Thurs. Oct. 14, 2021: No Frost Yet

image courtesy of Mike Greer via pexels.com

Thursday, October 14, 2021

Second Quarter Waxing Moon in Aquarius

Jupiter, Neptune, Chiron, Uranus, Mercury Retrograde

Celtic Tree Month of Ivy

Cloudy and mild

We still haven’t had our first frost yet, and might not get it until November, which is late for around here. I wonder if that portends a milder winter, or, when winter finally smacks us, a harsher one?

The Christmas cacti on the front porch are about to burst into bloom. That will be very pretty.

Inside the house, I’m keeping a vase of cut, dark red mums.

The tree outside my bedroom window is turning yellow and the leaves are dropping. I’m not sure what kind of tree it is, sort of an oval leaf. I really need to get a book on the local flora and fauna.

Fingers crossed the weather holds on Saturday. The local Mass Audubon chapter is doing a walk through The Spruces, and I’d like to go and learn about it.

What’s new in your gardening neck of the woods?

Thurs. Oct. 7, 2021: Mist and Mountains

image courtesy of Eberhard Grossgasteiger via Pexels.com

Thursday, October 7, 2021

1st Quarter Waxing Moon in Libra

Saturn, Jupiter, Neptune, Chiron, Uranus, Mercury Retrograde

Celtic Tree Month of Ivy

Misty and mild

It’s been raining for the past few days. So, although the leaves are turning colors, everything is damp and a bit muffled. It’s still very pretty. And, as we drive to our errands, watching how the color palette changes on the mountains around us is beautiful. I worry when I see the river getting high against the banks, but the locals aren’t worried; I figure they’ll let me know if and when it’s time to be concerned.

We brought in some of the plants from the back balcony. Some of them are now on the front porch, at least temporarily, like the Christmas cacti, which are about to burst into bloom. The front porch has southern exposure, while the back balcony faces north.

The red geraniums are still blooming like crazy.

The apples are plentiful this year. I’ve been baking with apples: muffins, cake, etc. I indulged in my favorite apple cider donuts, too, from a local orchard, and they were wonderful.

The days are shorter. It’s too dark to sit on the front porch and write for my first writing session of the day. I write in the living room, on the couch, with the light on. The cats are still curled up with me, though. It’s usually dark when I start my morning yoga practice, but fairly light by the time I finish it. I like the way it lightens as I progress through the sequence.

I’m learning the rhythms of this place, which is so different from the rhythms of the Cape.

The farm-to-table movement is huge here, with plenty of local farms, which means lots and lots of harvest festivals all around. Each has a unique personality, which is why they can all thrive in the same region.

The town re-instated their Fall Foliage Parade last Sunday; we were lucky enough that some of the floats and marchers came down our little street at the end of the parade route, and we could watch from the safety and comfort of our front porch. Still not comfortable around a lot of people, even if we’re all masked and vaccinated. So much work went into the floats; it was delightful. There was a sense of humor and fun about them, and bright colors. Everything’s felt so drab for the last eighteen months, that people want to create and wear color.

Since we keep hearing how hard winter is here, we have every intention of finding lots of joy in autumn!

Thurs. Sept. 30, 2021: Celtic Tree Month of Ivy begins

image courtesy of pexels-pixabay.com

Thursday, September 30, 2021

4th Quarter Waning Moon in Cancer

Pluto, Saturn, Jupiter, Neptune, Chiron, Uranus, Mercury Retrograde

Celtic Tree Month of Ivy begins

Rainy and raw

We haven’t had frost yet, but the nights are getting cool enough to bring in some of the plants: the African violet, the Christmas cacti, and some of the others. We are figuring out how to reconfigure things inside when we have to bring in all the plants, and some of the furniture that’s out on the back balcony. The front porch is still warm enough, with its southern exposure, to enjoy during the day, although we keep the door closed now at night.

The red geraniums are still blooming like crazy.

I’ve been putting up one decoration a day in the front windows; tomorrow I put up the rest of the Halloween/Samhain/Day of the Dead decorations all over the house.

I turned on the thermostat, and it says “heat on” but nothing comes out of the radiators, so I have to ask the maintenance guy what other switch needs to be flicked, and where it is. It’s too cold and raw not to have the heat on. Plus, we’re the ones who pay for it, so it’s not like we’re waiting for the landlord to turn it on.

The Celtic tree month of Ivy begins today, a good time for banishing, and getting rid of negativity in one’s life. I feel as though that’s what the entire move’s been about, but it’s good to spend focused time concentrating on it.

It smells good, even though we are in a city. It smells woodsy and full of the mums and the apples and all those other lovely autumn smells. I hope to bake an apple cake later today, which should scent the house even more (and maybe warm it up a bit).

Everything looks so pretty. I hope the weekend is sunny, so we can get out and enjoy the landscape. I love looking out of the front and back windows to see the mountains every day, and to watch the colors change.

What’s changing in your neck of the woods?

Thurs. Sept. 23, 2021: The Season of Mums

image courtesy of Suppenkasper via pixabay.com

Thursday, September 23, 2021

Third Quarter Waning Moon in Aries

Pluto, Saturn, Jupiter, Neptune, Chiron, Uranus Retrograde

Celtic Tree Month of Vine

Cloudy and Humid

Most of the time, it feels and smells like autumn around here. The leaves are starting to turn, which is so pretty. I’m looking forward to watching the transition.

We’ve had a few warm, humid days this week, so I haven’t packed away all the lightweight clothes yet!

The red geraniums on the back balcony are blooming like crazy; the Christmas cactus that was in bloom is fading.

I have dark red mums, cut, in a vase in the living room. They make me happy every time I look at them. Traditionally, they are associated with happiness, nobility, and permanence. I’ll take it!

Now that the Equinox is over, I can start decorating for Samhain, although the bulk of the decorating will happen next weekend.

The apples are wonderful this season, and we’re taking full advantage. I even used apples for the Autumn Equinox dinner last night, preparing the Cornish hens with apple and sage.

I missed having a full garden this year, due to the move, but I’m looking forward to what I can do in containers next year. I want to grow more herbs, which do well on the front porch, and see what we can do on the back balcony.

Funnily enough, I miss having hostas. When we first moved to the Cape, I was overwhelmed by all the hostas, and not a fan. Gradually, I grew to like them. Now, I miss them. Go figure!

Since rudbeckia do so well here, as do coneflowers, I want to have black-eyed Susans and Echinacea in next year’s repertoire, too. I look forward to planning next year’s container garden over this winter!

In the meantime, I’m going to enjoy autumn in the mountains.

Thurs. Sept. 16, 2021: It’s Starting to Turn Colors

image courtesy of RebekkaD via pixabay.com

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Second Quarter Moon Waxing in Capricorn

Pluto, Saturn, Jupiter, Neptune, Chiron, Uranus Retrograde

Celtic Tree Month of Vine

Cloudy and humid

The weather has been all over the place this past week. Some days have been cool and crisp; yesterday was hot and humid and summery again. Plenty of thunderstorms coming through, although I don’t live in constant fear of flooding anymore.

One of the Thanksgiving/Christmas cacti on the back balcony is blooming like crazy, as are the red geraniums. The maiden hair fern has berries, which I’m sure the birds will enjoy. The peace lily continues to be a drama queen.

The leaves are just starting to turn to glorious shades of yellow, gold, and red. It’s already beautiful; it will be stunning in a few weeks.

Whenever I can, I walk to my errands, so that I can enjoy the beauty.

I was worried about being able to access fresh produce all winter. We’ve gotten so spoiled here with the farm-to-table commitment. But some of the farms have heated greenhouses, and, as for other produce, we’ll lean more on what’s seasonal.

Autumn is my favorite season anyway, and I’m excited to experience it here in the mountains.

How is your autumn, where you are? Or your spring, if you’re in the Southern hemisphere?

Thurs. Sept. 9, 2021: The Difference in Air (and Earth)

image courtesy of Kevin Craft via pixabay.com

Thursday, September 9, 2021

First quarter waxing moon in Libra

Pluto, Saturn, Jupiter, Neptune, Chiron, Uranus Retrograde

Celtic Tree Month of Vine

Cloudy, rainy, humid

Yesterday, we drove to the Cape and back, doing a storage run. The contrasts are so amazing,

The air here in the mountains has a tartness to it. Even though it gets very humid (especially with all the rain), when it’s not humid, there’s a crisp dryness to the air.

I’m looking forward to watching the colors turn and reveling in all things autumn.

The air on Cape is saltier, of course, because the Cape juts out between the bay and the sea. The tang of it is different. It was sunny yesterday, and bright, but still, the air felt heavier. Also, because of all the increasing traffic, especially over the bridge, and the fact that so many trees are cut down daily, the pollution hangs more over the area, and there’s an oily layer from it that coats everything.

The air smells different in both places, and feels different when it hits your skin.

I’m surprised how different the food tastes, too. Part of it is that the water is much harder here. But also, the soil is different. So a tomato grown here in the Berkshires has a very different taste than one grown on Cape Cod. They both taste good, but the taste is very different.

I’m starting to understand what is meant in wine when they discuss “terroir.” It affects everything that’s grown.

And it’s one reason why recipes made from local ingredients in both places taste so differently on Cape Cod than they do here.

It’s fascinating.

The Canal looked beautiful as we went over the Bourne Bridge, and it was busy with boats.

I still love the Cape’s beauty, although I’m deeply saddened how those who are supposed to protect it, instead allow its destruction.

Not that everything is so perfect here, either, pollution-wise. But I love living tucked in amongst the mountains, and within the neighborhood trees that people aren’t constantly trying to cut down.

Thurs. Sept. 2, 2021: Apples!

image courtesy of lumix2004 via pixabay.com

Thursday, September 2, 2021

4th Quarter Moon Waning in Cancer

Pluto, Saturn, Jupiter, Neptune, Chiron, Uranus Retrograde

Celtic Tree Month of Vine

Partly cloudy and cool

Hurricane Ida slapped us on her way through. We didn’t get it anywhere near as bad as other areas; the Cape had tornado warnings and NYC flooded. We had torrential rain for about 12 hours, from 2 PM yesterday until about 2 AM this morning. I kept getting up to check the streets to make sure they weren’t flooding, and kept an ear out in case people started moving their cars.

But we were fine, and it’s shaping up to be a pretty autumn day. Definitely cool.

The Christmas cactus on the back balcony is blooming like gangbusters, and the red geraniums are also blooming. The annual herbs have just about had it. I’ll need to put those pots to bed soon.

My downstairs neighbor shared some of her garden produce and it’s wonderful. I missed having a real garden this summer; let’s hope I can have one next summer.

Apples are starting to show up at the market. My favorite. I’m looking forward to all the things I can make all winter with apples.

Oh, the bug I posted about last week?  A friend saw the photo and told me it was a tiger bee fly. A pollinator. So it’s all good.

Today is a big baking day for me; two kinds of bread, two kinds of cookies, and some dip and snacky things. My friend arrives tomorrow for the holiday weekend. First time I’ve seen any of my friends in person (other than the neighbors who helped with the move) since before the pandemic.

Have a great holiday weekend. Let’s hope we can spend a lot of it outside!

Aug. 26, 2021: Blooms and Bugs

photo by Devon Ellington

Thursday, August 26, 2021

Third Quarter Waning Moon in Aries

Pluto, Saturn, Jupiter, Neptune, Chiron, Uranus Retrograde

Celtic Tree Month of Hazel

Sunny, hot, humid

I thought I had nothing to post today, but it turns out that I do!

The photo at the top is one of our, well, I’m not sure if it’s a Christmas Cactus or a Thanksgiving Cactus. Blooming in August. The years we were on Cape, they’d bloom several times a year, which is fun.

This other photo is of the red geranium. Any idea what that weird bug is? I’m not sure if it’s a good one, or one I should be worried about. It kind of looks like a goth moth or butterfly, with the lacy wings, but also reminds me of the black hornets who come in on the front porch.

It’s hot and humid, which means I’m grumpy. I’m looking forward to autumn.

How’s your last week of August?

Aug. 19, 2021: Hurricane Season

Photo by Devon Ellington

Thursday, August 19, 2021

Second Quarter Waxing Moon in Capricorn

Pluto, Saturn, Jupiter, Neptune, Chiron, Uranus Retrograde

Celtic Tree Month of Hazel

Rainy and humid

We’re in hurricane season, and it will be a very different experience here in the mountains than it was at the coast. I worry about the river flooding, because of so many years of the brook flooding in Rye, but no one else around here seems too worried.

The photo above is from The Spruces, a local community park just over the town line into Williamstown. The Spruces was a planned senior community of trailers, begun in the 1950’s, that was destroyed in floods in either 2011 or 2012. The town bought the property and turned it into a community park.

It’s overrun with wildflowers and is just beautiful. We took a bit of a walk in it over last weekend, in the good weather. Hopefully, I can spend more time there before winter sets in.

I think today’s rain is from Hurricane (Tropical Storm?) Fred. The weather people are more worried about how Hurricane Henri will hit the coast at the other end of the state this weekend (although we’ll get some rain and wind).

Batten down the hatches, get out the candles, get in more wine, I guess?

Aug. 12, 2021: Making Friends With My New Area’s Nature

photo by Devon Ellington

Thursday, August 12, 2021

Waxing Moon First Quarter in Libra

Pluto, Saturn, Jupiter, Neptune, Chiron Retrograde

Celtic Tree Month of Hazel

Heat wave: hot, humid, hazy

It’s been a few months since I posted. The photo above is the enchanted garden we’ve set up on the back balcony at the new home in the Berkshires.

We also have a screened in front porch, where we have our Adirondack chairs, the blue wicker chair, more plants (especially herbs, because of the Southern exposure), and more of our outdoor décor.

It was painful to say goodbye to Che Guevara Chipmunk, the murder of crows, the Gemini Oaks in the front lawn, the lovely Maple in the back. The covered back deck.

We couldn’t take many of our large potted plants with us, such as the Roses of Sharon, various lilacs, forsythia, etc. We gave them to neighbors who love to garden, and will either plant them in their own garden, or find them good homes. We gave away a lot of pots, and a lot of garden tools, including rakes, hoes, spades, the lot.

For a decade, we’ve loved that third of an acre, even when things like the mowing were difficult. We had a close relationship with the plants and wildlife. I’d done a lot of rooting work, psychologically, and it was difficult to disengage.

We’ve moved from the ocean – where, due to the increased tourism and the local attitude that ONLY tourists matter, not residents, so the pollution increases as habitat is destroyed – to the mountains.

Technically, we live in a city. Yet there are so many trees all around us. And grass. And plants. We are tucked into the Berkshire mountains, with mountain views out the front and the back. The buildings here have porches or balconies, up and down. Most residents create their little patches of garden enchantment.

It’s very different than on Cape, and each region is beautiful in its own way.

The air is quite different, lacking the salt from the ocean. Also, even though we’re in a city rather than a village, there’s less pollution. The oily residue that’s taken over the air, the dirt, and even the fog on Cape isn’t in everything here.

The soil quality is different. While Cape Cod is known for mounds of gorgeous blue hydrangeas, the hydrangeas here tend to be white or pink and white. Black-eyed Susans (one of my favorite flowers) are popular here, as are sunflowers, and mounds and mounds of petunias, spilling out of baskets on porches and along public streets.

I have to learn the native plants, and figure out what we can grow next year. This year was too late to start much; we bought some pots of herbs, and some flowers, but next year, I will try to start more from seed.

I’ve visited the nearby lake, and I’m looking forward to visiting the Botanical Garden, and some private gardens, and the community gardens that are so popular here, and learning about the gardens and plants that thrive here in the mountains.

While I miss the space and the variety in my Cape garden, even though so much was in containers, I don’t miss the mowing, or the constant pressure for the property to look more landscaped and not be a habitat for the local wildlife.

Our back balcony is habitat – we have two birdhouses and a nest that were already occupied when we moved in (the landlord takes delight in them, too). They are bratty little birds, but an awful lot of fun to watch.

A pair of crows has found me, and visit every morning, when I write on the front porch. They’ve started to stop by and tell me the news. I enjoy my time with them.

I’m excited to see the beauties of autumn, winter, and spring here.

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