Thurs. Dec. 17, 2020: Snow At Night Makes for a Cozy Day

image courtesy of Jill Wellington via pixabay.com

Thursday, December 17, 2020

Waxing First Quarter Moon in Capricorn

Celtic Tree Month of Elder

Snowy and cold

We had our first substantial snowstorm of the season overnight. Although, so far, it’s not as bad as predicted, it’s heavy, wet snow, and I’m not looking forward to going out there and shoveling later.

Since we were warned about the storm, I did not put up the lights and outdoor decorations yet. That is on the agenda for this coming weekend.

Today, we are tucked home, enjoying the tree and the indoor decorations, reading, and writing, and resting. With the bulk of the stress done for the holiday season – I just have to get the annual inspection for the car done next week, and, yes, with an old car, I’m worried – we can sit back and enjoy. There’s been so much stress and pain in this year, that capturing a few hours of enjoyment here and there is high on the agenda.

One of the things we love is to sit by the fire, with one of our favorite blankets, a good book, the cats, the fire going in the fireplace, and a cup of cocoa or a glass of wine. it’s a simple pleasure, and yet so resonant.

Next Monday is the Solstice, my big celebration, and I’m excited and looking forward to it. Much as I love the dark time of the year, I am ready for the return of light and hope.

Peace, friends.

Thurs. Dec. 10, 2020: The Increase In Grime & Pollution

Image courtesy of azyrit via pixabay.com

Thursday, December 10, 2020

4th Quarter Moon in Libra

Uranus Retrograde

Cloudy and cold

Before last weekend’s storm, we cleared most of the remaining post off the deck – the pansies were still blooming, can you believe it? They’ve bloomed since May.  For the moment, we left the hanging pots, but put everything else in the garage. They’re organized into the section nearest the light for the plants overwintering that need to be watered every week or two, and the pots that are just stacked.

The decorations were cleaned and put away; most of the furniture was cleaned and put away. The big bench is still out – it will have to come up in a week or two. And the big, round table stays out all winter.

We got it done before the storm started, and it was a relief. Less to worry about.

What was disturbing was how absolutely filthy all the pieces were. Usually, once we clean off the pine pollan, there’s a little dust over the course of the summer, a smidge of dirt, but we wipe things down and it’s fine.

This year, we had to scrub. There were layers of genuine grime.

All those leaf blowers, running daily for hours and hours. All that tree cutting. All that heavy machinery the new shady neighbors run late at night after deliveries from unmarked trucks – they’re adding to pollution.

The branches used to have a lot of lichen – which indicates good air quality. No more. We even had warnings about poor air quality over the summer.

With all the construction – or, I should say DE-struction, tree cutting, pollution – our wildlife population has seriously declined. We don’t have as many squirrels. The owl hasn’t lived here for years. I don’t see Che Guevara Chipmunk and his family that often. There are no racoons, deer, skunk, coyotes. If you’ve followed my stories here and on Ink in My Coffee since we moved here, my yard was like something out of a Disney cartoon with all the wildlife, because I have the organic yard in the neighborhood.

Gone.

Even with all the pollinators I planted this year, we had very few bees. Plenty of wasps, but few bees.

I’m so disappointed. I mean, I’m disappointed in my fellow humans anyway this year, because too many of them are Covidiots, and too selfish to do something as simple as wear a mask. But the destruction of habitat is appalling.

Earthwhile reports the decline of water quality around Cape Cod. I’m sure. We’ve had numerous alerts of contaminants all year, and have had to boil water. When we moved here, this area was proud of high quality, and we didn’t even put on the Brita filter on the taps.

The Cape and Islands were earning low marks for air quality as far back as 2012, according to this article, but it’s grown exponentially worse in the last three years or so, in my personal experience.

And no one gives a damn. Oh, there are plenty who talk a good game, but when it comes to action, they allow new construction and plenty of destruction of habitat in order to turn a profit.

I have grown disappointed and disillusioned with this area. The people here would rather destroy it to make $5 today than look long term for the good of life for everyone. But then, they demonstrate that character trait daily be refusing to wear masks. It should not be a surprise at all.

It’s been bothering me for years, but this year, seeing the evidence as I put away the furniture for the season, was just crushing.

On a happier note, we’ve had two slight brushings of snow, just enough to look like someone dumped a little powdered sugar on us, not enough to shovel. Since I have surgery tomorrow, I won’t be in any shape to shovel for the next stretch.

The tree is up, and most of the decorations in the living room and the back room. I still have to decorate my office, but that won’t happen until after tomorrow’s surgery.

Solstice is coming up, a week from Monday. I’m ready to increase the light in my life, aren’t you?

Thurs. Dec. 3, 2020: Holiday Decorating

photo by Devon Ellington

Thursday, December 3, 2020

Third Quarter Waning Moon in Cancer

Uranus Retrograde

Cloudy and cold

Not much to report on the garden at all this week. We’ve had a series of storms coming through. My neighbors spend all their time leaf blowing, and then the wind just blows leaves all around because THEY DON’T HAUL THEM AWAY. As usual, doing everything half-assed and spending hours creating noise pollution that does nothing.

I haven’t finished taking in things from the deck, although I will probably do so this weekend. Because of the storms, I’ve delayed putting up the exterior decorations, something else I hope to get done this weekend, although we’re supposed to have more storms.

I suppose I should be grateful it’s all rain and not snow.

The lemon seeds have not sprouted. I’m not sure if it’s because the lemons weren’t actually organic, as marked, and these are sterile seeds, or because it’s off season. They’re in a lovely pot in a warm, sunny window.

I find it alarming that so much seed-saving from grocery-bought food now yields nothing. Too many sterile seeds, and too much corporate control of our food supply.

I’m designing fictional gardens for several stories right now, and thoroughly enjoying it. If there isn’t much to say, plant-wise, over the winter, maybe I’ll share some of that.

The Thanksgiving/Christmas cacti are blossoming, though. They are beautiful, and make us happy every time we walk into a room and see them.

We don’t have real Poinsettias because of the cats. We do have an artificial one, and I have to spray it with Bitter Yuck anyway.

Our neighbor down the street has put lights up on the front of his house, and they are quite lovely. He keeps them on all night.

It seems quite a few people have waited this year to decorate outdoors. There’s a lot of talk about more indoor decorations, since more people who have the option to stay home as much as possible during the holiday season are doing that.

We have the large, artificial tree up – we had to rearrange the furniture in the living room, since the large cat condo lives where the tree usually did. I bought this tree at Pergament in Port Chester for $49.99 in the early 90s. It’s been a lovely workhorse.

We have several artificial trees throughout the house – or rather, we will, when we finish decorating, which will probably take a few more weeks.

We do, however, have a live wreath, pictured at the top of this post. I buy a plain wreath, and then we decorate it however we wish for that year.

We also use a lot of real pinecones in our decorating.

When I take it apart over the winter, I save a handful of the dried greens for the following Solstice – for instance, last year’s wreath will start this year’s Solstice fire on the 21st. The rest of the greens I also keep, and use as kindling throughout the winter for the fireplace.

That’s pretty much it, this week. If the weather lets up a bit, I can put up the outdoor decorations. At the very least, I have to start getting in the furniture and the last big pots in off the deck. It’s been mild, so I haven’t wanted to bring the overwintering plants in yet.

How’s your week in the garden?

Thurs. Feb. 6, 2020: Rain. More Rain

rain-455124_1920
image courtesy of ChristopherPluta via pixabay.com

Thursday, February 6, 2020
Waxing Moon 2nd Quarter in Cancer
Celtic Tree Month of Rowan
Rainy and mild for February

It’s raining. Again. I don’t mind the rain; I quite like listening to it tapping on the roof, provided I’m curled up with a good book inside.

But we need a prolonged cold snap. Otherwise, the growing season will be thrown off, and the bugs will be a nightmare.

A client of mine went to her garden club meeting, where an etymologist told them not to use anything organic to fight ticks; instead, use dangerous pesticides. How much you want to bet he’s getting a kickback from a pesticide company?

In any event, I hope to get some indoor planting done today and tomorrow, which are planting days. Some cuttings are showing roots, and need to be put into pots. I want to start some lettuce seeds.

Fingers crossed!

Thurs. Nov. 14, 2019: First Bite of Winter

snowflake-554635_1920
image courtesy of JillWellington via pixabay.com

Thursday, November 14, 2019
Third Quarter Waning Moon in Gemini
Celtic Tree Month of Reed
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Partly Sunny and cold

We had our first bite of winter on Tuesday night, with a dusting of snow, and plenty of sharp, cold weather.

Charlotte is fascinated by snowflakes, Willa runs away, and Tessa is used to them.

Last weekend, we worked hard to put the rest of the plants to bed for the winter. I did some of the pruning (not enough). I have much more pruning to do this weekend. We cut down/pulled out the annuals and put the pots away. We brought in the remaining pots that will spend the winter in the house, rather than in the garage. I oiled the teak furniture before putting it away. The large teak bench went upstairs to live at the bottom of my mom’s bed. Brought the large geraniums in — they live near the very sunny window in my bedroom all winter, and usually bloom and bloom and bloom. Cleaned the decorations and brought them in.

I will have a lot of repainting to do in the spring.

So far, 10 30-gallon bags have gone to the dump. 6 more are waiting, and we’re still working on the front. If the weather holds, there is a great deal of raking, bagging, and driving to the dump over the weekend.

I will have to get my act together to start the seeds earlier in February next year. I started too much too late, because certain seeds don’t like to be moved, and I wanted to plant them on the deck in their mature pots. I’m going to have to find the room to do that inside this year. Not sure how, especially since the cart where we usually start seedlings in the front window of my office has been converted to a perch for Willa.

I have a few months to think about it. But I don’t want to wait until the last minute.

Have you finished everything that needs to be done in your yard for winter?

October 24, 2019: Post-Storm

nature-3590813_1920
image courtesy of Schwoaze via pixabay.com

Thursday, October 24, 2019
4th Quarter Moon in Scorpio
Celtic Tree Month of Ivy
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and cool

I couldn’t post last Thursday because of the nor’easter. We lost power around 1 AM. By mid-morning, we also lost cell service. Most places in the area, including the library, were shut.

It wasn’t too bad. We worked socializing the cats, wrapped up in layers, read books. One of the radios had batteries, so we could keep up with how bad it was outside.

Around 1:30 in the afternoon, the power came back on, but flickered until late afternoon.

Lots of branches came down. Not tree limbs, just branches. That’s taken some time to clean up.

I’ve taken the exterior Halloween decorations up and down too often to count at this point.

We have some more tomatoes growing; let’s hope they mature before they’re stolen again.

I have to cut back the roses and cut back what needs it in the beds over the weekend, weather permitting. We’ll start putting plants into the garage to overwinter, and the smaller plants (which are still pretty big, but do well indoors) inside and up in my room.

I have to oil the teak furniture one more time before we put it away.

Then, the garden goes to sleep for the winter.

And I immediately start fantasizing about what I want to do next year!