Monday, November 29, 2010

moving on...

Holidays and other miscellaneous personal stuff have prevented me from having the time to write much lately.  The details aren't important, but let's just say it's been a little crazy around here.

Somehow in my (clearly) weakened mental state I allowed this to happen.

Yes that is a satellite dish in the middle of the garden, in the front of my house.  I say the garden, instead of my garden as it doesn't really feel like mine yet, especially this section which I haven't touched at all.  Now why, you ask is the dish located on the ground, instead of on the roof?  Well according to our neighborhood covenants that's not allowed (okay lawyer friends, I know, but it's really not worth the effort).  We like our new neighborhood, so we'd rather not make a scene.  So I guess the landscaping in this part of the yard is going to have to get real creative with the plant placement.  At this point I'll have to console myself that having access to so much football makes my husband very, very happy.  And I will be sure to remind him how happy it made him when I need to shlep 40 pound bags of compost around the property, rip out large deep rooted shrubs, etc.

In the meantime all of the leaves have finished falling too.  I've been thanking my lucky stars that we have someone to pick up all those leaves, because if it were left up to me, it would never happen.  Who cares about the lawn anyway?  When we bought our house last winter, one of the things that appealed to us was the woods and rock face that would provide us with lots of privacy. In the summer, it was impossible to see  with all the dense vegetation and was difficult to pass through.  But now, everything is brown and dry, well except the Christmas Ferns (Polystichum acrostichoides), and it's beautiful to walk through.

I keep thinking we might see a mountain goat up here one day.  Not such a stretch, as there are actually goats living on the other side.

Now this is clearly on our property, so I'm not trespassing.  However I sure am wondering why the prior owners put this up?

Friday, November 19, 2010

time for penance

Following yesterday's all alcohol related post, I give you the following, via Bettina at The Lunch Tray

Thursday, November 18, 2010

when life gives you lemons...

The changing of the clocks is always difficult for me (not the extra hour of sleep part).  When it gets dark at 4:30, I find it really depressing, and the days very long.  One of my friends likes to say, "I'm solar powered and I only work when the sun is shining" and that seems about right to me.  Oh, and I also hate the cold.

So for the last few weeks I've been plotting my plan for these long winter months.  What will I do with those precious moments of sunlight of every day?  Winter pruning, definitely, but not until February and March when the trees are dormant, but not that far from bud break.  Writing, hopefully, but will I have enough ideas to keep going through the whole winter?  Baking, probably, I could easily do that every day. But then I might not be able to move around the garden by the time spring comes along.

So I was in Whole Foods the other day, and organic lemons were on sale.  I'd had the idea to make my own limoncello for at least a year now, and hadn't done it.  So it seemed like karma, life gives you lemons, make limoncello...
It's feeling more summery in here already!

There's not much work required, lemons, alcohol a jar, and some simple syrup about a month from now, after all the flavor has been infused into the vodka.  Oh, and when I say vodka, I don't mean Grey Goose or Absolut or whatever you have around the house.  Every limoncello recipe I found calls for 100 proof vodka, which honestly I did not know existed.

Formerly one of my grandmother's pickling jars (you'll have to wait for next summer for a post on my family's famous pickles) it even has lemons imprinted in the glass, so maybe it was another sign that I was on the right path.
Wow, the smell of that vodka cleared my sinus for sure.  Who actually drinks that stuff?

I'm now starting to 100 proof wonder if this was a good idea.  I'm a notorious light weight when it comes to drinking, (2 glasses of wine and I'm toast) so I'm thinking that when this is done (about 30-45 days from now) it will need to be given away to others.  Maybe I should've made lemon cake instead?

Saturday, November 13, 2010

need some help in your yard?

Maybe you could hire this group?  If only, that were possible!

I was fortunate to attend Horticulture school at the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx.  While it took all sorts of crazy gymnastics to get there a couple of times a week, and I was relieved when I was finished - now I miss being there a lot (uh-oh, more school in my future).

This weeping Katsura tree (Cercidiphyllum japonicum) is just outside the academic building at the Garden's 250 acre campus in the Bronx.  It's a beautiful tree all on it's own, but one of it's best attributes is it's smell.  No, it doesn't have showy flowers with a beautiful fragrance in the spring or summer.  In the fall it smells like cotton candy, seriously.

What's crazy, for all the work put in to moving it as shown in the video (a few familiar face there, hey guys!) they only moved it about 25 feet.  There must have been a reason, I'd love to know what it was.

If you've never had the opportunity to visit the New York Botanical Garden, I can't recommend it highly enough.  I'll even give you a tour, because lord knows I've criss-crossed those 250 acres on foot more times than I can count.

Monday, November 8, 2010

More hero vegetables

First it was zucchini.  Now butternut squash?  Seriously?

Store Customer Uses Squash To Stop Robber - News Story - WMUR Manchester

let it snow?

Nothing like a little white stuff on the ground to remind you how much still needs to be done in the garden.  It's the first week of November, and it snowed this morning.  Early and a bit of a fluke here in Connecticut, but pretty much the kick in the pants I need to get things done.  Like plant bulbs.  Definitely not too late (bulbs can be planted until the ground is frozen) but it would be good if I actually would place a bulb order, and get them here.  Then they might have half a chance of getting in the ground. I've been stalling, because my bulb order is going to be so large this year.  Bulbs are usually the gift that keeps giving - you plant them, and they keep coming back every year with very little effort.  At our old house I would just add a handful of new ones each year, to replace the ones that had peetered out, or had been eaten by various animals.  This year, I'm starting from scratch.  There is not one bulb on our entire 3 acre property, not one daffodil, or crocus, really. So I'm thinking my bulb order bill might rival my mortgage payment this month.  Little known fact about bulbs (and corms, rhizomes, tubers) is if they are planted the wrong way they will turn themselves as they are sensitive to gravity/sunlight.  This seems like a silly piece of information - until you look at some and they seem to have roots growing out of both ends, like this...
Crocus sativus via SRGC Bulb log

The only bulbs I have managed to get in the ground is my garlic.  When you look up garlic in catalogs, it always says, "garlic seed"  but it's not tiny little seeds, just heads of garlic, looks like what you would buy in the supermarket.  The heads get separated, and the largest and best looking get planted.  I chose a hardneck variety as these are the only types that send up a "flower" known as a garlic scape. Prized find at farmers market each spring, they make an awesome pesto.

German Red Rocamble Garlic
These get rejected, since they have a little green growth already (probably from the random warm days we had this fall, when the bulbs were in the gararge.)

And in they go...