Thursday, October 30, 2014

Colorful NJ.

10-30-14 SHORT HILLS: After a few warm days, it’s cooling off with some ‘coldest of the season yet’ weather in the forecast. I am pretty much caught up here in NJ with winterization of the house and yard. We have some nice color here with more to come.

Maizie the dog has made her first therapy visit. She and Judy were both very pleased.

New blooms: witch-hazel.

Nice color on this sweetgum tree.

Burning bush. How do you suppose it got that name?

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Jersey Shore.

10-26-14 SHORT HILLS: I’ve been doing clean-up/close-up stuff here including hose draining and storage, removing dead-fall, peony leaf removal, minor pruning.

The little southern magnolia has produced seeds, something the big tree has never done, so I scattered some of them in places that, I think, would welcome such a tree. The holly berries are red, maples and burning bush are turning, the ash are bare. Here in the burbs the color is good.

We had dinner with Robert and Barbara a few nights ago in Livingston. Yesterday we went down the shore to Lavallette to see Christine and Bob at their beach house. We haven’t seen them since they moved to Philly. They have three cats, and astoundingly, all the cats are friendly.

The recovery from Sandy is continuing. There is road construction, sewer work, home repairs and new homes replacing destroyed ones. The beach dunes are still being rebuilt. The beach was clean at low tide, the birds were busy, there were walkers, sunbathers, fisher folk and one intrepid swimmer.

Today we dog walked in Short Hills with Bebe and Ronny.

Atlantic at Lavallette. The beach was actually pretty busy with walkers, one swimmer, fishermen.

Beach birds.

Christine and Bob's cat. One of three.


Afternoon walk, Short Hills.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Weekend Plus...

10-22-14 SHORT HILLS: It’s been a busy several days—I’ll just try a recap. Last Friday was warm and dry, and I did more work on the flowerbeds, finishing most of the beds in front of the house. That night was the Homecoming bonfire and cocktail parties in Hanover. Roger and Leeza came to the house Friday night after the action in town.

There was more rain that night and on Saturday morning. Roger, Leeza and I were so late finishing breakfast that we went directly from the breakfast table to the class tailgate party. The afternoon hikers bailed in the face of more rain, some folks went to the football game, I went back to the house to finish a few more chores. Lily was my date for the class dinner, and her ‘debut’ was a big success.

Sunday Leeza and Roger were out before the 11 AM checkout time, and we all had breakfast at King Arthur Flour. In the afternoon Anna and Gardner checked in, and we made dinner plans with Lily to go to the Norwich Inn to round out Sunday night.

Monday morning was cold and windy after an overnight frost. Anna, Gardner and I were out of the house by 11, and on our separate ways back to the Metro area. My trip was fine, and I was welcomed home by the dogs and Judy. The dogs were enthusiastic.

Tuesday I got the car inspected, gassed up and scheduled a small repair before we headed to NYC for dinner at CafĂ© Fiorello with my Aunt Jean and then the N. Y. Philharmonic with Lang Lang doing an all Mozart program that included the Piano Concerto 24 [K. 491] in C minor. To me the minor key pieces are darker and more complex, wistful and rueful at the same time. LL, who we have seen before, always seems to be enjoying himself and deeply into the music. The audience loved the performances and clapped enough to get an encore—a rarity at the NY Phil.

Monkshood, a very late blooming variety.

Snow on top of Mt. Moosilauke after the Sunday night frost.

Friday night bonfire - no egos were harmed in the taking of this picture.

Lang Lang at the N. Y. Philharmonic all Mozart program Tuesday.

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.