Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Change of Gears

November is almost over already, today is Thanksgiving Day.   Boy, it sure whizzed on by and sadly, I didn't accomplish much.  I was almost done working on cutting the garden back for the winter way back last week when our weather was a weirdly balmy 60 degrees out.  Of course, this being Wisconsin and November, the heat wave didn't last long.   Since then, we've been down below freezing most nights.  There's been ice on the rain barrels and our daytime high temps have been in the 30's.  The sun has been shining a bit though, which feels great, even through winter coats. 
Summer is gone and I've been feeling like the angel lately, pouty and sad.
I have an issue with the changing seasons.  Well, to be honest, I have to admit I have issues with change in general.  Change is, as they say, Inevitable and inevitably, it leaves me feeling a bit depressed.   We have four distinct seasons here and the change in the weather isn't what gets to me; it's the change in work.  I don't mind putting the garden to rest until March or April so much, but I miss having an excuse to be outdoors for hours and hours on end.  I love landscaping and making big changes in the garden; maybe the end result isn't always fantastic, but the process is fun.  Go get a tractor, a chainsaw and the wrecker-- we're ready to toss some rocks around. 

Unfortunately, housework doesn't fill that niche of creativity at all.  No matter how many episodes of 'This Old House' we watch, I just can't bring myself to tear things apart indoors like we do outdoors.   Our house needs remodeling badly, but we lack the funds and the ambition and most of all, definite plans for what we'd like to do with it.  All I know is I want a mudroom and a bigger kitchen instead of a muddy house and a teeny kitchen.  Ripping up a house is not the same as the garden, obviously.   Life without a kitchen, no matter how teensy, is not something I care to live with just yet.  In due time, we hope, but not this year, or next.

We added a few more courses to good ol' Aaargh this fall.

We have to finish one mess before we make another one.   True, we cannot mortar on the stone building aka 'Aaargh'  since the nighttime temps are so low now, but we don't feel like ripping walls and the roof off the house this time of year, either.  Best to leave sleeping remodeling projects lie for awhile longer.  Yes, my vinyl floor is 37 years old and breaking off in hunks all over the place, but I guess, look at the bright side, by the time we're ready to remodel, most of the ugly old flooring will be already gone and we'll have less work to do. See. as my Optimistic Carl says, 'There's always a bright side.'

Though I may be feeling downhearted about the end of summer, until there's a foot of snow on the ground and the rocks are frozen down tight, there's still time to indulge myself with yard work. This week's challenge was to finally plant the last of the trees we bought earlier this year.  I don't know why we put it off for so long, I guess the warm fall weather lulled us into a false sense of security.  But I'm happy to report as of tonight two 'Tina' Sargent crabapples, two 'Yellow Ribbon' arborvitae and some clearance perennials are now in the ground. 

Carl and I worked tonight until after dark to plant and water them all in.  It was truly a relief to have it out of the way.  I also finished up my outdoor decorating, too.

Time for winter arrangements

I went through a bunch of spray paint that we had left over from repainting the railings this summer just to add some color to the urns.  Being under the drip line by the garage, they hold up quite well until spring.

A look back at July:

Frank the Urn is decked out in yellow cedar and assorted spruce clippings from around the garden.  The twigs were spray painted white to look like birch along with the dried hydrangeas.  This urn probably won't hold up as well since it's subject to strong west winds.

  Frank looked completely different in July:

The two cast iron urns by the back porch have more cedar and my little angel statues, one blond, one dark haired.  My mom painted the statues to match our sons, Joel and David.

The driveway entrance urns are also full of cedar branches and Carl's stainless 'pussywillow twigs'.

And a flashback to July:

The bases that normally hold the flower pots in summer make a good stand for the winter decorations, too.  They are cast iron and weigh over 100 pounds a piece, in their former life they were rollers for making pipe in an industrial setting.

Things looked much different in July.

My three horses have a good perch for the winter.  I used a lot of cedar this year.

The garage urn in July:

Lots of cedar.  Don't worry, you can't tell which trees I butchered.  

Ernie the Urn is not to be outdone, he's sporting our Pipe Ball and white twigs, too.  (And cedar.)

Still a far cry from what he looked like in July:

Same view, July:

Though I may be feeling a bit down in the dumps, the truth of the matter is I have so much to be thankful for.  I have a loving family and a warm house, I truly lack for nothing.  The change of seasons is a blessing in disguise, it will soon be time to concentrate on stained glass again.  (And skiing.)

I hope everyone has a Wonderful Thanksgiving! 


FlowerLady Lorraine said...

Happy Thanksgiving dear Karen & Carl.

Loved your post. Love your place with all of it's beauty, colors, cast iron and iron bits and pieces all around. WOW!

Have a great day ~ Love & hugs ~ FlowerLady

Alison said...

Happy Thanksgiving, Karen! You guys work so hard to keep your garden looking good even when winter is on your doorstep. I usually give up in October. I don't remember seeing the three horses or the painted angels before, love them!

Missy said...

As you head towards Winter, summer is about to hit here. We have temps in the 30s too but Celsius - in the 90s in Fahrenheit. We're getting the new garden going slowly. Have a look at

Happy Thanksgiving.

Stephen Andrew said...

Happy Thanksgiving, Karen! And good luck tomorrow. How I envy your beautiful evergreens to cut from! Maybe if I were more motivated to work outside, I'd have some too! Next year lets switch. I'll handle your remodel and you can help my sad, sorry garden. Everything looks beautiful! I don't blame you for being sad. Hard to say goodbye to all those beautiful blooms!

Indie said...

Happy Thanksgiving! It's such a great feeling to get everything in the ground, isn't it? I still have three little liriope plants in pots waiting to be planted. I got them for free last year but don't really care for them, so finding a spot I want them in is harder. But boy are those things tough - I've neglected them and can't really believe they are still alive. Your urns look beautiful. What are those tall grass things in your July urn? I love Frank the urn. Painting wood to look like birch is genius - I might have to steal that idea and do that for my whiskey barrels! This year I am planning to try embracing the winter by snowshoeing. Anything to get through it, right?

Beth @ PlantPostings said...

I couldn't agree with you more about the spring/summer/fall chores vs. housework/home repairs. We're pretty much in the same boat here. So many house projects to accomplish before we can even think about selling this place, but I have zero motivation to work hard indoors. Plus, the short days zap my energy. Your winter vases look spectacular!

Myra Glandon said...

You did a great job on the planters. They may not be the same kind of pretty they were in July, but they are equally as attractive. I love the pipe ball, oh heck, I loved it all.

outlawgardener said...

Oh my, your winter arrangements are glorious! You are such hard workers! Your comment about your kitchen floor made me laugh as our linoleum (or whatever it is) is equally old and doing the same thing and our house is in need of lots of work. Oh well...

Zoey said...

Hi Karen,
What a great job you did on all the winter arrangements! I love the three horse find the most interesting planting accessories.

Merry Christmas to you and your family!

Betsy said...

A loving family and a warm house, well said and same here.
Thank you for visiting today Karen, I haven't been visiting as much these past few months, too much going on.

I would love to have a gazebo like you have. I wanted one in the front yard to the side. Good place to read the paper in the evenings and have coffee, plus the grand girls would love it too.
Happy week ahead