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?

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?

Thurs. March 18, 2021: Celtic Tree Month of Alder Begins

image courtesy of Petra Geistler via pixabay,com

Thursday, March 18, 2021

First Quarter Waxing Moon in Taurus

Celtic Tree Month of Alder Begins

Windy and cloudy

Alder is about release and determination. It’s a good time for hopes and dreams. Time to sow the seeds of success.

I could use that right now.

Nothing to report on the garden front. The weather’s been wacky. We’re supposed to get another snowstorm tonight. Lots of winds until tomorrow.

No planting; just taking care of the houseplants we have.

I have to start cleaning out and packing our pots soon. That will be a big task. But I’m going to wait until it’s a little warmer.

How’s your garden doing?

Thurs. Feb. 11, 2021: Real Winter Weather

image courtesy of moonzigg via pixabay.com

Thursday, February 11, 2021

New Moon in Aquarius

Mercury Retrograde

Celtic Tree Month of Rowan

Snowy and cold

I’m grateful that we have a good, solid cold snap. It will benefit the yard.

It was frustrating to try to dig out, because the plow pushed ice boulders into the bottom of my driveway that then froze down. And the Dig Safe guy showed up to mark the lines during the storm, and spray paint info on the snow. Does he not realize that it must melt before any digging can happen?

Not my problem.

I still haven’t planted either the strawberries or poppies. Tomorrow’s another planting day, and it’s waxing moon, which is good for planting that which will be above ground. So maybe I can make up for it tomorrow.

We’re having some more flurries this morning, and possibly another storm over the weekend. That’s what winter’s for, right?

I have every intention of enjoying as much of it as I can!

What’s new in your garden?

Thurs. Jan. 21, 2021: Waiting

image courtesy of Conger Design via pixabay.com

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Second Quarter Waxing Moon in Taurus

No Retrogrades

Celtic Tree Month of Rowan begins

Cloudy and cold

Rowan trees are about protection and inspiration. They often grow in poor conditions. The wood makes excellent walking sticks. It’s tied to Brigid and Imbolc, which is about the quickening and rebirth of spring.

I ordered some seeds, from Kitchen Seeds and Territorial Seeds. I hope at least some of them arrive in time for Imbolc, when I hope to start some of them.

I did not yet order from Johnny’s – and I might not. Supposedly, their catalog went out, but I haven’t received it. And now, they are only accepting orders from home growers on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The timing might not work out this year.

But I ordered enough to have, at least, a minimal garden, no matter where I end up: bok choy, only two kinds of tomatoes this year, eggplant, strawberries, morning glories, moonflowers, breadseed poppy, and a pollinator mix.

It’s finally a little colder. We had some snow flurries yesterday, but we haven’t had a bad winter. When we first moved here, the winters were harsh, and we were sometimes snowed in for days before the plows came.

Right now, I’m just in a waiting period. Eager for new seeds to arrive, so I can start them. Eager to figure out where we’ll live next, so I can learn about native plants and plan new gardens.

How’s your winter going?

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. 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. Oct. 29, 2020: Almost Samhain!

image courtesy of pexels via pixabay.com

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Second Quarter Moon in Aries

Neptune, Uranus, Mars, Mercury Retrograde

Celtic Tree Month of Ivy

Rainy, cold, raw

Today is my mother’s 96th birthday, which I believe is cause for celebration!

On the garden front, nothing much to report. Last Friday, the wonderful guy who mows came and took care of the leaves – which is good, because I was NOT looking forward to it.

Of course, by Sunday, the yard was full of leaves again!

But it’s autumn, and those who don’t want leaves on the ground should live somewhere without seasons.

The tradeoff between having wonderful trees and raking leaves? Happy to have it.

Today or tomorrow, I’m going to harvest the last of the basil and make another batch of pesto. There are a couple of tomatoes hanging on. We’ll take in the herbs.

The rest will have to be cut back, and the pots put away over the coming week. Next weekend (not this one, busy with Samhain, Day of the Dead, Tending the Dead this one), I will take in the furniture out on the deck, and give it a final scrub for winter.

The plants we’ve brought in are happy to be inside. They’re doing well. The angle of the sun is very different, much lower than it was in summer, so I have to adjust where I place the plants for sun.

It’s fascinating to watch the changes in the sun’s angle and the way things grow, though.

For Halloween, I still have to put up the lights outside, which I will do on Saturday morning. It’s stormy today and tomorrow, so I’ll leave it. I’m then setting up a table in the front yard, with information for socially-distanced Halloween, the jar candles I made with spider-web netting and battery-operated candles, and the treat bags. If we have trick or treaters, they get a bag with 3 edibles and 3 non-edibles. If we don’t, I have bags for next year, wherever we may be, and we’ll eat the candy between now and the end of the year!

It’s positive, whichever way it works.

How’s your autumn?

Thurs. Oct. 22, 2020: First Frost

image courtesy of Art Tower via pixabay.com

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Waxing Moon First Quarter in Capricorn

Neptune, Uranus, Mars, Mercury Retrograde

Celtic Tree Month of Ivy

Foggy and warm

Last weekend was our first frost.

I rearranged my bedroom so that I could bring in a low bookcase that holds the two large geraniums. Two smaller plant stands hold two more geraniums. The gigantic peace lily, which I bought in a 4” pot the first winter we lived here, is on my vanity table – where the cats can’t get at it.

My mother took in some of the smaller geraniums to her bedroom. Geraniums help with love, acceptance, and balance, so these are good plants to have in a bedroom. The peace lily is about comfort and harmony (and about purity and sexual energy). Again, fine for the bedroom.

The maiden hair fern, which was so unhappy in the back bedroom last winter, but revived out on the deck, is now in a sunny, warm spot in my office. Maidenhair fern is used for purity and beauty. A paste made from the fronds helps with some insect stings.

The yellow begonia is in the living room. Its association with caution, gratitude, and justice make sense there.

We’re tucking in the rosemary, tarragon, chive, and parsley where we can fit them, and where they can get decent sunlight.

Slowly, I’m clearing away the space we use for quarantine in the garage (moving it to another section), so the large overwinter plants (rose of Sharon, forsythia, lilac) can overwinter there. I plan to get them in this week.

The pansies are still blooming like crazy, so I’ll leave those baskets out longer.

As the other annuals die back, I’m removing them from the pots and stacking the pots in the garage, on the side for pots we don’t need to water all winter! We’ll harvest the last few tomatoes this week, and then scrub and put those pots away.

I still have to put up the lights for Halloween and some of the exterior decorations. It’s been so windy that it hasn’t made sense.

I’ll start putting away the furniture this weekend and next weekend – while still trying to steal a few minutes to sit outside and enjoy the deck here and there!

I am so tired of every day hearing chainsaws and leaf blowers. No one is making things beautiful. It’s all about destruction. Everything that makes Cape Cod wonderful and beautiful is being destroyed.

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