Friday, October 21, 2011

Fertilizer Friday: October 21

Here it is, Fertilizer Friday again over at Tootsie's.  Be sure to see all the gorgeous gardens she's sharing this week, ok? 

Not much of great beauty is blooming here now, so what I'll do is tell you what's been going on and throw pictures of what's left in the midst of the tale as it unfolds.  (You know I'm long-winded, so the pictures will relieve some of the boredom.)

The last few days the weather hasn't been very cooperative at all, we've had high winds at times, drizzle, and temps in the upper 40's.  I didn't spend any time at all cutting stone for ol' Aaargh, though I know I should have.  Instead, between rain showers, I started cleaning the garden up for winter.    
The River  Bed is only partially cleaned out though, try as I might, I couldn't yank out all the annuals just yet.  The zinnias did give up last week, so they're history, but those 'Inca' marigolds are still carrying on along with the 'Victoria' salvia and the begonias.  The 'Red Rooster' grass in the urn reached some pretty amazing heights, too.  The sedums will be the only thing left in this bed except for the Serbian spruce on a stick when I finally make up my mind summer is over.

But not yet.

Mums are still blooming, so they're safe from my Cleanup Crusade
  At first I was using a wheelbarrow for the clean up, but you all know how far a wheelbarrow goes when you're removing hundreds of hostas, annuals and other perennials from the garden--not very. It was full after only a few feet of yanking out and cutting back.  I had to become more efficient, I'm running behind here.

Yup, that looks like Fall, all right.  No denying it.
  My second thought was to use our little garden trailer.  Well, after a trip to the barn, I could scratch that plan, the lawnmower I use to tow it with had a dead battery.  The battery charger was up at Mom's and in the interest of saving time, I decided against going up to Mom's to get it.   I gave up and resigned myself to using the wheelbarrow until it became apparent I'd be spending most of my time wheeling load after load from the garden to the compost pile in the Back Eight.  Yeah, I can use the steps for my Five Mile Crusade, but sheesh, I have to get some work done and this wasn't very speedy.  
Gray, blustery days for the most part, with sunshine here and there for most of the week.
That's when I decided to use our little car trailer.  It has a one ton capacity and with the gates on the side, I could fill it up to a height of three feet before it needed dumping.  I hopped in my car to tow it and drove down our back lane and backed up to the trailer where it was parked out by the windmill. 
Black-eyed Susan vine is still amongst the living yet, too.

That's when yet another problem popped up;  Joel had lent out a canoe to a friend several weeks ago and when he brought it home, he left the canoe sitting upright on top of the gates of the car trailer.  Well, I thought, I might as well take the canoe back to the shed where it belongs, so I bent down to lift the trailer's pole off the ground to hook it up to the car.   Wait a minute, I couldn't budge it for the life of me.  Well, I'll be......why is it so heavy? 
No, I still didn't dig the sweet potatoes yet.
I gave the canoe a shove, expecting it to fall off the trailer and was surprised when it didn't even budge.  Well, what the?.......but when I peered inside the canoe, I figured it out.  We had over three inches of rain (maybe more) since the canoe was propped up on the rails.   And, as a result, a canoe-ful  of water.   I cannot tell you what a 17' Coleman canoe weighs when it is literally half-full of water, but I will say this for it, it is heavier than even I am!  I'm surprised the old wooden gates on the trailer held up to all that weight.
You gotta love rocks, they look good no matter what season it is.
 So, no big deal, I thought, just dump the water out of the canoe and get on with your day.  I wrestled with that thing back and forth and couldn't get it to tip off the side of the car trailer gates no matter what I did.   (A hidden camera would have been a fun thing to have, wouldn't it?  Just picture me wrestling with a boat.)

The Knockout roses are throwing up their last blooms out in front of the house.  Poor things, I neglected them entirely this year.
   I was just about ready to bail the canoe out with my trowel or poke a hole in it and drain it the 'easy way' when out of frustration I gave it one more mighty shove, "Mess with me, huh?  That's what you think!"

It moved then, yup, it surely did.  The back of the canoe fell off the gate and the whole thing tipped over sideways, spilling directly into the trailer instead of over the side.  Talk about a tidal wave!  It was a blustery 42 degrees out with a sharp north wind which really didn't feel very good after receiving a cold shower for my troubles.   The canoe was empty now, I was wearing most of it.  Time for a wardrobe change. 
After changing to dry clothes, I finally was able to get a lot more done.  The car trailer holds a lot of stuff.  Let's see, what else there is to show you.....

Miscanthus in foreground (and a rock or three, ha) along with petunias, salvia and blue castor beans in the background.
I didn't yank out all the petunias yet.  The 'Bubblegum' supertunias by the White Lady statue are still looking good.

At times, we had brilliant sunshine only to fade immediately and switch over to pelting rain. 

Ernie the Urn looked good right up until Wednesday; the high wind and rain finally did his 'Bubblegum' petunia planting in.  Look at the woods across the road in the background, we did have some spectacular color for a day or two, until the high winds. 
If you look real close, you can see Rufus the Rooster and Ashley the hen at the base of Ernie.  Rufus is noisy. 
The hyacinth beans are setting their pods and still blooming.  There are a few brave bees out and about, too.
The fall color on our little Korean maple was pretty this year, but not as stunning as it had been other years.  This was about as good as it got; it never turned to the fiery crimson it can achieve.
So, that's about it for what's still blooming, though the 'Fresh Look Red' celosia, 'Autumn Joy' sedums and blue castor beans are still looking fairly good out by the road.
I'm afraid things are really and truly winding down for 2011.  Denial will get me nowhere.

On Thursday afternoon, the weather turned really ugly, though I'd worked right through drizzle earlier in the week that came and went, this drizzle stayed and everything was wet.  So I quit trying and decided to surprise Carl by being in the parking lot when he got out of work.  Carl rides to work with our son, Dave, who just bought this a few weeks ago:
Yes, our 21 year-old, six foot tall plus son is now the happy owner of a used diesel Volkswagen Beetle.  He's getting a lot of teasing about it from the boilermakers he works with, "Oooo....look at the Girlie Car".....but he doesn't care.  45 miles per gallon makes him a happy Girlie Car Driver.  And, did I mention it's a diesel?  He loves the growl. 

So, I showed up at their work and had to blow the horn at Carl who did not see me parked in the lot.  He was surprised, though, and I'm always happy to see that smile of his which lights up my day considerably.  We went on a little ride out in the country, which is our most favorite-est thing to do.  Usually we look for rocks and/or rock work, or just plain beautiful scenery and even though it was misting at times, we found all of the above in abundance.

Check out this bridge:

 And then this church turned town hall; loved the mix of rocks and the skilled placement:

 And this really tall church (can you imagine how long it would take us to build that??) :
 Look at that masonry, really different from my joint-raking methods:
We were driving up a hill on a country road when we spied this gem:
What's in there? Turn around, Carl....let's check this out.
Wait, can it be?  A Stone House??
Why, yes, it is!  Admittedly, it's seen better days, and could use a new roof, but it's still standing.   

Oh, the stories this old house could tell....we would have loved to go closer to the ruin, but it was private property and it was starting to rain again, so we behaved ourselves.  We were both touched by the sight of the building-- abandoned, but still sound.  Maybe our Castle Aaargh will last a few years, too.
Even now, in the sunset of it's life, that old stone house in the cornfield was beautiful in our eyes.  (This was the sunset last night from our moving car....Carl stopped so I could get a better shot and right at that point, the battery died.  So, this blurry image will have to do, but look at the color!)

And, I know I should really quit writing since my camera battery died and I ran out of pictures to stave off your boredom,
I have to report on an exciting thing that happened on Monday....our friend Charlie (who is the person responsible for digging the Quarry back in the day and the geothermal excavation and for   loading and arranging to haul all of our big rocks to us over the past nine years) asked if we would be interested in some more rocks.  He was digging a basement in a very stony area and the owner doesn't want them.  (Can you imagine not wanting rocks?  Ok, you probably can, but I can't.) 

"Why don't you guys go and take a look at them and see what you think," Charlie said.  "You'll have to pay for the trucking cost, but that's it."

He gave me the coordinates and since it was raining, right after work on Monday we drove the thirty miles to go see the Orphaned Rocks.  Oh, be still my heart (and phooey, I forgot the camera) look at 'em all....(ok, you can't see them since I forgot the camera, but trust me, there were lots and lots of them.)  The flat limestone isn't as big as most of ours, but still in the 200-500 pound range, and there are some amazingly big round granite boulders (oohs and ahhs are appropriate here, or smelling salts, I was feeling the start of the vapors, surely I was, swoon, swoon.)

These rocks simply MUST come here to live. 

I called Charlie while we were standing there in the midst of them all and asked, "So, which ones do they want to part with?"

"All of 'em," was the answer.

"When?" was my question.

"Hopefully by the end of the week," (this is the end of the week, Anticipation is killing us!) "Or by early next week (ok, I'll wait as long as it takes) at the latest," Charlie said.

Carl refuses to get his hopes up, he thinks the owners will change their minds.  This is a disturbing trend in Carl-land.......normally I'm the pessimist and he's the optimist......gosh, I guess it's true, you do get like the people you live with. 

So, you say, do we really need more rocks?  Yes.  We really, really, REALLY do.

 And, believe it or not, I just received a phone call five minutes ago : 

"The first of the rocks should be there by 1 PM today.  Will you be home?"

Oh, YES, we'll be here!

(Gads, I have to figure out where we're dumping them!!!)

While I'm running around in circles, you just head over to Tootsie's and see gorgeous flowers blooming in the yards of people who are not insane, ok?  She's always got so much beauty to share!
'Til next time,



Indie said...

A new shipment of rocks - how exciting! I, too, am very surprised when people want to get rid of rocks - do you know how much those things cost here in North Carolina?!

Those stone houses are beautiful, and I love your Korean maple! I can't even imagine it more stunning! Our little Japanese maple started turning colors, and then all of a sudden the leaves just started burning up and shriveling, from the sun I guess.

I always love seeing the pictures of your garden - it's always gorgeous!

Junebug said...

Love, love your pictures today! And I'm even smiling over your comment of Carl's smile lighting up your day. Of course you want, oops! NEED more rock! How could you ever finish the castle with out rock? Have a great weekend! Hugs!

Tufa Girl said...

The fall color in the Quarry Garden is amazing. So sorry the cold misty weather has arrived there, I don't do well outside when its cold AND damp. Very exciting to learn about the new boulders - can hardly wait to hear what projects may be made with them. I sure would like to put a roof on that old stone house, just the type place Shawn and I have searched for.

Zoey said...

OMG, how exciting for you--I will be looking forward to see what you do with them.

Your garden still looks great and it's almost November!

Anonymous said...

You have been a busy girl! Sorry I should not laugh but the thought of you and the canoe and all that water!
My grandson will tell Dave his car is cool just like bumblebee in Transformers (no I'm none the wiser for that either!).
The stone house needs someone to love it. (Me me me!!)

Your rock addiction is infectious. I find myself looking at rocks in a new light. I want rocks in my garden to! Luck you two getting lots more. Hope they arrive safe and sound and you have found them a new resting place.
Enjoy you rock sorting.
Sue x

Sandy said...

I remember the days in Central Illinois when wandering around the yard looking at all the flowering plants getting ready to go dormant for the winter months.. a bit sad about it! I felt that in your words today.. The snow takes over soon and you and Carl have put so much work into the grounds, it's time for you both to take a rest during the months to come.. but then your going to be working on those beautiful stained glass pieces.. love them!
The yellow bug is wonderful!!
Nice post as usual.
Thanks for your 'get well' wishes.. I'm feeling so much better.. Forgot how bad one feels with the flu and don't ever want it back..
take care

Gatsbys Gardens said...


Your garden still looks great. We have gotten a few extra days to clean out the garden, warm in the 60's into next week. We have had a few VW Beetles, neat car. I will have to do some more annual vines next year like your hyacinth bean and the black eyed susans.


myomyohi said...

I have to tell you that I am having big time rock envy right this minute. I look for them in ditches, in fields, everywhere! I'm glad he thought of you, and I'm sure you'll find just the perfect spot for them in the spring.


Alison said...

Your garden still looks beautiful! Good for you, leaving things flowering for as long as possible, even if it means they get covered up by the first snow. I've been doing a lot of clean-up lately too, but I don't really have a snow or frost deadline, since our winters are so mild. Anything I miss, I can go out there in February and clean up.

Love your long post, as usual. Too bad you forgot the camera when you went to check out those rocks. I can feel your excitement anticipating them coming next week! WooHoo!

The prettiest colors in your post are the leaves! That first picture is stunning, and echoes the colors in your last photo of the sunset. I bet it was hard not to check out that stone house more closely.

My Garden Diaries said...

Your fall garden looks so beautiful! Still so much color in your gardens! Wow!

Darla said...

I really wish there had been a movie camera on you when you were wrestling with the canoe! Your garden photos are still so pretty, I can see the change of seasons in the maple! I'm sure you were divinely pointed in the direction of the old stonehouse for inspiration and encouragement. Where oh where will you put more rocks? I can't wait to see.

Corner Gardener Sue said...

Hi Karen,
Larry and I are at a coffee shop this morning, and I have been laughing out loud at your antics, from the canoe tipping, to the excitement over more rocks. I had to subdue myself. I enjoyed seeing the fall beauty at your place, too.

Well, if we have to, we can finish our garden cleanup in the spring.

Shyrlene said...

It's such a treat to stop by and see what you are up to. Your gardens look lovely, even though it is the 'sunset' of the growing season. I envy your 'rock accessibility' and cannot imagine why anyone wouldn't want them for the garden!

Beth said...

Karen, The Korean maple is so brilliant - I love it! I enjoyed hearing about the rocks, too and will be following along to see what you do with them.
Blessings, Beth