Wednesday, November 9, 2011

And So It Begins

Scattered pictures of the Way We Were....

Now it's time for a new song, the Way We Are.

The bright days of summer
Gave way to the Gloom and Doom of November.
And yes, the picture is blurry because the camera focused on the wet window and not the scene outside of it.  But that's ok, because that's what I'm focused on, too, the great, wet outdoors.  I still have work to do out there yet.  And it's snowing.  Surprisingly, I don't have my undies in a bundle over the snowfall, this is just Mother Nature's advance warning, a shot across the bow, if you will.  The really big guns are out there, lurking, and we'll get some real snow, real soon.   That's a promise, not a threat.

Mother Nature thought my urns needed a little tweaking; she put an oak leaf in the arrangement for me.

November is not my favorite month of the year for a coupla reasons.  The dark, gloomy weather is one thing and the time change is another.   It's not really winter, but it's not really fall, it's too early to quit working outside entirely, but the work that is left behind is much more difficult to do.  Everything is wet and cold and sloppy and muddy and just plain goo.  Yes, you read it right, I said Goo.  It's just goo.  And very often, the goo arrives overnight and doesn't leave for five months or more.

During the long days of summer, I get lulled into thinking there's plenty of time to get everything done and my GADS is in full swing; I'm running around weeding this and planting that and deadhead a few over here and maybe do a little pruning over there, I'm this big ol' butterfly flitting around in circles, round and round she goes, and who knows where she'll land next?
'Summertime, and livin' is easy,' goes the old song, well, maybe not 'easy' in the garden, but definitely more pleasant.  You just get to thinking you have all the time in the world to get everything done.  Gardener's Attention Deficit Syndrome is an insidious malady, creeping up on me until the day the dapper newscaster turns to his grinning co-anchor and makes the cheery announcement:  "Daylight Savings Time ends today, don't forget to turn your clocks back before you go to bed tonight, folks!"

"Oho, that's right, Jim, it's that time of year again.  But won't it feel good to have an extra hour's sleep tomorrow morning?"says his blonde-haired cohort as they both beam gleefully into the camera. 

Then the panic sets in.  What?  I sit and blink at the TV screen.  No, it can't be that time already?  Can it?  It's sort of like hitting the snooze alarm in the morning and then rolling over to see you've hit it about twelve times and now you have about 6.3 minutes to get to work.    Now, Everything needs to be done and FAST.  We are running out of time!  No let me rephrase that: we are OUT of time.  It's getting dark a whole HOUR earlier now! 

No more flitting around the garden with Joel's camera around my neck looking for photo ops.  Put that camera away (in the house.....don't leave it outside on a rock because it gets dark out WAY too soon and you'll lose it) and grab a bucket, start yanking out those dead flowers, hey, cut back those hostas, wait...did I dig the calla lilies?  How many of these geraniums do I want to save for next year, make room in the shed for the concrete statuary, when are we going to yank out the dead waterlily foliage, where did all these weeds come from? Didn't I just weed this bed a few weeks ago?  Who tossed all those rocks around on the lawn by the construction site, get me a pallet or twenty, what's going on with the lawn furniture, are we going to cover the stone house walls or leave them bare nekkid, why did I buy those daffodil bulbs, now I'll need a chisel to get them in the ground, good grief, here's three shrubs and a fern I bought in July hiding behind the water barrel I just dumped out, now-- where, oh where am I going to plant them?  
Time to haul all the statuary in; she'll get way too cold in that light frock over winter.

Our big push project this fall was the stone house, but we had to quit due to freezing temperatures, so I've been working on cleanup for a few weeks now, but not fast enough.  We've been known to put up spotlights in the trees so we could keep placing rocks, especially during the Quarry and Pachyberm garden construction projects, but this year, there's no big project to finish except for the stone wall down in the Formal Garden. But now it's snowing....and I need to move a bunch of pallets off the lawn before winter so the grass doesn't all die completely and so I can snowblow my trails this winter.  That's all come to a standstill too, because my tractor is out of commission at the moment.
A few years ago, Spring looks alot like late Fall around here:  Mud

Joel and my tractor, moving a rock a few years ago.

Ack!  My tractor is out of commission!  There goes the alarm clock again.  I went up to Mom's to help Joel with his tractor on Saturday and there was my tractor, with her hood off, abandoned in the middle of an intensive surgery with a pail under her to catch her dripping fluids.  The water pump on the 574 had been knocking and we knew it was going out this summer so we ordered a new one and had it sitting there for a few months, ready to install .  (Yeah, I know, more GADS again....'we've got time before the snow flies'--famous last words.) 

Two weekends ago Carl went to put the new water pump in and found out the new one we bought is not the right part.  Turns out we have an oddball tractor (go figure) with parts that were made in England.   Hmmmmm....that poses a problem; England is kinda far away.  Our friendly automotive parts person is sending the water pump out to be remanned  (that's Man-Speak for remanufactured) so my poor 574 can once again run free-- as free as the wind blows the snow into huge, hard, ice-encrusted drifts half my height.  

And now it's snowing.  Yes, I have the walk-behind snowblower (which needs an oil change and it's snow cab fixed) that I use to remove the snow here, but my mother's yard a quarter mile away is a lot bigger and the wind whips the snow into really fantastic formations up there, so I need my tractor.  Badly.
It's starting to pile up out there, and it's still coming down.

Ernie looks different in this two-toned color.
Willie the Willow is not amused, either.  He's still green.  Weeping willows, love 'em or hate 'em, are a messy tree, but the first to green up in the spring and last to lose their leaves in the fall.  We love Willie.

It's beginning to look alot like Christmas.......and I'm not ready.  Way too much to accomplish out there.  Monday was nice, but Tuesday was an all day rain, gray, gloomy and in the 40's.
I couldn't be outside in the garden, but I did manage to clean the garage out and look what I found?

I plum forgot we bought this picture last spring.  We must have unloaded the car and put it on a shelf out there.   We were poking around in Goodwill one day last March (back when we found those chairs we repainted and reupholstered) and I found this picture which has so many of the elements I love: a farmstead, a windmill and an Amish gathering.  This scene is not at all uncommon in parts of Wisconsin. 

I noticed it was signed....and then I noticed the original price tag on the back of the frame, $178.00.  Wow.  I only paid $12 for it at Goodwill.  I decided to do a little research on the artist:
The late Steve Polomchak was the artist, and the title of this work is 'Second Sunday'. 
No, it's not the Mona Lisa, but I love it.  

'Tis getting close to the Season!
The temps are supposed to rise to the 50's this weekend......there's hope!

Now, where's my water pump?


africanaussie said...

I am always amazed by places that freeze over in the winter and how everything springs to life in the spring. I love your snowy photos, but it sure sounds like lots of hard work. In the summer you move rocks and in the winter you move snow!

HolleyGarden said...

Imagine my shock when I saw snow! I'm still in shorts and sleeveless shirts around here - at least in the afternoons! But, like you, I've had GADS and can't seem to keep my mind on getting my chores done. I know I will regret it when winter does finally get here, but for now, I'm still pretending I have plenty of time. Stay warm! It looks cold there. Your painting is very pretty - signed and numbered - great buy!

Gatsbys Gardens said...

You and Larry have certainly gotten yourselves into a fine mess (as Laurel and Hardy used to say).


FlowerLady said...

I hope your tractor gets it's needed parts soon and will be up and moving before you know it. A good tool no matter what it is, is priceless, especially one you love and enjoy using.

I love that painting you found, and what a great price.

Enjoy your winter season, and time spent indoors, dreaming and planning, and taking care of indoor projects.

Love and hugs ~ FlowerLady

Anonymous said...

We had 60 degrees today and snow is scheduled for tomorrow. Looks like we are in for a turn of seasons. But Tuesday we will be back to 58. So I can relate.

xoxoxo said...

Wow! My anxiety climbs high reading your post!!! Hey wait?! It's time to get to lamp making!! There will be time in spring to cut back all that dead stuff :)
Miss reading your blog--someday I will catch up!

Anonymous said...

Oh the weather outside is frightful,
But your blog is so delightful,
Let it snow let it snow let it snow!
I hope it doesn't come this way. I know exactly how you feel about dark dingy days. It’s quite depressing. I am thinking of taking up hibernation. Looks like a good option to me.
I still need to lift the Dahlias and finish tidying up but just don’t seem to have the energy or enthusiasm at the moment.
Hope you get some of the jobs done.
Lovely picture. but the garage is not the right place to hang it!
love Sueb

Sue said...

We've had endless days of rain, and they're calling for snow today. I gotta say I'm glad. After 6 months of outside time, I'm ready for my time indoors-baking, painting,reading,and all those time-consuming projects like doing the photo album for this year. I did manage to get most everything done outside I had to do. April will be here before ya know it. And then it's back to the grind--or in your case--the rock house!

One said...

The weather here is frightful today. It is extremely hot.

Your photos are all very pretty especially the one with the butterfly. Isn't it too early to be snowing?

myomyohi said...

So far we have no snow but they're saying we may get some this afternoon. I am not ready for snow, and I don't like the time change and shorter days. I go to work in the dark, and come home in the dark. In between I seldom see outside. After the long warm, sunny days of summer, this time of year is about adjustments, and loss. The end of the things we love, being outdoors, the warmth, sunny skies, gardening,... I guess we just have to start planning for next year. We got our statuary and outdoor stuff into the shed last weekend, but I don't have a fraction of what you have to do. I'm not sure how you do it all. I hope your tractor gets repaired soon. I wondered why you hadn't been using it. I have an old willow. I both love and hate it. Mine is so old that it loses a lot of limbs now. I'm told it was dug up by the river near here when my house was built in 1882, so she is old. I just know intuitively it is a she :) Last time we measured her trunk was a little over 17'.

Remember, if you don't get everything cleaned up pretty it will be there in the spring, when winter's last cold breath is replaced by the warm kiss of spring.

Dragonfly Treasure said...

Now that sounds like something I'd the pump to have at the ready only to find out it's the wrong one!!! Arrrgggh I feel your pain!
My gardens are tiny compared to yours and I'm not any where finished with the clean up. I even ignored them for a few days to work on those projects! gasp!
Thinking I could work on the gardens this week, then looked at the calendar....3 Dr visits and my oldests birthday!! His bday is already??!! Yikes..time to put on those running shoes whether I like it or not and start my circle running!!.......yes, like a chicken with it's head cut off!
Keep warm!

shannon i olson said...

that is a beautiful picture! great deal on it too. We still have not gotten our first snow...pretty late for here. It has been chilly though. I guess it is pretty....not as pretty as summer and the problem is, It lasts soooo much longer than summer does.

Rosemary said...

Well Mrs Butterfly I am hoping the weather is milder this weekend.... cause sounds like a ton of work to do.... but as a gardener isn't that always the way.....just so you know GADS is spreading I am sure I have it too.....

Lona said...

Oh yuck, phewy! That old white stuff.That is just not right girl.
I hate to see it come but they say we may get flurries tonight.

Toni - Signature Gardens said...

You have my sympathy, that's all I can say! But even though we don't have snow flying yet, I can totally relate to the pressure of trying to get "it" all done, whatever that is. That "gotta make hay while the sun shines" feeling is alive and well during the change of seasons. I feel it in the spring, too, because things need to get done before the heat of summer kicks in. In the fall things need to be done before freezes. But at least here I can still plant in winter, especially planting trees or transplanting. That is actually the best time to plant trees. And I don't even need a chisel to do it :-) My house might be a little cleaner if we had winter because I would be forced to stay inside and look at it. Ha! Hang in there. The snow will melt and you will be back to slugging rocks around before you know it :-) We've all got to learn to enjoy the ride, the whole process. We (and maybe I speak for myself) always seem to feel the pressure of getting things done for each season and we can miss the fun of the process. No answers on how to chill out about the pressure -- just can empathize with your feelings.

Beth said...

Hi Karen, I prefer summer too but there is a beauty in winter as well. I enjoyed seeing your comparison shots - oh, how I love your river bed! Also enjoyed the butterfly on the double coneflower. Have a good wknd!
Blessings, Beth

Darla said...

I love seeing snow photos although they always make me reach for a jacket. I still don't know how people live in areas like probably don't know how we live here as hot as it gets.. :) When you putting up the greenhouse?

Peonies & Magnolias said...

Nothing like a taste of winter before it really gets here is there. We dipped down into the 20s last night so it is on it's way here too. Hope you have a great weekend.


Karen said...

africanaussie, yes, we do seem to always be throwing something around, don't we? Snow or rocks...I prefer rocks, though!

Holley, I hope the warm weather doesn't abandon you just yet, after the summer you endured in Texas, you all deserve a break!

Eileen, I know, this is a fine mess. Lol

xoxoxo, I miss hearing from you, always fun to see what you're up to.

Karen said...

Sueb, hibernation seems like a great idea, then I wouldn't have to clean the're right about the picture, the garage doesn't need any artwork, lol.

Sue, You're right, I'm ready for a break from the outside work, and I can get back to my daily grind...the stained glass work, so I shouldn't be grousing. Except--I have to clean this stupid house first before I can play. Dang.

One, thank you! No, it's really not unheard of to have snow this early in Wisconsin, and it can be on the ground into April some years, though March is usually when we have our thaw. No green leaves of any kind until May, though. Sigh.

Myra, you have a Really BIG willow! Wow! Willie would be intimidated. Oh, I hated the drive to and from work in the dark when I did it, too. Very dismal and depressing, and you're very right, this time of year feels like a loss. I just have to get back in gear with the stained glass and then the time will fly. Perfect time to work on some of my junking projects too!

Deb, isn't it something how GADS gets all of us? I'm always running here and there, too! But we need time to work on fun things or we'd burn out. Like my water pump.

Shannon, I know, it would be really nice to have a White Christmas and then it can melt, thank you very much! But that's not how it works, is it? The snow loves to overstay its welcome.

Rosemary, I hope I did not give you GADS! This is terrible, I don't mean to be a carrier and spread it all around. There should be an immunization or a pill or something.......

Lona, Yuck Indeed! I hope you can stave off the snow for another few weeks at least!

Toni, you're right, a person should appreciate every moment we're given, no matter what the circumstances. I just wish I could enjoy housework as much as outdoor work...and you know how tiny this house is. It should only take five minutes per room, lol, and yet I struggle. Sheesh.

Beth, thank you! Yes, winter is beautiful too, and I think it makes us appreciate summer all the more. Thank goodness for the stained glass hobby so I can at least play at making some flowers for the next few months.

Darla, you're right, I don't know if I could handle the heat and humidity you have to deal with. At least when it's cold, all we have to do is put a few more layers of clothes on, but you can't run around au naturale in the heat! The greenhouse won't be going up until April...I can't afford to heat one over the winter and the heavy snowfall is a problem causing the plastic to sag and buckle, too. No fun going outside with a broom in the middle of the night to knock snow off the greenhouse roof during a blizzard. I do have a few things in pots sitting in the windowsills to see me through!

Sandy, yes, it's coming and we all know it. Now I just have to get my head on straight and where, oh where did I leave my mittens?

Kelsie From Our Country Home said...

Oh my Karen, after reading what you have left to do I need a nap...Though it does not snow here we are expecting our first freeze warning this weekend...I know I should go do something about a few of the plants we have outside and I guess bring in the pots since we are no closer to building the green house than before hubby brought home the windows lol.

But for right now, I am going to enjoy Lil Sara napping and rest for a few minutes in front of the TV and think about those plants in an hour or so.

Good luck with your cleanup
Kelsie said...

Karen --- Your place truly demonstrates the beauty, hard work, and contrast between the seasons. But, I am weird because the dark and dank photos have an eerie kind of beauty to them as well, as much as the shot with the blooming flowers. The winter scenes remind us to stop what we are doing, enjoy the moment and prepare for the growing season.


Karen said...

Kelsie, I hear you, fall is about taking some time to relax too!

Lana, yes, as odd as this may sound, I do appreciate winter more than I let on. There's a quality about the weather and a certain despondency in the air that is not altogether unwelcome in my life; almost like Mother Nature is in mourning too.