Monday, October 17, 2011

How It's Going: Trying Harder

Another weekend is at an end.  Boy has it been windy!  I'm getting a lot tired of the wind but it's forecast to linger around here for at least another two days, so I guess I have to live with it.   We spent Saturday and Sunday working on Castle Aaargh again.
There I am,  raking mortar out of the joints between the stones.
  Whooo boy, the temperatures were really a lot different this weekend, highs in the 50's and with the windchill factored in, it adds up to brrrrrrrr at times.  Last weekend we were working in temperatures near 80 degrees in our shirt sleeves and straw hats.  What a difference 30 degrees makes.  But, it's October, and well, what do we expect?  It could be worse, it could be snowing.

I still haven't done a thing with the gardens yet, either.  Carl said if we get enough snow to bury it all, it won't make a difference, we won't see the mess until Spring.  Still, I'd like to take care of some of it before Winter.  I thought I'd take a few pictures this afternoon when I went on a little break from the rock work.
The miscanthus is so showy this time of year, amazing how it lights up any area it's planted in.  The trumpet vine has finally stopped flowering, but is now showing off it's lovely fall foliage colors.  Trumpet vine is sort of invasive here, it sprouts like a sumac from the roots at rather long distances from the mother plant.  I guess 'invasive' isn't really the right word for it, at least in our garden, maybe I should use the adjective 'adventurous' because it does love to travel a little bit.  The flowers it provides all season long are worth it, though.  I know if the hummingbirds had a vote, it would definitely be a keeper.
The zinnias gave up for the most part, but the Inca marigolds are still going strong.  I can't bring myself to pull them out, even if I had the time, at least not yet.  And look at the Leaning Tower of Hyacinth Beans...the west wind has been so strong it has nearly tipped the trellis over. 
The nasturtiums over on the Pachyberm are a delight this year.  I started these from seed in April and had originally planted them in the lightshade planters that sit in the driveway.  As the summer wore on, they were getting much too big for the pots, so I dug them out and wandered around the yard with the plants in my hands, wondering what I should do with them until I came to a bald patch between the big rocks on the Pachyberm and just plunked them in.  They didn't look too happy about this unceremonious treatment at first and I thought they were goners, but all of a sudden they perked up and the rest is as they say, history.

It appears nasturtiums are fond of rocks, too.
Next year, I think I'll try some of the other colors they have come up with.  I liked the way the nasturtiums grew up between the rocks.  And I really enjoyed their fruity fragrance, too.
Salvia 'Victoria' is a continual favorite of mine.  Love the blues.  (And no, the Japanese White Pine in the background is not dying, that's the normal fall needle drop this time of year.) 
My Wave petunias are also having a good time on the hill yet.  Look how the trees in the woods down the road are almost bare in places.  There's no mistaking Fall is here.
 I just don't have the heart to pull any of these out yet.  I'll be cussing myself out once the temperatures drop to freezing and I know I'll wish I'd done something sooner.  I go through this every year, though; trying to preserve the color as long as possible. 

I know my favorite saying is, "If you can't see it from the road it's ok," at least in reference to Aaargh and the stone work, but this is one garden that can be seen from the road.  It's still looking pretty good, but a bit tired, too.
The only mums I have are some I bought three years ago to stick in the garden for a late season wedding.  I bought them in tiny pots for a few bucks and after the wedding stuck them in the ground really late in the season.  I was amazed when they survived and it's a pleasure to see them every fall.

But anyway, my break is over, let's get back to the stones again:

Yippee!  We have some more sills in for the windows!  Those sills drove Carl's perfectionism right into orbit.  Who had the bright idea to put ten windows in this thing?  Oh, yeah, that was me...but anyway, we have seven in place and only three more to go.  We usually cut stone for only one course all the way around the building and then mortar them in.  The reason we don't cut more than one course high is because you have to allow for the mortar joint and because it's really difficult to remember which rock goes where when you have a stack of stones to unpile to get to the one on the bottom.  It's sort of like frosting a layer cake; you don't want to put all the layers together without frosting!  (See, no wonder I'm a big girl, everything reminds me of food.)
 On Saturday afternoon we had Joel's help again (it goes SO much faster when he's here mixing mortar for us) and then Ann and Jessie stopped in to help, too.  Then things were really hopping.

On Saturday, Joel had to leave just before sunset to go sit out in the woods and scare people.  Yes, that's right, our son volunteers to scare the bajeebas out of people for charity at a 'haunted house' in Green Bay. Isn't that nice of him?  He sits out in the woods with some other scary props and when unsuspecting people come down the trail, he does his best to terrify them.  (Hey, in all fairness, he's only giving the people what they paid for.)  I can attest to the fact that he's scary, all right; last year Carl and I and Ann and her family went on the tour one night and even though I knew the well over six foot tall, big, black-garbed hooded 'thing' with the red eyes silently standing next to the trail was Joel  (I sewed his costume) he's still scary!  He said they had 1,300 people go through on Saturday night.  That's a lot of money for charity, good for them!

But anyway, back to the mortar again (can you tell I get distracted easily?)  With Joel almost continuously mixing mortar, Carl setting the stones, Ann and Jessie filling in the gap in the middle with rubble and me doing the raking out and finishing of the joints, we made excellent progress despite the cold wind and dropping temperatures on Saturday afternoon.  The mortar was setting up ridiculously fast, too, since the air is so dry out.  We were all freezing by the time the sun set.

Ah, togetherness, Carl and I, side by side, mortaring away.

Here Carl is using the string anchored to the middle of the floor and his trusty level as aids to getting the right slant on the sill he's mortaring in. 
Deep breaths, Carl, it will be fine.  You're doing great.  (Those sills are giving him more gray hair, I swear!) 
 On Sunday afternoon, Ann came back over again to play.  (Isn't she something, she calls this 'playing' any time she comes over to help.  I'm not complaining.....hey, I'm glad I can provide the entertainment!)  Jessie and Cameron were along too, and joined in on the 'fun'.  Jessie was smoothing out the mortar and Carl put Cameron to work cutting more stone.  No idle hands around here.

Well, except for me.....Ahem, maybe I could get back to work?  There I am, standing around having a good time while Ann and Carl are hard at work.
So that's our progress for the weekend.  Carl might be able to take a few more hours of vacation here and there if he gets caught up at work.  It's all a race against Mother Nature at this point.  And we have to keep moving.
No time for lollygagging.



Darla said...

Your Castle is coming right along and looking great! Lots of good help, and what kind of hostess would you be if you didn't take a break from time to time to let them know how much you appreciate their help? Your gardens are still looking so beautiful. I wouldn't have the heart to pull any of those plants either.

Dragonfly Treasure said...

Your progressing nicely! I love the arched entrance. It will so beautiful when it's done...especially with ALL the windows! ;)
Your gardens may look tired to you but they look gorgeous to me. Still so full of color, lucky you!
Mine are so petered out, and need to be cleaned one trash bag a day plan is taking long this year...maybe cuz I've kind of pushed it to one bag a week..ya think? LOL

El Gaucho said...

"If we get enough snow it'll bury it and we won't see the mess until Spring". I love it, that's the attitude to have. If you don't mind, I may even adopt that as my new motto.

I'm the same way about pulling out plants and flowers, I just want to leave the last bits of color out there even though I know they're going to freeze and make bigger mess and cause a longer clean up. Oh well.

Junebug said...

I just love that you still have color in your garden. My yard has pretty much given up with the rain we have had. Oh the work out there and I won't have snow to cover it up. It will be haunting me until I get it done. Love the progress on the castle! Isn't work when you have company to visit the time away!! Here's to a great week!

mudderbear said...

Oh I would just love that garden with all my heart and let it live. It is so wonderful.

Lona said...

The castle is slowly growing. I can see it Karen.
Your miscanthus grasses are so pretty shimmering in the sunlight. Your plantings of petunias are still going strong. I love your Victoria salvia.

HolleyGarden said...

Your gardens look great! So colorful. And you're up to the window sills! Wahoo! You are really coming along. It is going to be fabulous! And what memories you are making, too.

Missy said...

Your nasturtiums look great, especially silling over the rocks and contrasting ewith the blue salvia.

Anonymous said...

Your project is really rolling along, Karen. Looking great too. The garden is so pretty, I can see why you want to wait to remove annuals. We have been having weather very similar to yours, cold here as well.

myomyohi said...

You still have so much color left, everything is still vibrant. My gardens are brown for the most part. The castle is coming along nicely. It's going to be awesome.

Sall's Country Life said...

Jeesh, your gardens are full of color yet! If you weren't wearing warm weather gear, it would be hard to believe it's fall there. It's a shame you're not enjoying it all more, but I do understand the push to complete more rock work! It's looking fabulous, what a grand project!

Pamela Gordon said...

Wow! Your gardens look like it's still summer there. They are so gorgeous and full of color still. I'm like you though as I left things in until the frost got them. I still have 2 hanging million bells baskets blooming and not frost bitten. We've had 2 killing frosts that got everything else. I still have to cut back the perennials but I usually wait until November to do that. I hope your flowers last a while longer so you can enjoy them.

Randy Emmitt said...

Someday soon building this will be just a memory. It is looking great. Those nasturtiums look like they are going very well. I almost pulled some nasturtiums amid the weeds, they look great right now, just about as nice as yours.

Karen said...

Darla, I know, we'll be color-challenged around here for the next six months and it seems a crime to yank them now. Aaargh is looking better every day, but wowza, it's a big job.

Deb, I'm going to copy your idea, one load a day out of here would add up! I could just start yanking stuff that's really looking sad, right? I'm glad you agree windows were a good idea, lol.

El Gaucho, no fair, you cleaned up your garden already. (Good for you!)

June, no snow to cover up with? Oh, no, that would be awful here! We count on the snow to hide a lot of stuff.

mudderbear, I do love the flowers so much, too. I just can't take them out when they're still pretty.

Lona, the castle is going up, inches at a time. Dang, this is a long drawn-out job!

Holley, I know....I never thought we'd see windowsills this fall. Perfectionistic Carl is finally loosening up a bit. LOL

Missy, your nasturtiums are more beautiful and all the rest of your flowers make mine look so sad!

Donna, isn't it quite the change in weather? We're trying to get used to it, but it's tough.

myomyohi, I hope Aaargh looks good when it's done. It won't be done this year, but we did give it a shot. We don't know what it will look like yet, either, lol.

Lisa, the weather turned so fast, it's hard to keep up with what to wear every day, shorts or a snowsuit? We're giving it all we've got on Aaargh, but I don't think we're gonna make it.

Pamela, I bet those million bells are gorgeous yet! I want to try those next year. I think I cherish flowers this time of year the most.

Randy, I hope you're right, I hope someday the construction part will be just a dim memory. Nasturtiums are really a nice plant, aren't they? I will definitely plant more next year.

Rosemary said...

I can certainly see a difference in the Castle , way to go...... your gardens still have so much colour despite this being the middle of Oct... windy here too and oh so rainy this last week with more rain to come ..... trees are just about bare...... fall is over too soon for me.......

Karen said...

Rosemary, I think the end of fall is much more sad than the end of summer. It takes me awhile to adjust to the fact we'll be snowbound for months on end. (And I hate the fact I have no excuse and have to clean house, lol.) But then stained glass work starts and when spring rolls around, I dread the start of that. I guess I'm hard to please.

Anonymous said...

Hello Lovely lady.
I can see why you are so reluctant to remove the flowers from the rocks thety look so pretty tumbling and scrambling around out there in the wind!?! Hope you are well
Sue x

One said...

Karen, Your garden is gorgeous! I can only dream about it. Is there anyway that my garden can 'evolve' into something more like yours gradually. I sure hope so. It's a dream garden.

Toni - Signature Gardens said...

Makes my heart sing to see those sills in place!! Woo hoo!! One hurdle jumped. I don't even want to think about that round window -- did I say that? Poor Carl! I totally feel his perfectionist pain! He's got all winter to figure that round one out, right? :-) Would you look at the thickness of those walls? This baby ain't goin' nowhere! Hear, hear!! on the Amazing Aaargh!! Good job (perfect job, I dare say, Carl!) Keep it up :-)

Karen said...

Sueb, I'm doing quite well, thank you! I did start pulling some of the dead flowers out this afternoon, but just couldn't part with the flowering ones yet. Hugs to you!

One, oh, your garden is just perfect, thank you for the compliment, but I love yours, too!

Toni, Thank you! Yes, Carl is really going to be fried by that round window. He's been thinking about it non-stop. But we've gotten this far, can't quit now! Thanks again, Toni!