Wednesday, October 31, 2007


Today was a beautiful day, perfect for yard work, so I went back to the recycle place to get more mulch. We had already made four trips earlier in the month and my son and I made three trips today, but I still need more mulch.

I'm so tired of mulching already. I'm very thankful it's free, but it is time consuming and very tiring to do it this way. We put a tarp in the SUV and I take as many large containers as I can find, the ones my trees and shrubs were purchased in, large Rubbermaid containers, a trash can or two and kitty litter buckets. We fill them, load them in the car, return home and empty and spread it in the flower beds and repeat the process.

Last year we ordered three cubic yards of hardwood mulch for $67.50 from a local landscape company and had it delivered. I didn't like the mulch they used and didn't want it again. It hardened like concrete around the trees, so hard that I almost needed the pickax to remove it. I had never seen mulch harden like that did. I honestly don't think the rain could have penetrated it.

Anyway,the mulch from the recycle center was better, (cleaner), today than what we got earlier this month. If the weather holds out I hope to get a couple more loads to cover things a little better. I'd love to have the side yard near my neighbor completely mulched, the neighborhood kids keep cutting the corner and stepping over my small shrubs and grasses. Maybe mulching the whole area will give them more of a distinct boundary. I can only hope.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

First Freeze

I went outside yesterday morning to survey the damage from our first freeze.

The bird feeders were covered with hungry sparrows and the birdbath water was frozen.

The cosmos and zinnias were completely destroyed by the freeze. They still looked O.K. while frozen, but when thawed they turned an ugly brown. I pulled them all up today.

I couldn't believe it when I looked up and saw the hot air balloon. It was way too cold for a sunrise balloon ride.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Freeze Warning and Creature Feature

Today was a gorgeous and exciting day at Robin's Nesting Place. After the frost this morning I was surprised to find several visitors in my garden this afternoon.

Once again the painted lady butterflies were all over my almost dead zinnias. I never expected to see them again this year. We are expecting a freeze tonight and I doubt those zinnias will last through the night, so today's visit was a special treat for me.

Not only did I have the butterflies, but for the very first time since I've lived here I had blue jays in my yard. I was in the kitchen preparing lunch and enjoying the usual glance out the window and I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw three of them descend on my feeders. Their loud cry is unmistakable and they immediately sent the sparrows scurrying off.

I know that they are considered a menace to some because of their bullying and raucous ways, but I have really missed seeing them and I hope they will stay.

This may seem silly to some, but when I read Lisa at Greenbow Gardens post about watching her bird feeder, and Robin (bumblebees) post on her lack of birds , I began wistfully thinking of my bird feeders back home in Alabama and how I missed the variety of birds that I had there, I thought then that I wouldn't really consider my bird feeder a success until I saw a blue jay. Then low and behold, here they are today after almost seven years. I've been like a giddy child all day thinking about this little blessing. Now all I need are the woodpeckers, dark-eyed juncos, chickadees and nuthatches. Well, maybe next year.

This wasn't a nice surprise, one of them met their demise. If only I was a little quicker on my feet...

With the freeze warning tonight, I'm very glad that I have my gerbera daisies tucked safely inside. I have enjoyed their blooms since spring and they are still giving and will hopefully be in bloom for November Blogger Bloom Day.

First Frost

We had our first frost this morning but it turned out to be a gorgeous autumn day, absolutely perfect. Well, I'm off to walk the dog and the husband and enjoy this wonderful evening.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Comment Problems

I've had my blog since April and have never really had any problems with comments on it, but over the last couple of days I've been getting a lot of junk comments on older posts. The comments are coming from things like discount pharmacies and one tonight came from something about Britney Spears. I've deleted all of them and don't really know what to do to prevent them from being posted. I really don't want to moderate post before allowing them and I like to keep things as simple as possible for those who comment. If I have the word verification will this eliminate the problem?

Is anyone else having this problem? What can I do to prevent it from happening on my blog? Could someone please advise me?


Friday, October 26, 2007

Collecting Seeds

I was pulling up the most pitiful looking of the zinnias and I saw this one laying on the ground. The sun was hitting it just right and to me it looked so beautiful. It was much prettier on the underside than the topside.

Being from the south, I really, really hate winter and it grieves me to be pulling up my plants knowing that it will be a long time before I'll get to enjoy their beauty again. At the same time though, it feels good to get things cleaned up.

While out cleaning today I collected seeds from a few of the plants.

This is an almost black and white picture of the seed pod of the balloon flower. I let the seed pods dry on the plant and then I broke them off and poured out the seeds.

There are a lot of seeds in those pods. I've never grown my own balloon flowers before but I thought I'd give it a try this winter.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Warning! Close-up of the Underside of a Spider

I put the picture of the bee on the zinnia here first just to give warning to those who wouldn't want to see an up-close picture of the underside of a spider. My husband, who hates to even look at things like this, has warned me that I'll run people off if I keep showing creepy insect pictures. I personally find all creatures fascinating even if they are creepy, though I do agree that some things are very difficult for me to look at too.

I thought this picture was just too interesting not to share.

This spider was on the sliding glass doors. I hate spiders too and I think they are creepy, but I had my camera in my hand and was on my way outside to take pictures. I had never gotten a really good look at the underside of a spider before. I have a lot of friends who homeschool and I thought their boys might enjoy this shot. For those who are brave enough, click to enlarge.

Getting Ready for the First Frost

Frost is in the forecast for Monday and I still have so much yet to do. I had a little time yesterday outside and got a few of the things marked off of my mental list. While outside, I saw several bluebirds. I hadn't seen them since spring. For some reason, bluebirds have always delighted me.

I'm not sure what to do with the lantana. I'd like to try and overwinter them in the garage if there's room. I collected a few seeds from each species to plant. I'm not sure that I'll have success with germination; I've read that they take a long time and are hard to grow. I have already tried to root a couple of sprigs and they died. I'll guess I'll try it again and this time bring them inside so that I can keep a more watchful eye.

I dug up all of the gerbera daisies and will keep them inside for the winter. I want to learn how to propagate these as well. It would be so wonderful to have a greenhouse for overwintering all of these plants. I am thankful that I have a loft area upstairs and have extra room for my growing station.

I also moved a large grass, planted some bulbs, moved a few small verbena volunteers and echinacea to one of my side yard beds, and planted the small butterfly bush I rooted, (I hope it wasn't too soon).

While I was working outside I got a call from my neighbor with an invitation to meet some of the other neighbor ladies at Barnes and Noble for a drink and to chat. Do you know how bad fleece smells when you wear it to work in the yard? Like a wet stinky dog. I had like five minutes to change clothes and run a brush through my hair and off I went for a few hours of time with the ladies and to enjoy my favorite Starbucks drink, a sugar-free, light, caramel frappuccino with a single shot of espresso.

Hopefully, I'll have a chance to get a few more things done today. I've got to find some time to finish mulching.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Strange Evening Sky

Today was a dreary, gray, cold and cloudy day. This evening at dusk for just a few minutes the sun tried to appear and break through the clouds. The sight was amazing to behold. The above picture is completely untouched and was taken without the camera flash. As you can see it was just about dark and still very cloudy.

This picture was lightened a little and is more like what actually saw. The heavy clouds were so red. It was quite beautiful and very interesting.

This picture is also untouched. It doesn't even look real, does it?

Since it was getting so dark, the camera just didn't quite capture the amazing beauty, but at least you can tell how heavy the flaming red clouds were.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Purr-fect Autumn Wreath

My kitty has always loved sleeping in my seasonal wreaths. I found this picture tonight that I took of her when she was a tiny kitten asleep in our Christmas wreath.

This afternoon I put my fall wreath on the table, some of the flowers were loose and I needed to hot glue them back on.

She woke up for a few seconds when she heard a fly in the room. Then promptly nodded off again.
She spent several hours in the center of the wreath sound asleep.