to create rows and commence with the seeding. So, now I’m happy because it’s done. Well, at least the cool weather crops and to be precise, here they are; snow peas, radishes, lettuce, beets, several herbs and kale.
Charlie installed the new window boxes. It will be at least another two to three weeks before I can plant them out. Until then, the seedling flowers seem to be doing well in the greenhouse. I’m even trying to grow a banana plant for my big pot. Hopefully it will develop over the next few weeks. It will be my thriller, and I have quite a few flowers which will be my filler and spiller.
Autumn into winter is a beautiful transition. Winter into Spring is not. What with the frost coming out of the ground and all the snow melting not to mention the crud on the roads from the salters and sanders. But it’s nice anyway. The windows are open and the heat is turned off. It won’t be long, the windows will once again be closed and the air-conditioning on. Extremes in temperatures, that’s the norm here in Southern Ontario.
How is it where you are?
Last weekend I worked like a dog. Well, Saturday I worked like a dog. Sunday, Charlie worked like a dog. I worked too but in a supportive role.
To explain, Saturday I tilled the vegetable bed. Pulling weeds and turning over soil is very hard work so I felt stiff and sore that night and I had trouble sleeping even after taking pain killers. But it’s done.
Sunday, we moved three hydrangea bushes because they weren’t doing well where they were plus I wanted to enjoy them closer to the house. We also moved three globe cedars and one cedar tree.
I’d take pictures of our progress but nothing is blooming yet and photographing baren gardens is boring. It won’t be long, though. We’re nearing the end of April and come May, everything will change. For now we’re getting lots of rain which is good for the garden and also because my sistern will be filled up again.
Now you know all about my exciting life.
The window boxes are constructed, lined and stained. I found out that Canadian Tire doesn’t carry lumber. I felt like an idiot asking their staff where they kept lumber. (No wonder they looked at me funny.) However, just down the road from Canadian Tire is Rona and they do sell lumber etc. They cut the boards to size, we brought them home, Charlie glued and screwed them together, I stained them and we both lined them with heavy gauge plastic to protect the wood from rotting. So now we wait for good weather so we can install them which reminds me, I still have to buy 4 legs and 6 brackets. The big window box is 7 feet long. Once the soil and plants are in, it will need more than just brackets for support. That’s why we need the legs as well. I used a stain called “Witch’s Broom”. It’s dark – charcoal. I gave them 4 coats. I use the same stain for the porches. I like almost black. It makes everything pop.
Today our contractor “Big Dog” delivered the shingles. He’s called by his Mohawk name. Great guy. Does excellent work. Later, they’ll bring the scaffolding to re-roof the house. It’s always something, isn’t it?
We thought it would never come but all things do end. Anyway, beautiful sunny winter days won’t be around for a while now. Spring is very nice but until all the snow has melted and the frost is out of the ground it’s messy and dirty. However, good spring rains will wash the dirt away and help the ground thaw. Meanwhile, leave your boots outside the house, preferably outside the porch.
I’ve sown seeds in pots. This time it’s only flower seeds for my window boxes. They’ve germinated and now I hope they’ll grow into nice plants ready for transplanting. I still have to buy the materials for constructing window boxes. I’m attempting to do it myself. At Canadian Tire they will cut to size, I’m told. I must remember to get stainless steel nails or screws. Then I have to line them with something so the wood won’t rot and I have to paint them and I also need brackets to attach to the house. Doesn’t sound like much but it’s a lot of work. Also, I have to stain the two porches this year again. And I haven’t even mentioned the gardens yet.
Well, I did squat all winter so time to get ready for sweaty work.