Thursday, October 16, 2014

Rain Delay.

10-16-14 VERMONT: Today was a washout—rain all day. I did indoor chores, watched a movie, read a book. There are more beds that can be shut down at this point, and I hope to get to them tomorrow before Homecoming and Mini-Reunion take over in the evening. Judy left this morning with the dogs, and Roger and Leeza arrive tomorrow sometime. I hope to see Anna and Lily over the weekend also.

If my reports of the bed cleaning have been confusing, I have pictures today to demonstrate the work being done. In all the ‘after’ pix, the plants that remain behind are not yet dormant. I will catch up with them in November if snow doesn’t intervene. BTW, the reasons for doing all this removal work include facilitating new growth in the spring and preventing mold and mildew.

I forgot to mention yesterday, the warm spell has brought all the bugs back—pollinators of all varieties and horseflies and mosquitoes. The cimicfuga was covered in pollinators yesterday.

Porch beds before clean-up...

And after.

Wall bed before....

And after.

Deck bed before....

And after. The clumps remaining are still green and active.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Leaf Peepers.

10-15-14 VERMONT: I did do more bed clearing, two days worth and several cartloads of clippings now all dumped in the pasture.

The weather has turned warm with highs in the seventies today and yesterday with more warm tomorrow, but with rain forecast.

Judy and I drove around this afternoon to sample the color in Pomfret, Strafford and Woodstock. There is not much red, but plenty of yellow and orange. The day was overcast, but still pretty. Woodstock was full of leaf peepers—like us.

New blooms: monkshood.

Yellow and orange, but not much red...

Same here...

And here.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Tomato Surprise.

10-12-14 VERMONT: Judy and the dogs have arrived to share the nice weather. We have had a couple cool nights with patchy frost and parts of some of the beds are now ready to clear. I cut down dormant plants in parts of the wall beds and the porch bed and the bed by the deck. That generated six cartloads of clippings that I dumped in the pasture. I discovered a tomato plant in the bed by the deck, still alive and bearing yellow flowers, but no fruit. I have no idea where it came from, or how it survived the cold weather when all the veggie-garden tomatoes are long dead.

Judy put away all the outside rockers, and together we stored the yard benches. Chores dictated by the changing season. One more day and I will have done all I can at this point.

Is that a UFO?

No - a hot-air balloon.

Gus says to Brady and Machiatto, "I can't believe you guys actually eat this stuff."

Friday, October 10, 2014

Starting Close Up.

10-10-14 VERMONT: Happy Birthday, Alison! There’s been a bit of rain here, but only at night, and the days have been great for working. I wanted to clear the flower beds this trip, but they’re still mostly green so I have to wait until the plants are dormant.

I did pull all the bed border guards and plant supports except for the ones that stay up over the winter. I took down the veggie fencing and tomato supports and pulled up the plastic mulching. The veggie bed that I have used for about ten years has grown too shady so I will move it for next year. I already laid plastic mulch to kill the pasture turf in the new spot with full sun. I did some weed whacking and killed a few invasives with Roundup®. I weeded part of the terrace bed.

New blooms: a last rose of summer opened today.

Nice sky last night...

More sky...

Final cloud before lights out.

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

NYC and VT.

10-7-14 VERMONT: This post is a double entry because last Sunday we were in NYC to walk the High Line and see the new section. For anyone who doesn’t know it, the High Line is an elevated park on what used to be a railroad bed the rails are still there. The trains are gone and replaced by trees, shrubs and flowers and restaurants, benches, playgrounds and great views. It runs from Gansevoort Street in Greenwich Village to 34th Street, about 1.5 miles along the west side and through Chelsea. The new section ends at the Javits Convention Center. It has sparked a big construction boom along its route.

We walked with Val, Lucy and Steve and came back south via the Hudson River Park, another nice city feature. After a quick stop and the Chelsea Market, we all met Alison, Dan, Anna and Gardner for dinner at Scarpetta.

I came up yesterday with out any Judy or any dogs to start fall cleanup. The fall color has past peak here, but there are still nice spots and some trees are still green. The change is always variable from neighborhood to neighborhood depending on exposure, sun, elevation and tree species.

In bloom: feverfew, sedum, asters, chrysanthemum, boltonia, witch hazel, black-eyed susan, helenium, toad lily, cimicfuga, ligularia, echinacea.

The color here is past peak, but still there are nice spots.

And here....

And here...

The Highline in NYC. The older sections have plant vibrant growth.

The new section, less plants, but plenty of construction cranes.

The Hudson from Hudson River Park with a distant statue, sail boats, an out-rigger canoe race and kayakers.

Saturday, October 04, 2014

Red-Tailed Hawk.

10-4-14 SHORT HILLS: We just had about a half-inch of rain—I’m not sure because I dropped the gauge when I went to look. Now the sun is out. Almost all the ash leaves are down and the maples are starting to turn.

I worked on the terrace by the back door that had been untouched for forty years until a few weeks ago when I leveled a few flagstones that were askew from the sweet gum tree’s roots that grow underneath the terrace. Having done a few, I noticed that others were uneven so I bought three bags of construction sand and leveled out most of the problems. After this rain, I’ll see if any have moved again.

Judy has wanted a tree hydrangea for a long time. When we bought the sand, we found one on sale at Home Depot. It, Hydrangea paniculata, now lives in the yard near the red-twig dogwood.

I watched a hawk glide across our yard and settle into the top of this spruce. It's hard to see her/him until...

[S]he decides to leave showing a very red tail and revealing where in the tree [s]he was and what kind of hawk [s]he is.

One of these two blends into the foliage better than the other.

We have some color here.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

A Night at the Opera.

9-28-14 SHORT HILLS: We heard, and saw, the new production of the Met’s Le Nozze di Figaro, The Marriage of Figaro, last night. It’s set in the 1930’s in Seville in a lace-work palace with a rotating center stage that moves from bedroom to bedroom and occasionally to public rooms. The staging and choreography make the most of the opera’s ribald and burlesque potential. We loved it. Especially Amanda Majeski as Countess Almaviva in her Met debut. I have tried to post a video clip, but have been unsuccessful so far. Congrats to the current production team and to Mozart, Da Ponte and Beaumarchais.

Before the show we had dinner with my Aunt Jean and Cousin David who we haven’t seen for too long a time.

The Palace looks a little drafty.

Beds play a prominent part of this farce.