Thurs. May 27, 2021: Carpenter Ants

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Thursday, May 27, 2021

Last Day of the Full Moon in Sagittarius

Pluto Retrograde

Saturn Retrograde

Cloudy and pleasant

The lilacs are absolutely magnificent this year. It will be sad when they fade. I’m so grateful we were still here to enjoy them.

The grass is coming in well. I’m conscientious about the watering. It’s fun to watch the difference from day to day. If anyone makes a derogatory comment about “watching grass grow” as something boring, they are sadly mistaken! It’s quite fun.

Monday morning, I discovered a swarm of carpenter ants coming out of the seam between the deck roof and the kitchen door. I had a fit. Hosed them off, used ant killer. Called the landlord, so we could form a plan of action. I can’t stand ants. I didn’t even really know what carpenter ants were, except that they were big and scary. When I looked it up online, it was even scarier.

But it’s being dealt with.

The landlord mowed the front, so we’re not suffering from vacant lot syndrome. Per his request, I removed the cedar barrel with the chrysanthemums from the front.

I have to talk to our neighbors down the street, who are avid gardeners, to see if they want our potted lilacs, roses of Sharon, and some of the other big plants we most likely can’t take with us. Otherwise, they need to go up on Craigslist this week or next.

No takers for the electric shovel yet.

Garage is getting there; I still have to sort out some of the broken saucers that can be tossed, and get more recycling to the dump.

We’re getting there slowly, but have to accelerate over the next few weeks, even though we don’t yet know where we are going.

The tourists are already swarming, even worse than the carpenter ants. They are nastier than ever. It will be good to be out of here before the summer gets even more intense.

Enjoy your Memorial Day weekend! Hopefully, you can spend time outside.

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

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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. Nov. 5, 2020: A Stretch of Warm Autumn Weather

image by Anja courtesy of Pixabay.com

Thursday, November 5, 2020

3rd Quarter  Waning Moon in Cancer

Neptune, Uranus, Mars Retrograde

Sunny and warmer

Celtic Tree Month of Reed

We’re in for a stretch of 7 to 10 days of weather in the 60’s and 70’s. That means I can work outside, cutting back the plants that need it. It also means I will not bring in the deck furniture this weekend, although I will be clearing out the annuals that have died back.

I want to spend the last few days enjoying the deck!

Today is a planting day, so I’m putting some saved seeds from an organic lemon into a pot and seeing what happens.

We’re in Leaf Blower Season (although, around here, every season is Leaf Blower Season) where all the men in the neighborhood with no inner lives spend each morning and night in their tiny yards making noise and mess with their Freudian implements.

I plan to make this weekend one of healing, especially for myself, since I was sick as all getout yesterday. I want to enjoy sun and good weather, and give myself a reprieve from the darkness in the world, especially post-election.

Votes are still being counted as I write this, and I’m not counting on anything until they’re counted.

Thurs. Oct. 29, 2020: Almost Samhain!

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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

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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.

Thurs. Oct. 15, 2020: Quiet Autumn

image courtesy of Mabel Amber via pixabay.com

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Dark Moon, 4th quarter in Virgo

Neptune, Uranus, Mercury, Mars Retrograde

Cloudy and pleasant

Celtic Tree Month of Ivy

There just isn’t a lot to say about the garden right now. I need to cut back some more as the lilies suck the chlorophyll back into the bulbs. Soon, I’ll start raking leaves.

This weekend, we have to take in some of the plants to overwinter. I’m not taking in all the furniture yet. Sometimes, it’s still nice enough to sit out for a few minutes.

We have to figure out where to put the enormous peace lily and the maidenhair fern. We thought the fern died in spring, but it’s come back and is gorgeous. Last winter, it wasn’t in a sunny enough spot. We will fix it this year.

We’re still in drought. I’m still planning gardens for various stories (and still not happy with any of the software). I’m fantasizing about next spring’s garden, but it is more likely to be spring 2022, since spring of 2021 has so much transition in it.

How’s your garden doing?

Thurs. Oct. 1, 2020: Chrysanthemums Start Blooming

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Thursday, October 1, 2020

Full Moon in Aries

Pluto, Neptune, Uranus, Mars Retrograde

Celtic Tree Month of Ivy

Cooler

Not much to report on the garden front. We had some more tomatoes, which were luscious, and enough beans for another meal – so good. In the next few years, I want to grow more beans.

The chrysanthemums are starting to bloom. I have some that are in a hanging basket on the deck, acting like vines, and then the pots I bought for the front. The one in the barrel is still considering its options.

I put lawn food down on Sunday. It rained quite a bit Tuesday and Wednesday, so I hope it soaked in rather than washing off.

Leaves are falling; soon it will be time to rake. Neighbors have started up the daily leaf blowing. Not that most of them ever stopped.

Of course, all this leaf blowing means all the leaves in the neighborhood eventually end up in MY lawn (because the neighbors blow them into corners of their property and the wind takes them here). Since I am the only person who actually brings the leaves to the dump. . .

Pretty soon, we’ll have to start taking in the big pots to the garage to overwinter, which means setting up our quarantine area in the garage somewhere else.

Today, however, is the first day of October, which means the decorating starts, both inside and outside. I’m looking forward to adding bits and bobs to the yard and gusseying up the house for the holidays.

We get two full moons in October, which makes me happy.

I will take and post pictures on the Instagram account, which is @devonelllingtonwork. I use that account for garden, cats, cooking, textiles – very little book promotion!

How’s your garden doing?

Thurs. Sept. 24, 2020: First Prep to Put the Yard to Bed

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Thursday, September 24, 2020

Second Quarter Waxing Moon in Capricorn

Celtic Tree Month of Vine

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune, Uranus, Mars Retrograde

Pleasantly warm

We’re warming up for a few days, which is nice. Hopefully, that means I can get some work done out in the yard.

It was mowed last Saturday, probably the last mow of the season, although I’m putting down some lawn food over the next few days in the front, so it has some nutrition as it prepares for winter.

Leaves are falling, which means the raking begins again soon.

Mabon was on Tuesday, and we’re tipping back into shorter days now, until the Winter Solstice. I enjoy this portion of the year, although many don’t.

Cutting back the beds as they die off; cutting back or removing the annuals from the pots as they finish.

I’ll have to rearrange the garage soon. The section where I overwinter the large, potted plants (because it gets natural light) is what I’ve been using for quarantining boxes, bags, and other things coming into the house during the pandemic.

I’m already excited about next Thursday, because it’s the first of October, and I start decorating!

As I start putting pots, etc., away, I have to do a good scrub out, better than usual, because things will be quite different when they are used again in the spring.

The pesto’s all made, and it’s yummy. I’m keeping one pot of basil inside at a sunny window, so I can get a few more weeks’ worth of fresh basil for cooking. The rosemary, parsley, thyme, and chives will probably need to come in soon. I have to find good places for them, too, so I can use them as long as they last.

Not a good year for tomatoes this year. I will try different seeds next year. The Botanical Interests seeds, which I’ve always liked, were a disappointment. I will go back to Johnny’s for seeds next spring, and also order some from Kitchen Gardens.

How are you starting to put things to bed for the winter? Or are you in the Southern Hemisphere, where things are just starting to wake up?

Thurs. Sept. 17, 2020: Rumors of Frost

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Thursday, September 17, 2020

New Moon in Virgo

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune, Uranus, Mars retrograde

Celtic Tree Month of Vine

Cloudy and cool

There are rumors we might get our first frost this weekend. Some of the plants, such as the tomatoes, will have to come in at night. We still don’t have our new furnace (which was supposed to be installed by last Thanksgiving), so I’m getting in firewood for the fireplace, just in case, either today or tomorrow.

The cats have grown in fluffy coats. Tessa looks like a small black bear with all that fur. I think it will be a cold winter.

It’s very dry, so the yard hasn’t had a chance to do much. I’m behind in cutting things back (big surprise). I should do that this weekend. We’re getting one more mow this week, and then maybe one more in October, if necessary, and then we’re done for the season.

Then, it will be all about raking leaves – and raking the neighbors’ leaves that wind up here when they leaf blow. I am the only person in the neighborhood who actually bags them and takes them to the dump.

I should think about fall crops, but, honestly, I think the winter’s going to come in too hard and too fast for them.

I’m already thinking ahead to next spring, and how I have to set up tables inside so I can start enough plants inside early.

Autumn is my favorite season, in spite of the waning light, but there’s a lot of work involved. I want to make sure I get it done this year, so it’s not all a big mess in the spring.

How’s your garden doing? When do you plan to put it to bed for the season?

Thurs. Aug. 27, 2020: Visit From a Hummingbird

hummingbird-5255827_1920
image courtesy of fprose via pixabay.com

Thursday, August 27, 2020
2nd Quarter Waxing Moon in Sagittarius
Celtic Tree Month of Hazel
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Cooler

Red sky this morning. Wonder if we’ll have storms coming through?

Not much to say on the garden front. The Roses of Sharon are blooming, and the bees are very happy. We’re getting more cucumbers. We have tomatoes, but they’re not getting ripe; they’re staying green. The grass hasn’t grown much, but it’s looking a bit better. Hopefully, the lawn food arrives soon and I can feed it for the autumn.

It’s a little cooler now, and you can smell the earth early in the morning and in the evening. It’s not quite the scent of autumn yet, but also not summer.

I’m pulling out the lily stalks as they finish browning, and the chlorophyll sinks back into the bulb. When the stalks are done, they pull right out. I’ll have to cut back the hosta blooms that have faded.

The hydrangeas were lovely this year, but they’re starting to fade, too.

I can’t believe some of our pansies are still blooming!

In a couple of weeks, I’ll get a few pots of chrysanthemums, especially for the front.

I’ve been looking at garden design/planning software as a tool to draw maps for the books that have gardens in them. I didn’t realize there was so much out there!

I started with Plan-A-Garden, from Better Homes and Gardens, and even that is overwhelming. It will be useful when I get in close and detail specific plants, but it doesn’t have me do the aerial view of the design of the entire property, which is where I need to start. I’m stuck on my current book until I can map that out. The magazine does that often, so I know the software exists, I just don’t know what it is. So I guess I’ll start, once again, with pencil and paper, and go from there. Otherwise, it becomes an excuse not to write.

I’m going to look at some of the other software options, too, but many of them are too complicated. I can’t take three weeks to teach myself something and then find out it doesn’t do what I need it to do.

I’m looking forward to the cooler weather. Not looking forward to raking leaves, especially since all my neighbors do is amp up their leaf blower use (from daily in the summer to twice or three times daily in autumn). They make big piles of leaves on their property that are then carried by the wind to my property, and I’m the one who rakes them and bags them and takes them to the dump. I’m getting tired of it, after ten years.

Willa and Charlotte love being out on the deck in the playpens. Tessa would rather be free to roam, but it’s too dangerous at this point.

The other day, as I sat outside reading, a hummingbird visited to drink from the flowers. First hummingbird I’ve seen this season (we usually have quite a few). It was a delight to watch.

Next week, the summer decorations start transforming into autumn – the over-sized hummingbird comes down, the basket of fall foliage goes up on the front door. We start switching out the summer fabrics to autumn-themed ones. The big changeover comes October 1, when the white lace curtains come down and the black spiderweb curtains go up, and everything goes to Samhain décor.

Meanwhile, we keep on keeping on.

I have to figure out when to harvest the basil this year. There’s a lot of it, which means plenty of basil pesto to get us through the winter. It’s so much more delicious than anything from the store.

In the next few weeks, I’ll have to see about getting in another load of firewood for the winter, too.

But I intend to enjoy my time in the yard and on the deck as much as possible!

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