Good heavens, it’s been over a month…

While I was wrangling grand-daughters around Sonnystone Acres, husband was taking care of the watering.  I managed to do some trimming and deadheading, and of course, some harvesting.  We’ve had an abundance of all kinds of tomatoes, zucchini, yellow squash, bell and banana peppers, and onions.  With a crew of eaters, it’s all been enjoyed!

We’ve now pulled up most of the squash plants (finally succumbed to the powdery mildew), the onions, and the arugula is long gone, so we tilled and treated and planted a second crop of green beans, beets, and spinach for the fall.  There’s still a ton of tomatoes and a plethora of peppers on the vine.

We saved most of the roses that we put in pots.  One more had to be removed from the front, so we have plenty to fill in with this fall after we do some serious soil amending.  Just the way it goes, that now I have too many!

While the kids were here, playing out in the pool, we heard the ca-racking and swish of a tree falling nearby.  It is a tall, old,  cherry tree that is on the border of our property and it fell toward the center of our front yard, stopping in a cluster of branches of another tree,  just above the electrical wires that connect our house to the street lines.  Hmm…it will inevitably fall–maybe tomorrow, maybe next year–so do we want to let nature take its course?  Hell, no.  We went through that when “the trees fell” from straight-line winds slamming through and the entire electrical box was pulled from the side of the house.  Power outages do not amuse me.  Actually, it’s a little cheaper to let it happen and then fix it, since the Tree Guys will have to bring in a crane, but we’re not really that broke!  Yet.

I need to do some dead-heading, but the flowers are looking good.  The front roses are okay, too.  For now, I’m just enjoying the gardens from the porch.

Peace

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Garden Photo Log

Just a taste of what’s happening in the gardens here at Sonnystone…

It’s all good…  play in the dirt

first freeze

It’s predicted that tomorrow morning we’ll wake up to temperatures hovering around 30 degrees Fahrenheit…  We set the time back Sunday morning, effectively cutting out the after-work daylight for most of us…  It’s in the air, in the sky, in our bones…the slow slide into winter, working up to the Solstice, the day when the sun begins to return.

I brought in the last, honest-to-goodness final, cuttings of basil and made some basil butter—just chop the basil and whip it into softened butter.  The sage was trimmed up and made into smudge sticks, handy for warding off demonic spirits…DSC_0006

 

But we’re still growing here…fires are keeping us warm inside and I’ve started seriously planning for next year.

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I wrote the above on Thursday…  As we’ve continued to put away the garden, I’m less and less inclined to blog.  Oh, I could dazzle you with my fascinating take on houseplants, and I may visit and photograph some Botanical Gardens this winter, but mostly I’ll be keeping you informed with The News from Sonnystone Acres.   The holidays will be upon us before we know it and this year marks Casey’s 60th birthday, so festivities will be especially festive this season.

Thanks for following me here at the gardens, and check in at http://www.sonnystoneacres.wordpress.com and say hey…

end of the edibles…

My edible garden is nearly empty…

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It’s due to turn cold this week-end, so I’ve harvested the last of the bell peppers and green beans.

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I still have a couple of planters-full of my beloved basil…

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Other than some Sugar Snap Peas climbing up the trellises, that’s a wrap for the 2014 veggie-growing season.

I love Autumn;  it’s very nearly my favorite season, but I hate to pick favorites.  We’ve had a spell of too-hot days, and  I’m ready for the cool and seeing what Jack Frost can do with the foliage;  already my blueberry bushes are foreshadowing the coming palette, picking up the gold and orange of the hardy marigolds:

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Since this is my first fall with the screen-porch, I’m verry excited to get the pumpkins, mums, pansies, and scarecrows arranged this week-end.   Till then…

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thyme, thyme, thyme…

I divided the thyme yesterday;  4.25 clumps were potted up nicely, and a small sprig was put in the Wardian case.  I hope to be able to keep them growing throughout the winter, possibly gifting one;  they dry out easily inside, though, and I don’t want to stress the giftee with guilt if suddenly they turn to dust…  Of course, it’s very tasty dried, so you really can’t lose.

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First I gave it a haircut…a nice trim netted plenty of fresh herb for cooking…

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I had to pull the entire plant out of the container, throw it on the ground, and jump on top the spade with all my might to break it up into pottable portions…

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I like thyme in sauces and soups, seasoning chicken and fish.   Mix it up with oregano, rosemary, or basil for a bouquet garni or use it alone for a flavorful vinegar infusion.   It adds a spicy scent to potpourri.

Thyme is traditionally considered an herb of courage.  In ancient Greece, it was believed to confer strength and bravery to all who who used it, so soldiers would take baths in it, as well as massage their skin with thyme oil.  Historically used as a medicinal herb,  it has been said to cure fevers, dispel melancholy, and prevent nightmares, among another indications.

Here’s what’s for dinner tonight:

Linguine with Lemon, Garlic and Thyme Mushrooms

Ingredients:

8 ounces/4 cups finely sliced cremini mushrooms

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil1 tablespoon

Maldon/kosher salt or 1 1/2 teaspoons table salt Small clove garlic, minced

1 lemon, zested and juiced

4 sprigs fresh thyme stripped to give 1 teaspoon leaves (I will use more, probably 3 tbs)

1 pound linguine

2 to 3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan, or to taste (more for me)
Freshly ground black pepper
Directions
Slice the mushrooms finely, and put them into a large bowl with the oil, salt, minced garlic, lemon juice and zest, and gorgeously scented thyme leaves.

Cook the pasta according to the packet instructions and drain loosely retaining some water. Quickly put the pasta into the bowl with the mushroom mixture.

Toss everything together well, and then add the parsley, cheese and pepper before tossing again.

Eat with joy in your heart.

What I did this week-end…

Ah, glorious week-end!   I spent it dirty and digging, moving plants around…   Here’s the before and afters:

 

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I’m still mulling about what to plant on the south side of the house, against the foundation.  I’m thinking shrubbery, possibly holly, but there are so many beautiful plants to choose from, and I’d love to try something new.

The edible garden is waiting for seeding… I’m going to go by one more place on the way home from work today in my search for seeds.  ARen’t there any farmers left in Eville?  If I can’t find them, (the seeds, not the farmers), I’ll have to order some online.    The cool-weather plants at most of the big-box stores look like they have been in the Sahara for a week.

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I’m so excited about the changing weather.  The cooler temperatures are absolutely rejuvenating.  But for now, I’m off to work.  Have a great Monday!

 

Second crops and Cat Nights

This spell from the first-day-of-school through Labor Day (week)) I am working non-stop:  M-F at school, F-Sun at the track.    I have managed, however, to plant a couple of rows of bush beans, some sugar snap peas, and some pole beans, and a small circle of spinach.  Gone are the Romas, done in by the fusarium after a brave battle, and the zucchini never did much, so I removed them as well.  The fennel and dill have been harvested and replaced with cilantro, and most of the carrots and onions have been pulled.   The tomatoes are still loaded with green tomatoes, but for now there’s no pressure to fix or eat them.

During this lull in the edible garden, we are focused on the front yard landscape.  It’s a good time to plant trees or shrubs and I’ve been cruising our local nurseries for ideas.   I love the planning stage…low expenditure of energy…

My Old Farmers Almanac gives some good advice about gardening and keeps me informed on the celestial scene.  I marked my calendar for this event:

Cat Nights Begin

The term “Cat Nights” harks back to a rather obscure old Irish legend concerning witches and the belief that a witch could turn herself into a cat eight times, but on the ninth time (August 17), she couldn’t regain her human form. This bit of folklore also gives us the saying, “A cat has nine lives.” Because August is a yowly time for cats, this may have prompted the speculation about witches on the prowl in the first place.

Yowl on, kittens…     gardening4