Monday, October 29, 2012

Weekend Update

Not much happened in the garden this weekend, as I was consumed with other priorities, including having all 4 grand kids over for the weekend and putting in new flooring in one of the spare bedrooms. It's a laminate   flooring called "High Gloss Desert Rose" that was chosen since we loved the color and laminate is supposed to be more durable when pets and kids are involved.  Eventually we'll be redoing all the floors in the house with the same product, but we started in what used to be our son's room, which will now be used for the grand kids when they come over to spend the night.

I did manage to get photos of 2 recent new visitors to the feeders, both of which returned at the same time, making getting the shots that much more convenient.
Red-winged Blackbird, Agelaius phoeniceus, male
Bronzed Cowbird, Molothrus aeneus, male

This brings the total number of species at the feeders to 14 and I expect that number to climb with the variety of birds that winter in our area bringing opportunities for new sightings at any time.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Lesser Goldfinches At Last!

I had purchased a bird feeder specifically to be able to present thistle (Nyger) seed for the finches, hoping to attract Lesser Goldfinches.  While the new feeder brought the House Finches and House Sparrows back, since they didn't have to compete with the doves, it was less successful in attracting the target species.  Today was finally the day, though as I had a male Lesser Goldfinch, Spinus psaltria, at the feeder around Noon and later in the afternoon, a female, but was only able to get a photo of the male.

I also had a male Bronzed Cowbird, Molothros aeneus, who visited several times before I realized he wasn't a Brown-headed Cowbird and by the time I'd made a positive ID, he was gone.  After exactly a month without a sighting of a Peach-faced Lovebird, one showed up yesterday and stayed long enough for me to get a good picture.

As I mentioned in my last post, the roses are beginning to bloom again with the cooler weather and the Climbing Joseph's Coat is putting on quite a show.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Another Zombie and a Pleasant Surprise

As Halloween rapidly approaches, word is spreading that even zombie gnomes are welcome in my gardens, so this little guy showed up recently to spread fear throughout the land.

I went out to check on the mesclun mix greens I planted to see if there was enough for a salad for lunch, and while there wasn't, I did find out that some of the radishes are growing after all and I picked a few.

Now that the temps are starting to cool, the roses are getting back to full bloom again, especially the Climbing America, which presented me with this lovely bouquet.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Larry's Ready For Halloween

Halloween is rapidly approaching and Larry's gotten ready to scare the neighborhood kids, either that or the whole full moon thing is wrong!  Looking at his costume, I guess we know whether he's Team Edward or Team Jacob.

Looks like he invited some friends to join him in the fun.

Zombie flamingos have invaded the garden!

Hope he doesn't turn the rest of the gnomes into zombies!

The only other happening for today was a visit by a Red-winged Blackbird, Agelaius phoeniceus, which is unusual, as I'm not anywhere near a wetland.  Unfortunately, I wasn't able to get a picture before he flew off, but maybe he'll be back.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Another New Bird

Added another new bird to the backyard feeder list, a Gila Woodpecker, Melanerpes uropygialis.  This is a male; he has a bright red patch on top of his head that is barely visible in the photo.

I also planted Iceland Poppy (Papaver nudicaule) seeds saved from last year in one of the window boxes and we'll see soon enough if they are going to sprout.  I hope they do, as the window box is outside of the room that I'm converting into my home office and they'll give me something pretty to look at.

Monday, October 15, 2012

This Weekend's Finds and a Pallet Strawberry Planter

On Saturday, one of the local antique malls was having a flea market, the first of their monthly ones during the cooler months of the year and I found a few treasures, including two more gnomes and a really nice galvanized watering can.  The seated gnome joined the rest of the little ones on the front porch, but the lady gnome will be staying inside, joining my Green Bay Packers gnome as the only house gnomes.  I haven't decided what to do with the watering can yet, but am leaning towards some sort of water feature.

My son-in-law had a pallet lying around at his place and since it wasn't being used, I took it home; after several weeks of thinking about it, today I decided it should become a strawberry planter.  I used landscape fabric, doubled for strength, then stapled it onto the pallet and tucked it into the gap between the boards and stapled it down.  Next I tucked the ends and stapled them, then filled the resulting pouch with organic garden soil and planted 2 strawberries.  The light was fading, so I only got four of the six "pouches" done and only planted two of them; I'll finish it tomorrow and place it in the side yard with a timed drip system installed.
The pallet before I started.
Adding the weed fabric.
The first pouch.
The top 2 pouches planted.

I also planted Grand Rapids Leaf Lettuce and Bloomsdale Longstanding Spinach in the raised bed where the carrots and radishes failed to sprout, then picked another dozen or so habaneros.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Memories of Aiken, SC and a Quick Garden Update

Finally home after nearly two weeks working at a client's site in Aiken, SC and I found some time, mostly on the weekend, to see some of the local sights.  Steph flew out for the weekend and we took in a local production of The Wizard of OZ, which was well staged, wonderfully acted and the girl who played Dorothy had a fantastic voice, especially for a high school senior.  We also managed to do some window shopping in the local antique stores, where I found a Burpee Seed Planting clock that I may have to call the shop to buy, as I haven't been able to stop thinking about how great it would look in my office.  I did go back and buy an "Old Heidelberg" beer mug from the 20's or 30's to add to my collection.  They have a vibrant, busy and wonderfully picturesque downtown, so of course I had to take a few pictures.
This is the fountain in the middle of downtown.
A well landscaped median.
The clock in downtown.
A couple of possible girlfriends for Larry, enjoying the sunny day.
Here are some of the flowers at the hotel I stayed at.

And here are some iconic Southern plants, a Southern Yellow Pine and a magnolia.

Lastly, here are some wildflowers found along the side of the highway, with the only one I can identify being goldenrod.

Leaving Aiken, I arrived once again at Dove Manor and took a quick tour of the gardens this morning, being relieved to find that I hadn't lost anything in my absence.  In fact, the peas and beans I planted before I left have come up, although the tomatoes and eggplant haven't.  For that matter, neither have the carrots and radishes I planted a month ago, but the mesclun mix is looking good.  The habaneros are starting to ripen and  about a dozen were ready to harvest this morning, along with a bunch of Takanotsume peppers.

Alaska Peas and Snow Peas in the front of the trellis, Asparagus Beans in the back.

Mesclun mix salad greens.

The habanero peppers; this is just 2 plants! 
Habaneros and Takanotsumes harvested this morning; that's a lot of heat in the bowl.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Best Laid Plans...

As I noted in my last post, I had a lot of things I wanted to get done on Saturday, but as usual, reality got in the way of my plans.  I managed to get the front yard mowed and trimmed, as well as the side yard and 1/2 the back yard, but then family matters called and I had to abandon the yard work and associated projects.

I went with my son Kyle to look at an arcadia door insert with a built in pet door for their new place and he wound up buying it, then he took me to the mall to meet Stephanie for lunch and a little shopping before we joined my daughter Heather, her husband Jay and our grandson Logan at the movies to see Hotel Transylvania.  Everyone agreed the movie was fantastic, so if you haven't seen it yet, GO!

After the movie I went to Kyle's to help him install the pet door insert, which turned out to be harder than we thought it would be.  Rather than attaching to the sliding door, the insert had to go at the end of the stationary side of the door.  This required a lot of prying and WD-40 to get the panel loose and then we had to add foam insulation to fill the gap where the insert and the door meet, but now the dogs and the cat can go outside to the patio without having to wait for someone to open the door for them.

Haven't seen much of Aiken, SC yet, as it has been foggy and overcast the last two mornings and there isn't too much daylight left after I leave the client's office, but I'll be here at least through the weekend, so I'll have plenty of opportunities to take photos then.