Fall Musings

This has been a fall to remember here on Huey Lane. August 1st a cat I rescued three days previous had six kittens and our Muscovey duck started setting on a clutch of eggs, late in the season so I was dubious of any survival. One of the driest summers and warmest falls, yet I had a very productive garden.

We ate fresh green beans the second week of October and corn on the cob the last week of September. Ten ducklings hatched out September 5th and are still alive the middle of October. We did lose a drake in that time. Like some of you I still have cabbage, carrots and beets to dig and thinking of putting the garden to bed and wishing we would get some rain.

Already looking to Spring I am participating in a bulb swap at Daves Garden Web. I don’t know what I will be sent but hoping its bulbs and/or tubers I don’t already have. I sent canna, iris, daylily, Japanese iris and some Queen of the Night tulips. If you have never done an internet swap give one a try. In this case I sent a flat rate box with my plants and enough postage for the refilled box to be sent back to me. I included a mailing label and a list of plants I am interested in. The deadline to have these to Theresa the organizer of the swap was October 15th. She has already started sending boxes back so many of us are anxiously awaiting our “goodies”.

I just received some fresh Hollyhock seeds in a trade from California and Alabama, one is a double burgundy I have looked for. I don’t know what I am going to do with more hollyhock as I have about 2 1/2 dozen seedlings (double white and peach) in the cold frame to overwinter. Speaking of overwintering, there are about 300 perennials in pots to mulch in. It has been a struggle to keep them alive as dry as it has been.

Canning still not done for me. Sunday I got 12 cups of grape jam from the concord grapes. The beets will be pickled and the carrots put in the root cellar for the winter. A friend was telling me of a method of making sauerkraut in the jars that I am thinking about. When I have gotten all the perennial weeds pulled and the veggies out of the garden I will cover it with leaves that I collect around town. We put all the ducks in the garden a couple weeks ago, two drakes, the duck and ten ducklings. We had to wait till the ducklings could no longer squeeze through the fence. They are fairly safe there and depositing manure as well as eating slugs and bugs. Previously the ducklings manured my strawberry patch.

All but one kitten has found a home and the little guy left is becoming a mighty hunter. I went downstairs this morning to find him and Cookie playing with a live mouse in the livingroom. Howard and I are getting attached to the kitten and as much as I have tried, two prospects fell through. I do not need seven cats! Bringing Mamma here has turned the cats upside down. Skittles has moved back home with his original owner next door, maybe I only have six cats here. Hyla will not come in the house, Misha only to the basement. Cookie, the youngest and Raja, the oldest are in and out adjusting well. We have a cat door to put in and I am working on training the kitten to go potty outside like the rest of the cats.

Looking to spring, I have moved perennials around in the front bed and have decided which plants I need to move next year. It has been way too dry to move more than I have already. There are still some seed heads that need cut off in town at the City Building Bed. I am not making the mistake of leaving the flower heads standing again this year for a “winter garden”, I had seedlings everywhere last spring. The cannas need cut and dug but they still look nice and usually are dug after we get a frost that messes up the tops. They have done beautifully in front of the Library and I have some here at my house that need taken care of. Some of us at the garden club have talked about saving the geraniums overwinter. There was a good article in the Garden Gate magazine on removing them from the pot, shaking off the dirt and putting them in a box upside down in a cool, dark place like the basement. In the spring you take them out, pot them up, water and they will sprout new leaves and grow. You want to do this at least four to six weeks before you put them outside for the season.

Did I call this Fall Musings? I sure did talk about Spring a lot.