Nov. 18, 2021: Bare Trees

image courtesy of Chanita Sykes via pexels.com

Thursday, November 18, 2021

Second Quarter Waxing Moon in Taurus

Neptune, Chiron, Uranus Retrograde

Cloudy and cold

We’re moving steadily toward winter. The foliage colors have peaked, and there are many bare trees now. The wind has picked up most days, so the leaves still hanging on dance around once they let go. There are a lot of evergreen varieties, so the contrast between the evergreens and the deciduous trees is interesting. And the scent of pine is beautiful.

We had a few snow flurries on Tuesday morning, but nothing stuck. The frost on the car windows is thick enough to need scraping off in the mornings. The heat kicks on earlier and stays on longer.

We’re moving plants into the apartment from the front porch, because it’s getting to cold to leave them out there, even though the windows are closed. The porch isn’t insulated. My lemon plant, in particular, was shivering. I put it in the reading corner of my office, where there’s a lot of natural light and it’s near the heater.

Thanksgiving is next Thursday. I can hardly believe it. I’m looking forward to tucking in for the winter. And planning a small container garden for next spring.

How are things where you’re going?

Nov. 11, 2021: November Energy

photo by Anna Rye, courtesy of pexels.com

Thursday, November 11, 2021

Second Quarter Waxing Moon in Aquarius

Neptune, Chiron, Uranus Retrograde

Celtic Tree Month of Reed

Sunny and cool

In spite of the predictions we’d have our first snow this week, the weather has been glorious. Cold at night, down into the twenties, with a need to scrape frost off the car in the morning.

But during the day, it’s up into the fifties. It’s been sunny most days, a little bit of rain here and there.

I’ll enjoy every beautiful day I can.

This will be my first winter in the Berkshires, and I keep hearing how harsh they are, so I’m ready.

Last Friday, we drove about an hour and a half east, and it was just hitting peak foliage and gorgeous.

There are still some wonderful colors here, but many of the trees have shed their leaves, and they’re getting into the stark, tree-and-branch that has its own loveliness.

The pumpkin my friend carved on Halloween lasted until yesterday, and it started caving in, so we had to throw it out.

I’m hoping the weather will hold for the next few days, so we can spend some time up at the lake, and walking around The Spruces.

They have the trees up and decorated on the Main Street of town. The tree lighting is supposed to happen the Wednesday before Thanksgiving (or the Friday after, if it rains). I might meander the few blocks down for it. I bet it will look pretty.

The porch is still warm enough to keep plants out there. Tessa is out there as many hours as possible, every day. It’s her porch, and she will miss it if/when we have to close it off for the winter. I admit, I sit there as often as I can in the afternoons, reading and soaking up the sun!

One of the many good things about this place is the large windows with lots of natural light. On any sunny winter day, we will enjoy sunshine.

How are things in your neck of the woods this November?

Thurs. Nov. 4, 2021: First Frost

photo by Devon Ellington

Thursday, November 4, 2021

New Moon in Scorpio

Neptune, Chiron, Uranus Retrograde

Cloudy and cold

We had our first frost last night. Or, at least, I think we did. The temperature was down to 28 degrees last night. The roofs look white, and the grass crunchy, although I didn’t see actual frost on grass or trees.

I’m glad we took the plants in earlier this week. The photograph above shows the plants we pulled in from the back balcony, which has a roof, but is open, to the screened-in front porch. Some of the plants may have to be moved further into the apartment if the porch gets too cold, but, for now, they seem happy there. The porch has a Southern exposure, so when there’s sunlight, it’s still reasonably warm and quite light.

I’ll have to learn how it works here.

I had my first houseguest since pre-pandemic, the close friend who found us this apartment. It was raining most of the weekend, so we couldn’t go out and about as much as I’d hoped.

Thistle at The Spruces. Photo by Devon Ellington

But I did take her to The Spruces, where we found these wonderful thistles, and I felt very Scottish.

Golden Maple at WindsorLake. Photo by Devon Ellington

And we also went to Windsor Lake, which is close by. The golden maple is glorious, and I loved the way the trees on the mountainside reflected on the lake. And the birch trees there are magnificent.

The golden maple behind the house is beautifully yellow, even as the leaves fall. I think this area peaked, foliage-wise, last weekend.

As of Monday, all the porches have buckets of ice melt and shovels at the ready. We are supposed to get the first snowfall next Monday. I’ve heard so many negative things about winter here that I have no idea what to expect. We’ve been told not to expect to go anywhere from November 1 until sometime in March.

I’m still attempting a run over to Hadley and Holyoke this weekend; it’s supposed to be sunny, albeit cold.

I’m excited to see what winter is really like, here in the mountains!

Mountainside reflected in Windsor Lake. Photo by Devon Ellington

Oct. 28, 2021: Samhain and Celtic Tree Month of Reed

photo courtesy of James Wheeler via pexels.com

Thursday, October 28, 2021

Third Quarter Waning Moon in Cancer

Neptune, Chiron, Uranus Retrograde

Cloudy and chilly

Celtic Tree Month of Reed begins

This week, I was grateful, once again, to be tucked into the mountains rather than being out on the coast. The eastern part of the state was walloped by a nor’easter. Lots of power outages where I used to live, and probably no power until at least Saturday.

We had some rain, and it’s a little chilly.

I’m grateful to be here. With working heat.

People are busy, preparing for winter. The leaves are still turning (I think we hit peak foliage this weekend). Leaves are falling. Birds are busy, either prepping for winter or migrating. Most houses are decorated for Halloween with a sense of humor and joy.

Today starts the Celtic Tree Month of Reed. Reed is about adaptability, learning to bend without breaking. Considering how we’ve all had to adapt in these almost-two years, it makes sense.

Our Christmas and Thanksgiving cacti are flourishing out on the front porch. We haven’t had first frost yet, so we still have plants out on the back balcony, although we’ll probably bring them in this coming week.

It will be a chilly weekend, with rain off and on. I’m still not sure what day the Trick or Treaters are coming – but those treat bags are packed and ready!

I’ve built a series of Ancestor Altars this year, and a friend is coming up this weekend to celebrate, with more photos to add. It will definitely be a time to honor those we’ve lost, and honor all the transitions of the past year.

What’s it like where you are?

Thurs. Oct. 20, 2021: Blooms

photo by Devon Ellington

Thursday, October 21, 2021

3rd Quarter Waning Moon in Taurus

Neptune, Chiron, Uranus Retrograde

Celtic Tree Month of Ivy

Cloudy/Sunny and warm

The Thanksgiving/Christmas cacti on the front porch are blooming like crazy! They are beautiful.

The porch gets Southern exposure, so on sunny days, it warms up nicely, and there’s lots of sun.

Still no frost. We have plants out on the back balcony. We figured we’d let them enjoy it as long as possible.

We haven’t hit peak color yet, but it’s beautiful. Last weekend, I took a nature walk with Mass Audubon out at The Spruces. Because it was, at one time, a planned community before it was a community park owned by the town, there’s a mix of native plants and cultivars. The walk was fascinating.

It makes me want a book about local flora and fauna even more!

There’s something rather wonderful about being tucked in the mountains. It feels protected (even though we’ve been warned about the harsh winters). And I don’t miss raking leaves AT ALL.

My downstairs neighbor has cut back her vegetable garden, and prepared it for the winter.

I plan to enjoy the beautiful weather as long as it lasts, although I’ve planned to hunker down from November to March, as advised. If the weather is better than expected, I will take joy in every lovely day.

How’s your weather, where you are?

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?

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