April 15, 2021: Spring in A Changing Neighborhood

photo by Devon Ellington

Thursday, April 15, 2021

First Quarter Waxing Moon in Taurus

Celtic Tree Month of Willow begins

Cloudy and cold

Yes, that is a photo of my potted forsythia, started a few years back from cuttings from the forsythia in the yard. It started blooming in the garage. Last weekend, I moved the forsythia, the potted lilac, the two potted Roses of Sharon, and the clematis onto the deck, with the Adirondack chairs and the small table. We might as well enjoy whatever nice days we have left here.

We have a few daffodils blooming at the front and side of the house.

It’s been much cooler here than in the rest of the state, although Worcester is set to get snow tonight into tomorrow. Here, it will be heavy rain, which we desperately need.

People move to Cape Cod, claiming they move here for the beauty. Then, all they do is cut away trees and bushes and add chemicals to grasses and make it look like any subdivision in any bland spot in the world. Why do people come here to destroy? Why can’t they ever appreciate the beauty that’s here?

Coyote mating season is February/March. This year, I didn’t hear a single coyote call. Not one. Usually, they keep me up for at least a few weeks while they get busy. This year – not once.

Between the idiot with his landscaping and heavy machinery across the street, and the sketchy neighbors on the property behind with their late-night deliveries, odd heavy machine noises, and stack of old mattresses stacked in their back yard, this neighborhood is turning into a mix of industrial park and short-term rentals. It’s very discouraging.

On a happier note, we are moving into the Tree Month of Willow. I love Willow trees. They are about healing, growth, and protection, all of which I could use right now.

Yesterday was a nice enough sunny day, albeit a little chilly, to sit outside. Willa and Charlotte wanted to come, so I put them in their playpens, took a book and a glass of white cranberry peach juice, bundled up in a jacket, and sat outside for about an hour.

The traffic is as bad as it would be in midsummer. The neighborhood idiots keep buying bigger and louder leaf blowers, and running them all day every day EVEN THOUGH THERE ARENT’ ANY LEAVES. Quiet enjoyment of one’s space is no longer an option.

But the perennials in the terraced bed are poking up again, determined to make it for another year. The lilacs – both the old lilac by the fence, and the two potted lilacs I have near the fence – are starting to bud. There are some birds. Somebody built a big old nest in one of the oak trees.

Charlotte was a good little princess out there on her playpen. She sniffed the new smells, gave herself a bath, played with the toys in her playpen, and settled down to enjoy being out.

Willa did sniffy-sniffy and paced like a caged lion. She had a few things to say, and also played with her toys. But she’s learned how to roll her playpen, and I have to keep an eye on her, because she’s gotten pretty good at it, and can cover a lot of ground fast. I don’t want her rolling down the steps and across the yard.

Tessa, meanwhile, was up in the window, and in her new bed (more about that on today’s Ink in My Coffee post on the other blog).

Even with the noise and the chaos, it was nice to sit outside in semi-fresh air (all the leaf blowers and heavy machinery leave a weighted scent of machine oil around all the time, so it’s hard to smell what’s budding).

Maybe, just maybe, it will clear up a bit over the weekend, so we can sit out again.

In the meantime, how’s your garden growing? Have you started any seeds?

Thurs. Nov. 12, 2020: Mild Days and Blooming Cacti

image courtesy of Shinichi4849 via pixabay.com

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Dark Moon Fourth Quarter in Libra

Neptune, Uranus, Mars Retrograde

Celtic Tree Month of Reed

Foggy and mild

I have one calendar saying today is the new moon and Mars goes direct, and another calendar saying today is still the dark moon and that all happens tomorrow. Go figure.

The last week’s weather has been quite lovely and unseasonably warm here. I pulled out all the faded annuals from pots and put the pots away in the garage. I repotted the cherry seedlings, which somehow survived without much attention all summer. I pulled out the spent tomato plants, but haven’t put away the pots yet. I’m going to leave the large pots that usually overwinter out as long as it remains pleasant.

But the deck is tidy and it’s still a pleasure to sit out there and enjoy the final nice days of the year. Because the deck is covered and there are skylights, one can even sit out in the rain. The deck is one of the things I will miss most about the house when we move in spring.

The landlord came and did some of the heavier pruning that’s too hard for me to handle, and the lawn guy is going to come by and do leaves soon.

We’re in decent shape.

I am sick of the neighbors and their leaf blower obsession. It’s autumn. One of the beauties of autumn is the falling leaves. If you don’t like it, don’t live in New England!

The moron using his leaf blower at 3:30 AM in the rain really angered me today.

I intend to wring every moment of pleasure out of autumn that I can. Who knows what winter will bring?

Our Thanksgiving cacti are starting to bloom, and should be gorgeous by the time it’s actually Thanksgiving.

The quality of light is very different now, too. The second floor doesn’t get as much afternoon sun, but the first floor gets more. Tessa, whose domain is the second floor, blames me personally for the change, which is pretty funny.

How’s your garden doing?

Thurs. May 21, 2020: Finally, A Planting Day

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Thursday, May 21, 2020
Dark Moon in Taurus
Pluto Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Celtic Tree Month of Hawthorn
Sunny and pleasant

I’m very disappointed with the packet seeds I bought this year. Saved seeds from organic food has sprouted much better. Let’s see if they will get pollinated and actually make food.

It was too cold to plant last weekend, but it’s warming up. Since today is a planting day, I’m going to plant some flower seeds, and maybe repot some tomato seedlings. Monday is the next planting day, and I will probably plant beans and peas that day.

I still have to clean out some of the beds and trim back some plants.

The big lilac is blooming in the back; not that many flowers this year, but I will cut some and put them in water. I love the smell of lilacs.

When I own my own property, I plan to add one lilac each year! Lilacs, lilacs everywhere!

We have the deck mostly set up – the photo above is a partial view. If the idiot neighbors didn’t spend all day EVERY day running chainsaws and leaf blowers, maybe I could actually enjoy sitting outside sometimes. I’d like to be able to enjoy the reason we rented this house. For the past few years, the neighbors blatantly violate noise code 7 days a week, for hours at a time, and the town can’t be bothered to enforce it. Yet renters are required to sign something stating they “understand” the noise code. But owners can do whatever they want?

No one HAS to make that much noise ALL the time.

Let’s hope I can enjoy a few hours here and there outside this weekend.

I intend to take it as a holiday weekend, and enjoy time at home without the pressure of having to do anything I don’t want to do.

Hope you can do the same.

Thurs. Sept. 26, 2019: The Chance of More Tomatoes

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image courtesy of kie-ker via pixabay.com

Thursday, September 26, 2019
Waning Moon 4th Quarter in Leo
Celtic Tree Month of Vine
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny, humid, moving towards rain

We’re having a warm, sunny September, which is nice. The days are lovely, the nights are cool enough to sleep.

I have more tomatoes forming on my plants. I hope these will have the chance to mature, so we can actually eat them!

I haven’t started raking yet, although I will soon. Once again, a lot of acorns are falling. That makes the squirrels and the chipmunks happy.

Our yard is a rest stop for migrating birds. Since we are the yard on the street that doesn’t use chemicals, they stop, have a rest and a snack, and then move on. It’s so interesting to watch them interact.

We still don’t know who or what comes onto the deck every other night. I hoped it was the little black cat, but haven’t seen her lately.

Once the yard is mowed (I think, at some point this week), I’m going to put down lawn food one more time for the season. I’ve been cutting back, although I’m waiting for first frost to cut back the roses (that’s what the rose book I read suggested).

I know I have to take down the large bittersweet, but it provides such wonderful habitat for wildlife.

I’m longing for a place that I own, so I can plant and do exactly what I want. We’ve had a lot of latitude here, and I’m grateful, but that’s still different from truly being able to build a garden over years, and not worry each season if that will be the last.

Still, autumn is my favorite season. Even, now that we’ve passed the Equinox, it gets darker early.

Think happy growing thoughts for the tomatoes!

 

Thurs. Aug. 8, 2019: Joy of Red Geraniums

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Thursday, August 8, 2019
Waxing Moon Second Quarter in Scorpio
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny, hot, humid

Our red geraniums are going like gangbusters. To think, the second or third year we lived here, I bought them as small 3-for-$10 plants!

The tomatoes are growing, too. We lost some of them to rot, and some others are starting to get color. Hopefully, we can start enjoying them soon. The cucumbers are growing like wildfire — hopefully we’ll get some cucumbers. The eggplants and peppers look good, but haven’t yet bloomed.

The morning glories are acting like an invasive this year.

Haven’t seen the fisher lately. I worried he’d eaten the bunnies and Che Guevara Chipmunk, but saw both of them a couple of days ago, so they’re safe. I’m letting Tessa out with me on the deck in the mid-afternoon, but not early in the morning or at dusk.

It’s hot and humid, but leaves are starting to turn and fall. The hosta blooms have come and gone (I’ll have to cut them back soon). The basil is huge. The lettuce is almost done.

I have to figure out what to do with the kale soon. Maybe make a ham, white bean, and kale soup and then freeze it for winter?

How is your garden growing?

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Thurs. July 11, 2019: Watching the Garden Grow

Thursday, July 11, 2019
Waxing Moon 2nd Quarter Scorpio
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Celtic Tree Month of Holly
Hot, humid, misty

It’s been a few weeks since I posted.

First, I want to say how much stress has be removed from my life by hiring someone to mow. I wish I’d done it years ago!

The tomatoes are doing well. Even the late-transplanted ones are steadying and growing. The basil’s going like gangbusters, and is potent.

I’ve been posting photographs on Instagram @devonellingtonwork, if you’re interested.

I found weird little gold shiny bugs on the morning glories. They look like teeny, tiny, shimmering gold snails. They have black wings. Anyone know what they are?

Eggplants and peppers are doing well. The kale and argula and lettuce are thriving, and we’re eating it.

I was late planting the bush beans, peas, snow peas, zucchini, cucumber, honesty, zinnia, and milkweed, but they’re all coming up. You can practically sit and watch the beans and peas grow moment-by-moment!

Che Guevara Chipmunk is being a major pain in the patootie. He runs around on the deck, burying acorns. Digging up the tender new plants.  I put netting down to thwart him. He’s learned how to peel up some of the corners!

We have three bunnies in residence. They eat and then hang out, relaxing. Because I keep patches of dandelion and purslane in the yard, they leave the plants on the deck alone. It’s delightful to watch them.

Cardinals, mourning doves, blue jays, crows, orioles. Very few nuthatches this year, and I wonder why. A few wrens.

I’m enjoying this very, very much.

The roses are spectacular this year — rugosa and a pale pink that goes everywhere and beach roses. The stella d’oro lilies are gorgeous, and the tiger lilies are getting ready to bloom. The Shasta daisies and hydrangeas are blooming, too.

However, yesterday, it smelled like autumn. The hostas are already blooming — about six weeks early. Leaves are turning and falling. The wildlife scurries around, setting up stores for the winter.

I hope we don’t have snow in August!

Thurs. May 23, 2019: Trying to Catch Up in the Garden

Thursday, May 23, 2019
Third Quarter Waning Moon in Capricorn
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Celtic Tree Month of Hawthorn
Don’t know the weather — this is scheduled to post

This was a week of rolling up my sleeves to dig in the dirt.

I’m behind on the mowing, as usual, although I don’t hate it as much with the push mower as I did with the gas mower. I really need to see if I can sell the gas mower for a few bucks. I just want it gone.

I did the first treatment for ticks on the deck and I’ll do another one this weekend.

I started transplanting the tomatoes, eggplants, and peppers. I have more tomatoes to repot this week, but I wanted the seedlings to get a little stronger before I moved them. Repotted some herbs (parsley, rosemary, sage, thyme, lemon balm, chocolate mint). Did some trimming with the clippers, and cut back some stuff in pots that I hope comes back. The clematis looks good.

The lilac is blooming, and scents every breeze, which is a delight.

I planted some nasturtium seeds, all my morning glory and moonflower seeds, and about a third of my kale, mesculun, and spinach.

The chipmunk family under the bush is gearing up for the season. One little guy scampers onto the deck and gives little chipmunk speeches.

I was reading on the deck last weekend, recovering from the day’s work, and heard a noise. I looked up to see three young wild turkeys taking a stroll through the yard. Not in the least worried that I was on the deck. They took their time. Stopped for a snack here and there. It was pretty funny.

A young woodpecker got caught under the skylights of the covered deck. I managed to coax him out. Our bratty bluejay stopped by to give me the neighborhood gossip.

My murder of crows hasn’t been around much lately (I miss them). I saw a pair of bunnies down the street, but none yet in our yard. The coyotes have been quiet lately. I hope they weren’t shot. I actually feel safer when they’re around.

I’m hoping the weather will be warm enough these coming days to finish transplanting the tomatoes, and to start the cucumbers, beans, and peas. Maybe even the zinnias and the monarda.

I’ve been taking the plants out for the day and bringing them back in at night. I don’t want to lose any more.

I’ve never lived anywhere before where so much is dependent on the weather. Living in New York, weather was just another obstacle. Here, it dictates the rhythm of the day and the week.

Have a terrific Memorial Day weekend. I intend to spend as much time as possible in the garden. The rest, reading and writing. Online as little as possible.

 

Thurs. March 14, 2019: Already Getting Behind

Thursday, March 14, 2019
Waxing Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Cloudy and chilly

 

Did I do any of that re-potting I talked about last week?

No.

Have I planted any more tomato seeds?

No.

I need to hop to it this weekend on the planting days, or I’ll fall too far behind.

The peppers are peeping up, so that’s a good thing. The other plants are doing well.

Yesterday, I went out to the pots that overwintered on the deck and cleaned them up a bit. I have A LOT of work to do in the back yard, especially raking what didn’t get done last fall.

I noticed in the front this morning that the prickly invasive cedar is all over the front side yard, so I need to yank it out.

If we have some dry, reasonably mild days this weekend, I can get started.

Plus, you know, the re-potting and starting the rest of the seeds that I need to still plant.