Six on Saturday: November

We’ve had frost, and snow showers, though snow hasn’t stuck yet, and many of the trees still have leaves. Some examples below; #1 is the magnolia outside my study window, though this picture was taken outside, from a perspective that shows one bare tree as well as some bright color:

#2, the silver maple is now gold:

#3, the barberry is red (is this starting to sound like a children’s book?):

The Japanese maple is even brighter:

But Annabelle, next to it, has gone brown (#5):

#6, I have one flower still hanging on to some colorful petals, the scabiosa in the front bed:

Six on Saturday is hosted by the Propagator. Many participants still have flowers! Go there to enjoy.

Six on Saturday, after rain

How did we get more than a week into October already? I am not ready for this. I have been vaguely thinking that in the autumn I would plant some crocus bulbs in the new bed in the front. Uh, so, that would be like now. Oh dear . . .

After weeks of drought, it rained for a couple of days, and now things are looking very lush. For #1, another view of the asters in the front, here with Honorine Jobert to add contrast (the purple and white reminds me of the garden at the last house):

The front bed, which I planted with white peonies and Russian sage (the sage is visible if you look closely), is thick with cherry tomatoes and another potato plant, all volunteers; this is what happens when you use soil from the compost heap, I guess:

I also have yellow grape tomatoes on one of my late-planted seedlings:

And all the rain has brought on toadstools, here in the front yard:

Sir John reported a fairy ring of them in the back, when he came in from mowing the grass. What sort of revenge do the fairies take for mowing down their dancing ring?

I think a few weeks ago I reported replacement tomatoes on the plant attacked by the groundhog; they’re trying hard (some of the catnip is muscling in, thug that it is):

So that’s my Six for this Saturday. I keep imagining that I will write some meatier blog posts (really I must do something at least about writing, if not properly medieval, since I survived Jon Jarrett’s purge of his blogroll!), but though I imagine them, sitting at the computer, logged in, is necessary to get them written. Sigh. Anyway, Six on Saturday is hosted by The Propagator, and I want to get in some garden posts while I can, before I’m knee-deep in snow and consumed by envy for those who garden in the British Isles and on the west coast of North America. Maybe winter would be a good time to blog more about writing.

Confidential to Undine: there’s some setting you click to make text wrap in Excel, though what I generally do, after expanding cells to be double or triple wide, is just pick my opening words so that they give me a clue what the rest of the entry will be. The way I use it for notes, I don’t usually need to see a ton of text at any particular time.

Six on Saturday: mystery solved

Oh, look, it’s still Saturday in my time zone! Let’s do this before it gets any later. For my first shot, here’s the current state of the vegetable garden. The sweet peas stubbornly refuse to bloom, but the chard I cut back before visiting my family in August has come back strongly, and there are still tomatoes trying to ripen.

#2 is the sedums and marigold again, with a splash of coreopsis:

For #3, we have asters in two shades of purple:

Yesterday I decided to pull up some of the unidentified plants from the new bed in the front yard. When they came up, I thought they might be cosmos, as I had tossed some seeds around the plot while I was planting the flowers I’d dug up from elsewhere in the yard, but they never did bloom, besides becoming very large and woody. (But maybe they’re like the sweet peas??)

While I was pulling out these big things, a smaller plant nearby came up, too. I was okay with that; its flowers were pretty but didn’t last. This is a similar one, for #5.

And then I learned that this was actually a potato plant! I am excited about this. One potato is not much of a harvest, but I wasn’t trying to grow potatoes, so this is pure lagniappe. The soil I used in the new flower bed came from my compost heap, so I guess some potato peelings survived and thrived. #6 was taken indoors, with a teacup for scale.

That’s my six for this week. I think there are two more potato plants in various spots in the garden (one actually in the vegetable patch), so I’ll let them alone for a bit longer before I try to harvest more potatoes. Volunteer tomato plants in the front bed are also doing very well. I need more tomato cages or stakes, though, and this is not a good time of year to buy them. I’ve been trying to prop up the plants with small fallen branches, since it’s too dry to be safe to burn them.

Six on Saturday is hosted by The Propagator. We share asters, this week.

Six on Sss…sunday

Late again! I took my photographs yesterday. Then I put away a load of laundry, did some weeding and watered the potted tomatoes, took an eBay return to the post office and did some other errands, went for a walk, ate dinner, and watched a stage of the Vuelta. I suppose I could have done a blog post during the TV-watching, if I had remembered, but I didn’t.

It seems to be the time of year for white flowers, again: here’s #1, Honorine Jobert, in bud.

And again like last year, the garlic:

For #3, the autumn clematis, now in bloom:

#4, the hydrangeas (Annabelle, I believe), not yet white, but they will be:

The sedums are pink, but some of the little flowerlets are still whitish:

#6, on the other side of the clump of sedums, is the one dwarf marigold I have this year. I do not know what happened to the marigolds. Last year they bloomed like mad, both in front and in the veg patch. I figured at least some would come up from seed on their own, but I also saved seeds and tried to start some in little pots, and threw some around the veg patch again. Not one of the dozen that I carefully planted came up, and neither did any of the others, till this one. I am glad to see it:

In non-gardening news, I met my writing goals for the week, and graded two sets of short assignments, one from each class. I hardly recognize this efficient self . . . except that I haven’t done most of the other things on the week’s list, so I guess it’s still me. At least I’ve done the most important things!

Six on Saturday, which is supposed to happen on Saturday, is hosted by The Propagator. He also has Honorine and Annabelle this week.

Where the day went

Before I started work, I fed the cats, did yoga, ate breakfast, watered and fertilized the tomatoes, watered the African violets, brushed the cats’ teeth.

Checked e-mail and answered a couple of messages. Declined an “opportunity” that would interfere with time I want to use either to do research or to prep my grad class, though technically I’m “free” at that time.

Wrote 567 words.

Commented on all the undergrads’ discussion board posts. Assigned points to both classes’ posts. Discovered that I have loaded to Blackboard all but one assignment for each class (I thought I was missing more than that for one class, so this made me happy). Made notes toward the two assignments I still have to write up in detail.

Attended a committee meeting online. Volunteered for a subcommittee.

When the meeting ended early, I used the “found time” to swing by the grocery store (half an hour) and move some boxes around in the garage, then started unpacking one box of books (another half hour). ILL’d a book I need, only to have the request cancelled because the book is already checked out of one of the libraries that has it; another is a non-circulating library; the third claims to have it but in fact hasn’t ordered it yet. Thppppbtt.

Dead language group meeting, online.

Talked to Sir John while completing the unpacking of that box of books. Sorted out a stack of books to give away. I’m pretty sure that box of books never got unpacked in the last house, so it was easy to distinguish between the books I was glad to see again and those that made me wonder where and why I got them in the first place.

Checked in online with my dissertating students.

Ate dinner. Went for a walk. Unpacked a new batch of masks from Etsy that arrived in today’s mail.

While watching the Vuelta, answered more e-mail and started reviewing an article I’m teaching tomorrow.

Quick Sunday round-up

I’m not going to say “five minutes” because even five minutes to write turns into 15 to post and fill in categories. And it won’t be ten things I did today because it’s not yet noon here.

Gardening update: the groundhog broke through the newly patched fence by Thursday (when I discovered the damage). I’ve piled heavy pavers in front of the hole, and bought some new metal fence posts that I plan to use to hold the chicken wire in place, and also just to block access. Honorine Joubert is coming into bud. Most of the late-starting volunteer tomato plants have fruit on them, so maybe I will have tomatoes for Halloween.

Reading: though it should be all for teaching and research, this is me we’re talking about, so I’ve read Katherine Heiny’s novels and short story collection because Moira’s posts made her sound like fun. I liked the short stories best. Standard Deviation seemed very familiar, never quite so familiar that I said “Oh, that book, I don’t need to re-read it,” but always with the sense that I knew [whatever event] was going to happen once it did. I’m not sure if Moira did such a good job reporting on it that I expected everything, or if I really did read it a few years ago and forget. I’m also not sure if I was slightly bored because of that sense of familiarity, or because nothing much happens, or because I’m tired of books about privileged New Yorkers. I definitely found Early Morning Riser dull, in part because the setting is so very familiar (small midwestern town). It had some funny lines, but I thought we were in Anne Tyler territory (not literally, since AT writes about Baltimore and its environs; in terms of how random events and long-standing loyalties shape lives), and that Tyler does it better. It made me wonder if Moira and her British commenters like Heiny so much because for them the familiar aspects of her work are slightly exotic, the way I only read British chick lit because I prefer the tone and settings to American chick lit, which usually feels a little cloying and/or claustrophobic to me.

Also reading: Elly Griffiths’ series about Edgar Stephens. I do not like it nearly as well as the Ruth Galloway series. I thought the villain of the first book was completely unbelievable. But at least it’s Elly Griffiths, so they’re readable, and as picky as I am about my fun reading, sometimes readable is good enough.

Researching: I’ve managed a couple thousand words on my book in the past couple of weeks. Yay!

Teaching: I more-or-less finished the most troublesome syllabus a couple of hours before that class started. I still have to write a bunch of assignments. Why is it just as hard to turn an online class into in-person as the other way around? I thought it would be easier going this direction.

Washing and drying: I am enjoying having the new washer and dryer, which were delivered while I was in Familyland, but the washer does have a tendency to twist clothes into ropes. However, both machines have the settings I want to have, and are not so fancy that they want to communicate with the smart phone I don’t have, or decide for themselves how to wash or dry the clothes. I want to be the one who bosses the machines, not the other way around!

Exercising: not enough. It is much too hot out most of the time to go for walks, and I’m not getting up early enough to go out at sunrise when it’s bearable, because we’re staying up late . . .

Watching: the Vuelta à España.

Some things I did today

The redoubtable Ganching generally manages to do ten things of a Sunday, but I doubt I’ll be able to equal her. Let’s see:

  1. Bought a dress on e-bay.
  2. Cooked brunch when Sir John got up.
  3. Patched that hole in the fence of the vegetable patch, which required
  4. digging below the level of the current fence,
  5. cutting a piece of chicken wire,
  6. attaching the chicken wire to the original fence, but lower and further along the shed,
  7. and filling in the trench afterward.
  8. Gave myself a haircut (and sent a picture of it to a friend).
  9. Went for a walk.
  10. Refrained from doing any job-related work except for sending an e-mail in response to one that will help me finish that pesky syllabus.

OK, if you count all the steps involved in the patching plus the parenthetical picture-taking, that’s eleven! And the digging was hard work, so I definitely want to count it separately.

Six on Saturday: Vandalism in the Veg Patch

A few days ago, three large tomatoes were ripening on the freebie plant. Then there were two, and I wondered if I’d hallucinated the third. Then there were none, and I found this:

I am not amused. I suspect the groundhog that has been hanging around, but I’m sure rabbits will find the hole soon enough. I need to go close the barn door, so to speak, but first I have to finish a syllabus for a class that starts in just a few days.

Further evidence of the damage:

The beast has been nipping off stems of many tomato plants. I have a lot of late-starting volunteers from the compost patch, which may fruit for Halloween if we’re lucky, so I wish s/he’d stick to them.

A view of the sweet peas, the two remaining plants; I started a dozen back in late April or May, seven sprouted and were moved to the fencing around the veg patch, and I think these are the only two that remain:

Let us move on from this scene. I’m glad I have two pots of tomatoes on the deck. Well, at the moment they’re on the path, because I need to paint the deck, but we keep having thunderstorms predicted so I don’t paint, and I’m going to have to re-prep when I get there, but anyway, tomatoes. The Romas aren’t doing so well, as some bug keeps laying eggs in the tips of the tomatoes, so I had to throw away the first half-dozen to ripen. Fingers crossed that the current batch may be okay:

Looking up, here’s a late-summer view of the magnolia, last seen in bloom:

We’re up to six now, yes? Here’s the autumn-blooming clematis, in bud, twining around the grape vine and the deck railing:

Six on Saturday is hosted by The Propagator, who has lovely bright colo(u)rs this week!

Stay tuned for posts on The Green Knight and my research spreadsheets.

Six on Saturday

Look, I’ve managed to get it together to remember that it’s Saturday, take pictures, and post, all on the same day. I expect I’m not the only gardener whose summer Saturdays fill up, one way or another. At any rate, here we go.

Deck tomatoes, one Roma, one cherry, have totally forgotten varieties:

The vegetable patch, much larger than when last photographed. I think you can see, in the upper right corner, one of the Cabbage Whites whose caterpillars are chewing through the collards:

The new flowerbed, installed a week ago. The scabiosa and Russian sage are doing well. The lavender is trying to die (WTF, I thought it liked hot weather), and I’m not sure the other plants that I transplanted from elsewhere in the yard are going to make it, but I have plenty more with which to try again in the fall or next spring:

Moving on to flowers for #4, coreopsis is doing great:

I’d forgotten that we had these beautifully colored coneflowers; most of them are pink or yellow:

And it’s day lily season:

Six on Saturday is hosted by the Propagator.