Thursday, October 01, 2009

When fall comes to the midwest

Happy October, all. We woke this morning to the first frost of fall, and for the first time ever I didn't lose any plants. Just a few leaves off a basil.

A brief return to graduate work is taking me away from my home (and nearly everything else), but at least I get to enjoy gorgeous crisp fall mornings like this.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Putting up

The last few days have been spent preserving, as Rachel over at Hounds in the Kitchen puts it, "working in quarts and pints." Seven pints of tomato sauce are done, and tomatillo salsa is next on the list. The next good-sized batch of tomatoes we get will either be diced or quartered, depending on how big a pain it is to chop them once the skins are removed.

My dear friends Michael and Ann have recently purchased laying hens, and another family we know have been considering getting goats. While I know we are nowhere near ready for that (I would need to convince both Joe and the Gambier zoning board), part of me is a bit jealous. Mostly, though, I'm thrilled to have a slowly-growing group of friends who, in their own ways, are exploring paths that, if they aren't necessarily the same as mine, run close enough by that we can chat while we walk.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Grapes, part II

This was a delightful surprise yesterday. It looks like we'll be harvesting grapes - Concords, from the look and taste - this year. We have lived in this house for over eight years, and never once have we seen ripe grapes on these vines. We'll need to move fast so we can get them picked before the birds make a feast of them (as I suspect has happened in past years).

Thursday, August 20, 2009

My day in charts

Outdoor To-Do List

Interesting to nobody but me, I'm sure, but perhaps posting these online will keep me honest.

  • Finish front gardens
    • transplant 4 ferns
    • dig up 1 dead fern
    • dig and divide black-eyed Susans
  • Clean up porch
  • Turn compost
  • Harvest tomatillos (for salsa and whatever else I can think up)
  • Keep harvesting baby cukes for cornichons
  • Mow
  • Price out wood chipper rental for a day (we have scads of small branches and brush around - enough that it may be cost-effective for us to make our own mulch for next year)
  • Clear out old veg garden and move rocks to make a fire circle
  • Clean gutters (a job that probably should be at the top of the list, but which fills me with fear and loathing)
There are probably several items missing, but it's a start at least. On rainy days I can work on planning out the expanded veg garden for next year. Come fall, I won't be able to do as much as I'd like, but I'd like to get some of the raised bed frames built before spring arrives and I want to start filling them.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Tut tut, it looks like rain

And a good thing, too. The rain barrel is empty again. One or two more barrels are definitely on the wish list for next season.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Out-of-the-box Mousing

Last week, Mehitabel herded a mouse up and out the front door of our house as Joe and I were walking in. Tonight, she somehow cornered a mouse in between two window panes in our bedroom (thank goodness for tilt-to-clean windows and pop-out screens).

I suppose I can't argue with her results, but she must be the strangest mouser I've ever encountered. We've had a cat who had no interest at all in mice (Hardee was all about birds). My folks had a cat who would leave offerings on the doorstep. Hell, Gus was afraid of mice, best I can tell. But this is the first time I've ever met a cat who was both so enthusiastic and so... innovative?

Tuesday, August 04, 2009


A Squash Named Audrey II

We tried to convince the Munchkin to stand behind it, so you could get a true sense of scale, but the vines were a little prickly. It comes up roughly to his waist, and spreads eight feet wide in one direction, between five and six feet in the other. Not bad for his first foray into seed-starting.