February 2016
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  • house at christmas
  • Banana Plant

    Today I finally planted my banana seeds. They’ve been soaking for about 4 days so hopefully they will thrive. I planted six of them in individual pots in moist potting soil and covered them with Saran Wrap. I had some success last year. However, only one ever germinated and I planted that one in the big pot on the porch. It grew into a lovely plant that I gave to a friend at the end of the season. They are using it as a houseplant.

    If they all germinate and thrive – and that’s a big if – I will plant them along the South Side of the house. It will get lots of sun and then I hope I’ll get them to overwinter too. I’ll do as my cousin in Austria explained and see what happens.

    Banana plant

    Banana plant

    Christmas 2015 – Tshirt Weather

    It’s Christmas Eve. At 5:30AM I looked outside to see a big orange moon slowly setting. There is a very warm breeze. It’s 15 Celsius or about 60 Fahrenheit. Did I mention it’s Christmas Eve? What is going on?

    There are many who are so happy with the weather. Golfers mostly. Although I am enjoying it somewhat, I worry what next summer will bring. I’ve never seen anything like it in my life. Where is the snow? I want snow.

    Window Boxes

    back porch arrangement

    back porch arrangement

    IMG_4734 IMG_4732 front window box black shutters

    Late Autumn and Still Working

    Charlie’s still cutting trees. I figure if they’re not pretty, they’re coming down but we’re keeping those logs. They will be stacked against one stone wall in the hen house because we’ll be building a fireplace. There is still more to cut.  A big old white pine fell during one of our storms.  I don’t think he’ll get it all done before the winter hits. However, from what I’m hearing about the super el nino, we won’t be having much of a winter so maybe he can work right through till Spring. Yeah! Hurray for global warming!

    So, looking at the hen house, I realize I have a lot yet to do to make this “party central”. More chairs and tables. Coffee tables, end tables. Tables to rest your drink and plate of food.

    View from the valley. So much work yet to do.

    View from the valley. So much work yet to do.

    Now to carry all these up the steep hill

    Now to carry all these up the steep hill

    I used to hate it so much but after so many people have claimed they loved it and wanted me to leave it , it's growing on me.

    I used to hate it so much but after so many people have claimed they loved it and wanted me to leave it , it’s growing on me.

    firewood and more coming.

    firewood and more coming.

    this is where the stone fireplace will be built.

    this is where the stone fireplace will be built.

    Bittersweet Season

    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.

    A Walk Around The House

    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.

    Maple Forest

    Maple Forest

    Benches in Hen House

    Benches in Hen House

    Tiger Eye Sumac

    Tiger Eye Sumac

    Maple Forest

    Maple Forest

     

    Fire Tail Fleeceflower

    Firetail Fleeceflower

    fish and chip sign

    Fish and Chip Sign

    hen house and steps

    Hen House and Steps Carved Into Hill

    steps

    Steps as seen from below

    steps2

    Steps

    steps3

    Steps

    steps4

    Newly planted garden

    stone wall and sumac

    Stone wall and Sumac

    sumac

    Sumac in Autumn

    sumac2

    Sumac

    sumac3

    And Sumac Again

    sumac4

    And Again

    woods

    Maple Forest

    woods2

    Maple Forest

    woods3

    And more maple forest

    Estate Auction

    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.

     

    Vegetable Garden

    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.

    An Update and New Project

    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

    Initial carving out the hill

     






    Initial digging

    Initial digging

     

    widening path

    widening path

    peony

    peony

    Hibiscus in Bloom

    Hibiscus in Bloom

    Looking North

    Looking North

    Porch

    Porch

    kitchen garden

    kitchen garden

    Looking south

    Looking south

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    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. :)

    Late Frost

    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.

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