Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Red Maple

This past weekend we said good bye to the small red maple in the front yard of our house.  It's a pretty tree and you might be wondering why we cut it down.  There are two reasons why we cut the tree down.  

First is most of the pictures of the house are taken from the angle above, where you can see the window box, the house and both trees.  But reality is when you drive by you see the view from below.  A good portion of the house is blocked by the tree.  I take pride in crafting seasonal arrangements in the window box and you can't even see it unless you are at the right angle when you drive by.  We figure if we spend time and money on trying to make the front look nice you might want to be able to see it.  The tree is only going to get bigger and start blocking even more of the house.

The second reason is the power line you see above the tree.  Soon enough the tree will grow into the line and the power company is going to come and start hacking at the tree.  Once that happens it won't look nice and it might as well come down now.  Especially while it is small enough that we can handle it's removal.

We actually made the decision it needed to come down this past spring but I made Andy wait until we could see the colorful leaves one last time.  I am going to miss how beautiful it looks in the fall.  I really liked this tree it was just horrible placement.

The tree came down one branch at a time.


I hate to see the tree go but now you can see our house!

I am at least enjoying the last bits of the tree in the house by making an arrangement from some of it's branches.

Monday, November 12, 2012


Remember these cleared out and clean garden beds I spent last Sunday working on?

3 days later I came home to this:

The pictures are blurry but you get the idea that the beds are disheveled and torn apart.  That's thanks to our neighbor's lawn service.  Remember last year when they blew all of our neighbor's leaves into our yard?  Andy had politely talked to them about the problem and we thought it would no longer be an issue.  We were mistaken.

This year they blew leaves all over our yard, into my garden beds and blew the straw all over the place.  Needless to say I was extremely frustrated.  They didn't attempt to clean the leaves out and left the garden as is, they didn't even try to recover the beds with the straw.  Luckily they were still at my neighbor's when I got home and I said something to them.  They tried to act like they didn't know they did it but promised to come clean it up the next day.

Well they didn't show up, so Andy called and they finally came Friday.  When I went out on Saturday to check out their work I realized they cleaned up the leaves but at least a quarter or more of the straw was gone and they tromped all through the beds.  We don't walk through the beds, the point of raised beds is to NOT walk through them for loose soil.  It was obvious they has walked over the beds and compacted the soil.  I was so mad I could have cried, actually I did.

I ended up having to rake back all the straw, take a garden fork to loosen the soil, rake and even out the soil, and recover with straw.  I had to dig up all the garlic I planted and replant it.  I spent an hour and a half fixing their mess.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Preparing for Winter

This past weekend I finally had some free time when the weather was cooperating so I started to clean out the garden and get it ready for winter.

This was the bean, asparagus and random tomato bed with the failed lettuce bed in back before cleaning.

This was after dead plants had been removed, weeds pulled and asparagus cut back.  I topped the asparagus with a nice thick layer of straw and the rest of the bed with a thin layer to help ensure that I don't lose soil this winter to displacement from rain, snow and ice.  The back bed was covered with a layer of leaves from the tree above it.

This is the tomato, eggplant potato bed before being cleaned out.

This is the bed afterward.  The garlic was planted in this bed after it was cleared and so it has a thick layer of straw like the asparagus while the rest has just a thin layer.  As you can tell with the end of daylight savings, and it getting dark much sooner, I was pushing it to get the job done before dark.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


I finally got my garlic planted.  I was worried with my crazy year that I might not get the chance to plant it.  I either have been working when the weather was nice or had free time while it was raining and not suitable to plant the garlic.  But this weekend I finally had the time and the weather cooperated also.  This year I planted "Music" since I had good success with it last year.  This year it is in a raised bed so we will see if it does better than in the in-ground garden.  I topped the raised be with straw to help keep it from freezing while it takes its winter nap. 

Sunday, November 4, 2012


I cleaned out the tomato plants this weekend so this is what was left on the vines before I chopped them down, plus a baby zucchini.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Green Tomatoes

I recently was the recipient of a large donation of green tomatoes.  I had been telling my Dad that our tomatoes had seriously slowed down and that we weren't going to have enough green tomatoes to make anything with.  So he took pity on me or just wanted them off his hands. 

I used over 12 cups to make green tomato chutney, which surprisingly cooked down to only 4 pints.

I also still had plenty of dill in the garden so I thought I would try dilled green tomatoes.