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Irene has come and gone and all I really lost was a nights sleep and a few pounds moving everything out of harms way. The sump pump did its' job until 1:00 AM Sunday when the water level in the pit entered the French Drain. I added a second siphon pump and it reversed the process for a while. To be safe my wife and I started moving containers from the basement floor to upstairs. I moved everything off the bottom two shelves of the shelving units to higher ground and loaded the train platform. At 2:30 Irene started winning again so I moved the dryer to the front, higher, part of the basement. I didn't attempt to move the washer then since I think it weighs as much as my 1973 VW Beetle. At 3:30 the water breached the laundry room and with a huge ummph I got the washer on the hand truck and moved it to the front and was able to raise it 6 inches. I put the Dryer on a skid and hoped we wouldn't lose electricity. We didn't, we were fortunate. Between 4 and 5 we took showers before turning off the oil burner as a precaution. It rained until about noon on Sunday but the water never got higher than 6 inches in the laundry/fly tying room and 2 inches in the front. We had about 4 inches at the burner but the service man came and told us nothing important had been compromised with the oil burner. (I will take a marker and put a line at this high water mark for future reference.) I was back to doing laundry on Thursday night and we will finish putting everything back tomorrow. I sprayed the basement with chlorine bleach mixed ½ and ½ with water and a Lysol mildew preventer.
Hopefully this will be it until I upgrade my system.
On a different note.... Monday morning as I was having my coffee on the deck, preparing to start cleaning up, I saw a baby Catbird on the railing. It had short wings and no tail. I guess it was blown from the nest. It was noisy as it hopped and flew around the deck and bushes. It also hopped up an grabbed a small butterfly. It was there all day. I went to work the next day and I haven't seen it since. I am sure it is okay. It made itself at home and was very self reliant.
Hope everyone is doing well. Happy Gardening! John
With the exception of our Earthquake this week we seem to be focused on the arrival of Irene today. I have moved everything from the basement that would be damaged with a little water. The washer and dryer are still in place. It would take a power outage or serious water overpowering the sump pump to give me the incentive to try and save them and then I would just move them to the front of the basement and raise them a few inches. I did not have the time or the cash to put in a battery powered system at this time. It would have required busting up the floor and putting in a new larger basin. I really expect (and HOPE) nothing will happen other than we get a lot of rain and if it does, we added “the rider” to our homeowners insurance covering losses. It was actually cheaper than putting the new pump in this year. We are on the edge of the severe weather so we are in a better position than most in the path of this storm. I pray there will be no more than the two fatalities already reported and the loss of property will be small.
About the Garden. We had two months of drought that required us to water the potted plants daily and the plants in the ground almost every day. Since the very end of July we have had waves of rain coming from the Mid-west and Canada. Everything that didn't die has recovered with a few disappointments. The heat taxed my Hops to the point where they didn't produce enough lupin for flavor before burning out. This isn't a big problem as I was planning to brew two different styles of beer with different varieties of hops before making my regular style and hops aren't that expensive. I normally only brew twice during the year anyway so it isn't that big a deal this year. I am more excited about trying the other two styles of pale ale I want to make.
We decided to make the side garden perennial and planted daisies, cone flowers, hollyhocks, and a butterfly bush. I still have petunias and dianthus planted this year but the latter hated the heat too. The perennials join the tulips, daffodils, and iris as well as the poppy and morning glory that reseed themselves every year.
My spices are doing well. The rosemary and oregano I put in the side garden are doing well as is the potted rosemary. The oregano in my small spice garden seemed to interfere with the housing plans of one of the chipmunks so it is not as robust as it could be. The chipmunk also did not take kindly to us mulching over his home and that one section of that garden has remained mostly clay over the course of the summer. The potted sage plant is three feet tall. I will probably put it in the side garden next spring.
We are getting tomatoes from the potted plants as well as the one growing out of the stones in the potted plant garden. The one my wife planted in the side garden is starting to fall over the spices and some flowers. It is loaded with green paste tomatoes and one that is orange. The lettuce produced well into July and I have a fall crop planted in boxes with beets. We harvested our first eggplant this year, just one, and are not sure what to make with it. It is a small variety, white with purple.
The Chipmunks are entertaining the cats as I feed them close to the sliding door. Most of my birds are molting so the feeding area seems filled with street urchins fit for a Dickens' Novel. Ratty Cardinals with black bald spots, Grackles with ponytails, and some smaller bird, brown with patches of black and a short black beak.
I hope everyone is well and those in harms way stay safe. Happy Gardening, John
Since last September I have started this blog a dozen times. There was always a reason not to finish it. Since January it has involved family. My Mom had blockage in her arteries, a bad valve, and “A” fib with her heart as well as COPD. After one false start, on February9th she went for surgery at Lankenau Hospital to correct her heart conditions. The surgery seemed to be just a bump in the road by the next day but she regressed. She spent the next 6-1/2 weeks struggling against her heart and it seemed at times against the care providers who were trying to make her better.
At this point she suddenly became animated and eager to progress to the next level. We were elated and ready when she was moved to a Heart rehab facility. She struggled, fought against, and grudgingly complied with the regimen she was given for four weeks. Then she got Pneumonia. It was devastating to her recovery.
Her heart was fixed, although she was still weak, but her lungs weren't. She asked for Hospice on May 13th, was moved there on the 18th, and passed at 10:10PM on the 19th.
My mom wanted to go into hospice on the 16th, but I asked her to wait, it was my birthday. I was 60 on May 16th............60. How many people get to be wished Happy Birthday by their Moms when they turn 60? I wouldn't let her wish it on the 15th, I came back on the 16th so she could do it then.
Most of my friends are younger than me, and both their parents are gone. I still have my Dad. As much as I might feel grief, he lost a partner of 65years. I hope our family can help to fill that void.
Which gets me to this point..... I'm Flyfisher51 and I went fishing today. I caught a 12” Rainbow Trout. It only cost me two flies to snags and branches, but it was worth it. This late in the season in S.E.PA, this is a haul. The daily temps had dropped enough that the water was 64 degrees and very optimized for Trout fishing. This was the first time this year that I had a day that I could spend in that Dream State I call Fly Fishing (It is actually A.D.D. and I am most at home when I don't fight it). I have spent many days tying flies and anticipating this day but none really being there. I took pictures of the stream, the fish, and the Winery where I fished. I went up to the winery(Manatawny) after I was done and bought a bottle of Shirah(2008) and Concord Grape Wine. I took pictures and wished my camera was more sophisticated so I could zoom in on the Catbirds that were all over the stream.
I came home, sat on the deck, and watched the birds, squirrels, and chipmunks cavort where I feed them. I planted flowers in the side Garden last week, Dianthus mostly, so that next year I'll have less to do. I planted my tomatoes two weeks ago in containers. I planted two Better Bush and two Patio. I put the two Rosemary from last year (I lost both creeping Rosemary this winter), as well as the Spicy and Italian Oregano, and Nancy s' Dill in the side Garden. I also put an heirloom tomato of hers there as well as potting an eggplant. I put another Rosemary in a pot where it is joined by a Sage plant. I planted last years Thyme, and this years Basil and Oregano in the old Spice Garden.
We saw our first Hummer a week before Easter. Recently we have been getting a bunch of girl birds hitting the feeder. All our other birds are feeding as usual. We have a Chipmunk who has taken up residence by our front walk and a field (?) mouse who has built a home in the Yucca next to the deck.(His days may be numbered because of the reputation for moving inside during inclement weather.) (You can only be cute for so long.)
Before coming up to write this I sat on the bench, within my hop trellis, pondering finally finishing this blog. The Trellis is already inundated with Cascade and Northern Brewer bines and the bench is no longer a seat, it is part of the Hops plants. I drank a few beers and I watched the birds flutter in and out of the feeder area. Mostly I was impressed by the Catbirds, who went about their business in my back yard without paying any attention to my problems, intent only on surviving and living for today.
The day after my last post I saw my first hummer of the year. It has been a very hot and rainless summer. I didn't cut grass from mid-June through mid July when we had about 3 inches of rain over a two week period. I cut the grass for three weeks and it stopped growing again until this past Thursday when we got another 1.3 inches of rain. I will cut it on Monday.
It is a beautiful Saturday morning. It is 11 AM and the temperature is still in the mid 70's. We are on the deck and watching the critters in the yard. We have a shy baby squirrel who is about a quarter of an adult in size. He darts down the tree, grabs a seed, and runs back up. We have a half dozen chipmunks who with their darting back and forth give the illusion that we have about 100. We put sunflower seeds on the deck railing and watch them scoot from end to end. The sunflower they planted in the side garden is blooming. It survived an early season trimming by the deer.
The hummingbird feeder is about as active as JFK Airport. We have a Ruby Throat there every few minutes. A Chickadee likes to drink from the water trap, and I wondered why I had to fill it daily. The seed feeder is crowded with House Finches, Goldfinches, Black Capped Chickadees, Tufted Titmice, and the occasional Downy Woodpecker. On the ground we have Doves, Cardinals, Catbirds and Sparrows. Today the suet has been visited by Downy and Red Bellied Woodpeckers. In the past month I have also seen Carolina Wrens and Red Breasted Nuthatches hitting the suet.
The one birdhouse was occupied by House Wrens. I went out one morning to throw seed before going to work and notice the birdhouse turned 90 degrees and two very upset birds. It could have been Raccoons. I didn't see any evidence of carnage but the House Wrens vacated the house. In retrospect I see where the house is exposed and I will move it at the end of the season.
We water the gardens so the flowers (and the weeds) are doing well. Our potted veggies and spices are also doing well. My tomatoes have been producing since the beginning of July. I have cherry tomatoes and a determinate variety that has produced consistently for a month.
I am hoping for this weather next weekend. We have the Philadelphia Folk Festival.
We are canoeing this afternoon. We are leaving early so we can come back and watch the critters when they feed in the late afternoon.
Happy Gardening, I hope everyone is doing well. John
I put the canopy up over the deck today. I also went canoeing, first time this year, but this blog is about what is happening in my back yard. June has stunk for rain. We had some early in the month, but everything since seems to go north or south. We had 9days of 90 degree weather and a total of 17 over 87 in June. We just had a three day reprieve but it goes back to the 90's tomorrow. Water levels in the reservoirs are near capacity so there is no panic yet. This is the opposite of what it was like last year with the rainfall. We water our plants and not the lawn. This is the second week I have not had to cut the grass. Usually this would happen in the middle of July.
I do not know how the animals are reacting to the lack of rain. The Rabbit got jealous of the Chipmunks burrowing in the garden and the tree stump, or should I say Tree Condo. The Rabbit burrowed under the Yucca next to the Stone Garden. I think it's a rabbit. I was growing my lettuce in containers on the shelving unit when I noticed the bottom tray looked shell shocked from the heat. It wasn't, it was eaten by some creature that could not reach the second shelf. I think it was a rabbit. The deer would have eaten everything. So far this year they have eaten the top of my red maple I planted last year, nibbled on the day lilies, and eaten the sunflowers the critters planted in the garden.
I am already enjoying the baby chipmunks and cardinals. They are fun to watch as they learn the lessons from their parents. I think the baby Blue Jays are born obnoxious. The chipmunks have worn a noticeable path from our shed to the feeding area.
I have cherry tomatoes. The others are soon to follow. Some Squirrel was nice enough to plant an acorn in the Hot and Spicy Oregano. If I have a choice I will save both. I want the oak tree. I stopped taking the apple tree down for now. It's been way to hot. I planted Red Nasturtium to attract Hummingbirds and it is feeling the heat. I planted all red flowers in the back this year for that purpose. I haven't seen a Hummer yet. That doesn't mean they haven't been to the feeder yet, I just haven't seen one.
I hope everyone has a great holiday weekend, Happy Gardening and Happy 4th of July.
I think it's really great to come to G.G. And find so many new gardeners, or at least bloggers. I liked reading blogs from some old friends this month also. For my birthday I got two really great gifts. One was a chain saw that I wanted to cut down the apple tree. I picked an electric one, which made my wife feel better as I asked the clerk if it would cut through bone. She figures if someone is irritating me they just have to make it to the street and I will run out of extension cord. I picked today to start cutting the tree down. It was in the high 80's and very humid. In my younger years I would have picked a spot a few inches off the ground and made my first cuts. Today I just cut down the lowest branch and cleaned it up. That took about 4 hours. It was about 7 inches thick and coated in small branches that I trimmed to wrap for the trash. I am saving some of the wood for a friend who is going to use it to smoke some meats. The reason I didn't ask for help is because I am the type of person that has to do things himself. Perhaps it gives me a sense of accomplishment, or I'm just stubborn and have to do things my way. My first adventure with the chain saw ended with a string of thunderstorms heralding the hot and humid weather. This is fine with me as they have missed us so many times in the past and I was exhausted from cutting and bundling what I had finished. I stacked the larger pieces in a 3' x 2' wood pile for the Chipmunks, and sure enough one was exploring within two hours.
I have planted four tomato plants in containers and put them on the stones. I also picked up two pepper plants. I may not plant the “Three Sisters” in the old garden this year since this is where half of the apple tree will fall. I think it will take at least a month to take the tree down and at this pace and it may be too late to start the garden.
All four rosemary and all four oregano lived through the winter in the garage. They are doing well outside and as a bonus I have an Oak Tree growing out of one of the oregano pots. Bad for the oregano, good for the oak. I figure one of the squirrels must have gone nuts searching for that acorn he hid in that pot in the fall. Perhaps he saw it in the garage, I should check for scratch marks on the door.
The perennials and the flowers we planted this spring are doing well. I'll take pictures if they do real well.
The other Birthday gift was given to me by the girls. It is a turntable that will record albums and singles to CD's. I guess I know what I'll be doing in my spare time.
The Wedding went Great. I must tell people that my Daughter is gay. We had a commitment ceremony as civil unions are not legal in PA. I will post pictures later as we get the good ones from the photographer. Almost all our friends were able to come and we had a great after party to top it off. The couple are happy and my new Daughter is starting a flower garden. She is a city girl but is very open to advise.
Happy Memorial Day and a few prayers for those who never came home.
Happy Gardening, John
Happy May Day. I missed my blog for April but I have been busy. Two weeks ago I planted lettuce in containers on the 17th as well as 5 pots of Empress of India Nasturtium to attract the Hummingbirds. I decided to follow some of my Garden Guide Friends and plant the three sisters in my main garden. I purchased Tomatoes for containers yesterday. I bought two Tomatoberry plants and two Husky Reds and planted them today. Both are indeterminate tomatoes. I also planted two Rainbow Sweet Pepper plants in containers. They should get a good 8 to 10 hours of sunlight on the stones.
My Wife and I took our oldest daughters cat to the vet today to be put to sleep. She was 19 years old and a real trooper in her old age. She had a Hyper thyroid which caused her to loose about 6 pounds in two years, even with medication. Two weeks ago she stopped eating dry food and was very weak by Sunday. I went out Monday before work and bought wet food which allowed her a slight recovery, but by yesterday she was loosing control of body functions. Today, although she seemed to smile, she stopped purring when held. We allowed her outside today. She laid on the deck before exploring the yard. She was a House cat and was only outside with my daughter in her first year. She had trouble walking, falling a few times, but made it the 30 feet to check out the shed.. We stayed with her to the end, it was fast, almost instantaneous. My daughter came home today to say good bye. We took her at 1:30PM. I have no regrets, she is no longer suffering, and we have great memories.
I have been bad. I have only been to Garden Guides about once a week the last month. My youngest daughter gets married next Saturday and again we have been busy. I cannot wait. It is going to be a great party. We have friends coming in from around the country to celebrate this occasion. It is just proof that life goes on. I am excited to be giving my little girl (27 years old) away. I don't know how she will be dressed, but dad will be in a Grey Pinstriped Suit with a Lavender shirt, navy tie, hankie and suspenders. A regular Beau Brummel.
I looked today and I think a Chipmunk is living under the stump of the pine tree we lost on St. Patty's' Day. I had my first ever Bluebird sighting this week at the suet feeder. We have friends that have them, but I have never seen them in our yard. I put the Hummingbird feeder up on April 1st but I have not seen a Ruby Throat yet.
Three weeks ago the hops were three inches high. Today they are eight feet. They are firmly attached to the trellis and I dare the wind to try and knock it down again.
We had frost on Wednesday this week and it is 89 degrees now. Good luck on planning a garden. I was fishing once this month and caught “A” fish. It is now too hot for Trout. The temperature goes down again next week, so perhaps I can get some fishing in before the big day.
I hope everyone is too busy gardening and enjoying the outdoors to read this.
Take care and Happy Gardening, John.
Happy Saint Patricks Day! I am sitting on my deck having a couple glasses of Guinness and enjoying the 65 degree temperature at 6:00 pm Eastern Standard time. I pulled the tables out of the shed and the chairs out of the garage and I am ready to be rid of this winter. I am staring at the place that used to have a Douglas Fir. I will miss that tree. It gives me a direct view of the apple tree which will have to go this year. The Cedar-Apple rust affects the tree worse each year. The disease affects the leaves with yellow brown oily spots before they fall off. It also causes the fruit to be spotted and "narly" looking. Unfortunately this does not keep the deer out of the yard. They still come to feed on the apples. My hope is that if I cut the apple tree down the disease will vanish from the 30 Cedar trees my neighbor has bordering our properties and the deer will find other gardens to dine in.
Putting all the depressing news aside, the gardens are alive with dafodils and tulips racing out of the ground to bloom. They are all less than 3 inches tall, but I still see potential. They are as thick as thieves, I should thin them this year and expand the gardens. From my vantage point I can see about a weeks hard labor getting the yard into the shape I want it to be in. Bushes to be trimmed, spaces to be filled, lawn to be reseeded, and all of this before I start my gardening. I can't wait to get started, cabin fever begone!!!
I hope everyone is well, Happy Gardening and Welcome to Spring!
February snows and March rains have been hard on our yard. We had three serious snow storms in February and two small ones. We had snowfalls of 16”, 22”, 2”, 4” and 11”. With Decembers 9” snowfall this gives us over 5 feet of snow for this season. This is not the most we've had here but it is close. The last snow was the heaviest and it broke about 2 dozen branches on the three Juniper bushes and a 2 inch branch on the Scotch Pine. The lower branches on the pine didn't get free of the ice until this week when I chopped them out. Evergreens throughout the Southeast of Pennsylvania were hard hit by the snow. The first two weeks of March have brought warm temperatures during the day aiding in the snow melt and saturating the ground. Our last snow disappeared on Friday the 12th with a Northeaster coming in to the region in the form of rain and high winds. So far we have gotten 1-3/4 inches of rain. Between snow melt and rain my sump pump has been running for a week.
Yesterday afternoon we lost a 30 year old pine tree to the wind. It is leaning precariously against a smaller tree I rescued when we first moved here. It is close to the house but I don't think it poses a risk. To be safe we are going to have a professional remove it. The wind also blew over my hops trellis. Fortunately nothing was growing on it or maybe the hops would keep it from blowing over. They will be growing soon enough.
The squirrel population is starting to grow . I guess they have run out of acorns and are returning to feed on the sunflower seeds I put out. We also have had a chipmunk since the middle of February. Ether the chipmunk or some other rodent was burrowing under the snow in the yard. We have trails running in ruts below where I throw the feed. At first I thought it might be the deer eating the grass but a few of the trails disappeared under some remaining snow. The deer have been visiting regularly during the snow cover, even coming close to the house, but do not seem to have eaten or damaged anything.
I posted some pictures of the snow from the two early storms in February. That is why the piles are so deep. These were the 16 and 22 inch snowfalls. I also have pictures of the snow damage on one of the junipers and the wind damage from yesterday. For as hard as the weather has been on our yard we have made out so much better than many people The house and structures have come away unscathed (knock on wood!) from any of the storms. I am hoping to spend the rest of March planning gardens, fishing trips, and tying flies, when I am not at work.
I hope everyone is doing well, Happy Gardening.
We are getting our second large snow storm of the week. Saturdays left us with 16 inches, which shrunk to 9 inches packed as of yesterday. We cleaned it off of the Juniper bushes as we are predicted to get an additional 15 to 24 inches from this snow fall. This irritated the Birds who loved the canopy for feeding and sleeping. They have it back now, only it's new snow and the bushes are crushed more than the last time as it is also heavier than Saturdays snow, which was nice and fluffy. We are at 8 inches at 11:30 AM EST and it is starting to snow heavy. Until last year all we have had was sleet and freezing rain for about 5 years. Last year we had one good storm and this is the third large storm of this season. The last two passed to the south and we got a foot less snow than Philadelphia for both of them. This has been snow and some sleet for us, they were getting freezing rain in the city for a short while and rain in South Jersey.
The birds are also hanging out under the shed and the overturned canoes in the rack. I will feed them twice today because of the weather. We seem to be down to one squirrel. I do not know where they all went. They might be living on the acorn harvest. We also had deer going through the yard. They went out into the street, but I couldn't where they went from there. The tracks then come back into the yard and scatter to the neighbors yard.
The college is closed today so I didn't have to take my wife in. I decided to take a vacation day to miss the aggravation of travelling 40 miles home in a blizzard. I am bottling my beer between trips outside to shovel snow. I brewed it on January 22nd and moved it to a secondary fermenter on February 1st. I will be able to drink some next Friday.
I am starting to plan the gardens for this year. I am thinking of growing the tomatoes out in the middle of the side yard in a raised bed. I can do two small gardens and still use my deer fence. I may also go back to growing them in containers on the deck and stone garden. I still have 3 months to make up my mind. I am spending my spare time tying flies and dreaming about fishing. That season will start in 2 months. I don't go ice fishing. The only time I mix ice and fishing is the one cube I put in my whiskey that I sip while tying flies.
I think I'll go back to watching the Sparrows popping in and out from under the Juniper bushes. I hope everyone is doing well, John
Started to get Cabin Fever with the cold weather we have been experiencing. I am not as invincible as I was in my younger years and all that dumb stuff I did because I could is coming back to haunt me. I mean in the form of Arthritis. It is nothing that is crippling but it can be painful and fortunately I can avoid it most of the time. The worst in the cold weather is my hands. I work over steel benches with metals that hold the cold and on real cold days they will ache all day. I can avoid this if I can wear work gloves when I do most of my work.
When I go outside in 20 degree weather I have the same problem. Gloves only work for a short time. But I don't have to go out in this weather long enough for it to bother me so that is not a problem. I have plenty of chores and hobbies to keep me busy inside, but still............... I was getting Cabin Fever. I think it was really bothering me when they started forcasting warmer weather for Friday 1/15 and Saturday 1/16. I had to get out,and so did two of my buddies. One called and suggested a hike at French Creek State Park and I couldn't wait. We went on Saturday and walked for about two hours on the green, to the red, to the red/white, and back to the green trails. The temps did not leave the 40's when we walked but the exersise was great. I normally ride a recumbant bike about 5 hours a week so the walking worked muscles that normally get by on a daily routine, except when I'm Gardening or Fishing. I got away with only a little knee pain last night and today I feel great. I am glad I got it in yesterday because it is 38 degrees and raining today. The only job I have outside is to take down the Christmas Decorations and I told my Wife that it isn't Saint Pattys' Day yet.
The Birds and Squirrels seem to be doing okay, except we are still missing about 5 squirrels. I hope it is because they stored alot of acorns and are feasting in their dens. I will know in the Spring if they show up well fed. I have not seen any Rabbits in the yard since Fall. Do they hibernate?
I put some new and better pictures of my Durham Ranger and other flies on my picture page.
I hope everyone is surviving this cold that has been covering the Eastern half of North America. From reading the blogs I find alot of people are being stressed with the cold. Remember it's only 60+ days to Equinox. This weather also reminds me that last April we had 3 days in the 90's in Southeast PA. I am in the process of planning where I am going to plant what next year. I may move the Tomatoes to the middle of the front yard. In Lancaster County, where they have some township zoning laws that require "X" number of feet for homes to be off the road, the Mennonites plant their front yards as Veggie Gardens.
Should I mention, since The Philadelphia Eagles have been knocked out of the Playoffs, the Super Bowl doesn't matter this year.
My Wife told me I can brew beer next Friday night. She is not planning on being home, so next Friday after I get home from work I will finally use my Homegrown Hops in my Homebrew. I have not brewed since 2008. I am excited. If it snows or it is cold, this is an indoor hobby for me.
So much for me. If you are having really cold weather, potted plants are portable, bring them inside. If you already have them inside and they seem frozen, still water them if they seem dry. Check them every few days, there is nothing more frustrating than saving a plant from the cold and losing it to an indoor drought, believe me. If your plants are outside and you can cover them, please do so. Green things are resilient, but sometimes they need help.
I will be Fly Fishing in two months......
tight lines, John
This will most likely be my last blog of 2009. Not much garden news to tell. I decorated outside two weeks ago before the snow started that Saturday. Now we are getting another storm on a Saturday. The weather Channel said we would get 9-14 inches today and tonight with the bulk of the snow being to the south of Philadelphia. They may get up to 20 inches. They are talking about Beach Erosion at the Jersey Shore, but I’m over 100 miles away so that shouldn’t affect me until summer when I need a beach to fish from.
The Rosemary and Oregano are hanging on in the garage. I am cutting what I need. It is nice to have the fresh herbs. We can’t bring them in the house because we have a herb eating cat. He even eats the Rosemary. My wife made a wreath from my hop vines and he wants to eat that too. Speaking of hops, I finally bought beer ingredients and I’ll be making beer with my homegrown hops in the New Year. My wife is going to give the ingredients to me as a Christmas present. I don’t need much this year.
A friend is giving me a bamboo fly rod he has and I will be restoring it. It needs the thread wraps redone and a new coat of varnish. I should be fishing with it by opening day. I have to make a rod wrapping fixture because I am totally incapable of buying something I can make. If I like fishing with bamboo I may start making rods to replace the graphite ones I have. I found a place online where I can buy bamboo blanks. There is also a set of videos on You Tube that show how to make the rods from scratch. I also have access to machinery to make the fixtures needed to process the raw bamboo if I decide to do this. It is a little more involved than making a wrapping fixture, but it could be fun. Unfortunately the good bamboo for making fishing rods does not grow in my neighbors’ yard, it grows only in China. I believe in is called Tonkin Bamboo.
I am tying flies again. I have most of my Christmas flies finished and in ornaments. I will be posting them later today in my albums. I have also been tying some classic wet fly patterns I will be putting up. On my Facebook page I call these: “Flies I am tying when I should be doing something else.”
I am still feeding the Birds and Squirrels. We haven’t had any Starlings in the yard so the suet has been lasting a couple weeks. There were about 300 in the Oak trees out back last weekend but they left without coming to the feeders. We have a Skunk that visits at night. My wife believes he lives under our deck.
I am always struck by the beauty of the Cardinals, girls and boys, as they perch on snow covered branches. It adds a nice touch to this time of year. I hope everyone has a Happy Holiday Season.
We finally had our first hard frost last weekend. It killed all of the flowers except the Snap Dragons and Poppies. We cleaned out the gardens on Sunday. After the frost we went back to milder weather and moved the potted flowers from their protected location to the front porch. The spices are still in the garage and will stay there until we harvest them or, in the case of a mild winter, take the back outside next spring. I harvested the mint and have it hanging in the garage to dry. I am waiting two more weeks to rake leaves. I am hoping they will be down by then and blown somewhere else. Wishful thinking.
I started hanging suet out again. We don't seem to have any Starlings or Raccoons (knock on wood) to eat it in a day. It's been out for a week and the Woodpeckers are coming back. They stopped coming as often when I stopped putting out the peanut and sunflower kernal mix. I have been putting regular songbird mix in the feeders. The peanut/sunflower mix gets moldy in the damp weather. We have had 24 inches of rain between August 1st and October 31st. In contrast this month we have had 3/10ths of an inch. Even the tropical storm that flooded the New Jersey Coast this weekend gave us little rain. I brought the Hummingbird Feeder in the day I went oput and it was partially frozen.
We have a mouse living along the path. Today was a beautiful day, in the high 60's. We sat on the deck this morning and watched it run over to the area where I throw bird seed. As long as it stays outside with the other animals I'll be nice to it. We only have had two squirrels visiting lately. They are small, most likely born this summer. We still have a few chipmunks but the one living in the stones seems to have moved out.
We have a White Cat who looks like our Cotton hanging out in the area. It's not Cotton as he is in a container in our glass cabinet. This new cat looks like he has a home. He appears well fed. I don't like him hanging out in the yard because of the birds and furry critters. My wife wants to grab him, take him to the vets for his shots, and make him a house cat. I don't know how our cats would feel about this and I am sure his owners wouldn't like it either. He probably wouldn't like staying in the house all the time either.
Have to go now as I am being called to dinner. Hope everyone has a great week. Happy Gardening.
The only yard work I’ve done this month is cutting the grass. I’ve had a nagging respiratory infection for three weeks that finally knocked me flat on Sunday of this past week. I saw a doctor on Tuesday and he gave me an antibiotic that is also used to treat anthrax. It has some nasty side effects but so far the only effect it has had for me was to knock the heck out of the infection. I should have gone sooner. I was lucky it didn’t really hit me until Sunday as this month has been super busy. We had a Wedding that took up the second weekend and a Party last Saturday. All our spare time, weekends, was spent getting ready for these events. Add to this all the rain we have been getting and I find I have very little time for the yard work that has to be done.
The Deer are still eating the flowers. They have eaten most of the Calendula and Portulaca from the side garden. The Garden has been hit by the few cold nights we’ve had but is still growing. We are at October 31st (Eastern Standard Time) and we still have not had that killing frost. The Poppies, Zinnias, Marigolds, Snapdragons, and Dianthus are still chugging along. The potted spices are still outside. The only spice that was affected was the Oregano and they just lost a few leaves. I am out of that spice in the house so I will be drying that this week. I have had ice on the bird bath and frost on the windshield but nothing in the Gardens. The only Plants to suffer were the Morning Glory and the Tomatoes. I finally picked peppers last week and I still have some growing.
The one Chipmunk has taken up residence in the stones where we put the potted plants. It left for the winter last year and I am curious to see if it leaves for the woods again. The Squirrels are back to visiting the feeding area again. I should have flagged all of the holes they put in the yard in September so I could harvest Oak Trees next year.
One of the places I fish at is located at a winery. The first Saturday of this month was to be a fishing day. The weather was beautiful, the water clear, and it was a great day to fish. We didn’t. We went to the winery instead and I bought a couple bottles of wine. It was payment for all the great fishing I had there this past spring. I am tying my Christmas Fly. I have thirty started and only one complete. It is not in an ornament yet. I am going to take pictures of the various steps as the progress and post them.
I napped earlier tonight but it is getting late. I hope everyone has a great week, Happy Halloween, and Happy Gardening, John.
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