21 November 2009

edge of new garden

Two views of the edge that I’ve dug. I may get the rest turned over before the ground freezes so that it can settle through the winter.

Or I may not.

Funny how digging this outline is making me look at the rest of the yard differently now.

vegetable garden put to bed

That feels so very good: A last weeding; thick layer of chopped leaves topping off each box; a little screening to hold it in place all nice and snug.

We left the brussels sprout stalks (they’ve provided some convenient forage for the deer, I guess; can you tell?) because we like the way they look this time of year.

The garlic cloves I planted are sprouting; I noticed this while I was spreading the leaves. This is good, I guess. Nice healthy garlic. And now that they’re covered over with a little insulation, they can have a nice winter’s nap.

Why am I anthropomorphizing garlic?

cranberry salad from thelma’s treasures

From a great little cookbook B and I picked up a few years back at a bookstore in Harrodsburg, Kentucky. B’s mom called this evening to get the recipe for an early Thanksgiving dinner at her church tomorrow afternoon. Yum!

6 ounces cream cheese
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons sugar
1 pound cranberry sauce
1 (9 ounce) can crushed pineapple
1/2 cup pecans
2 cups Cool Whip

Mix together all of the ingredients and let sit overnight. Put the salad into containers and freeze it indefinitely.

12 November 2009

sisyphean: “endless and unavailing, as labor or a task”

Didn’t he do sort of this kind of thing, too?

Happy leaf gathering 2009!

11 November 2009

2009 header images

Just for the fun of it: a catalog of the header images I've used on the blog this year. There may be a few more lurking somewhere; I will add them as I find them. Suzann told me yesterday that she enjoyed seeing them change through the months (I honestly thought I was the only one who even noticed that I switched them out!).

View of winter sky through icy crabapple branches, January.

House, prayer shack, chicken coop and garage from the vegetable garden, January.
B walking the cowpath from the hay barn, January.
Blue hour near the garage, early February.Prayer shack from the lilac thicket, March.Early spring pansy on the fire escape, New York City, April.Hellebores at St. John's in the Village Episcopal Church, New York City, April.Species tulips and grape hyacinths on West 11th Street, New York City, April.Spring in Abingdon Square Park, New York City, April.Crabapples in bloom on Pleasant Hill, May.Lilac leaves with blue sky beyond, taken from the hammock, May.Pea plants for June!Hosta leaves in the lilac thicket, July.Helenium for Mama Helen, August.Sunrise across the road, August.Mid-October sunrise across the road.Happy Halloween from a spooky house on a hill.Larches goldening across the road, November.

10 November 2009

a beginning

When we moved into our first largish apartment in New York City, B and I arranged all of our furniture in much the same way we had placed it in the smaller apartments we’d lived in elsewhere in the city. The sofa was two feet from the coffee table, which was two feet from the easy chair, and so on and so forth.

After about a year in the larger apartment, we realized we could relax the space between our various pieces of furniture. In fact, we could snug something up against one wall if we wanted to, and then put a table or shelf against the other and have some space to walk between them.

We’re feeling much the same way about the gardens up at the house. I dug the outline of the new bed yesterday. It extends the old bed at the south side of the house into the bed we put in around a portion of the patio a few years ago. The new outline is expansive; it is larger and more encompassing as it embraces about two-thirds of the patio; I really have to walk around it. As such, it’s very different than what we’ve been working with for the past few years.

I can’t wait for B to see it. I think he’ll have the same response I have: Whew! Now I can breathe!

09 November 2009

indian summer

We are in the midst of a last few days of gentle, warm weather before winter arrives: a real Indian summer. The sky last night was full of stars, and the moon over the creek across the road was a half-lit mellow gold. This morning the sun ever-so-politely melted the frost off the grass. There isn’t a cloud in the sky . . . or a bird at the feeder, for that matter. Where are they? Maybe they’ve found a comfortable perch where they can take in this gauzy, fragile warmth.

I finished raking down by the road yesterday afternoon and gave the side and back lawns their last mowing of the season, more for neatening than necessity. I am planning today to dig the outline of the new flower bed so that I can put away the hose that marks its edge.

Dale the dog split his dewclaw this weekend and has been worrying it no end, so I arranged to take a vacation day and have made an appointment for him to see the veterinarian this morning. She will, I hope, provide him with a little relief. Poor dawg.

I woke up singing the first line of the old standard “Indian Summer”: “Summer, you old Indian summer . . .” which, really, is all I want to sing, because the rest of the song is about love lost. But surely there’s a poem that speaks to the way I feel today. Cue Google.

Indian Summer
by Emily Dickinson

These are the days when birds come back,
A very few, a bird or two,
To take a backward look.

These are the days when skies put on
The old, old sophistries of June,—
A blue and gold mistake.

Oh, fraud that cannot cheat the bee,
Almost thy plausibility
Induces my belief,

Till ranks of seeds their witness bear,
And softly through the altered air
Hurries a timid leaf!

Oh, sacrament of summer days,
Oh, last communion in the haze,
Permit a child to join,

Thy sacred emblems to partake,
Thy consecrated bread to break,
Taste thine immortal wine!