Saturday, October 21, 2006

Bare limbs everywhere

It has been a very busy time in the gardens. Digging Cannas, removing tomato plants, Castor Bean plants, Miribilis Jalapa plants and putting into the compost, taking cuttings. Everything is slowing down, cooling off and turning to mush. I still have some things flowering, Plumbago is still as blue as ever. I still have a few Balsam plants under the eaves that have escaped the frost too. I have been taking my DaVinci Poinsettia and putting it into the closet for 14 hours every night. Then, I bring it back out and put it in the window during the day, in hopes that come late December, those Peppermint bracts will magically appear.

My Amarylis bulb grew quite a bit over the summer. I planted it in a flower bed so it would get maximum benefits. I think it worked. There are also several babies attached to it. I considered removing them to have more plants, but decided to let them stay with their mom for another year at least. I will just have to find a larger pot than last year when it becomes time to pot it back up. Here is a picture of it from last winter, quite a beauty. The variety is Hermitage. I bought the bulb on clearance last winter and it sure brought a lot of color when it bloomed. The flowers also lasted a long time, definitely a plus. I can't wait to how well it will bloom this time.

The leaves are almost gone now. With the rain and wind, they are falling faster. We can see the river again with the view unblocked. We can see if the water is high or if it is low and the spillway visible. The creek has been very full this last week with all of the rain. It has been almost dry, with only the deep pools still full of water. The fullness will finally allow those trapped fish a chance to get out get to the river now.
All of the tall wild flowers (weeds) are dead now and already starting to fall over, exposing the shape and contour of our property once again. The deer will be in plain site, easy to view.

Here is a picture of our giant Black Walnut tree. It is the last the get leaves and the first to drop them. We have no idea how old the tree is, but estimate 80-200 years old. It is quite huge, 205 inch circumference, 106 feet tall, and the crown is 111 feet at its widest. It is in excellent health, with no dead branches and still producing nuts like crazy. I have entered it into the Ohio Big Tree competition, hoping it will be the largest Black Walnut in Ohio. They will come out and take official measurements sometime and compare it with current and other nominees. It is very shady below it during the summer. It also helps keep most weeds down too. We have seen many squirrels climbing its limbs and earlier this week had a Great Blue Heron sitting on a branch at dusk. That was a beautiful sight to see.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Autumn...just the intro to winter

Yep, it's that time of year again. Boy, summer sure does seem to get shorter and shorter every year. The leaves change color quicker, the cool weather arrives faster, birds are gone, flowers are mostly done blooming, farmers are out taking the crops off. Combines go up and down the road all day long it seems.
I've trying to get out every day and get some winter prep work done. I have potted up Elephant Ears, a geranium, spider plants, impatiens, and various other things. I pulled up a lot of geraniums and put them into a paper bag to store away until next year. I've cut the Castor Bean plants down, they were already blown over from the wind. Also cut down the Perilla, pulled the 4 O'Clocks out and am ready to start digging up the Canna's next.
I have a list, and I have checked it twice, three times, for things to be done before frost. I've collected seeds and sorted those out. Some I will keep for winter sowing (another post on another day soon), some I will give away and some I have all set for a seed exchange.
Leaves are falling in swarms now. Some trees are bare already and some are close behind. Raking and blowing them into piles to make mulch will be coming real soon. Walnuts are dropping like crazy too. Here is a picture of what we've collected so far, and I bet there is already that many more below the trees again and we've probably pitched just as many into the woods.
Speaking of trees, there is another thing to add to the list. We have loads of trees, some large and some small. There is a section behind the barn that has many smaller trees, 8 foot tall or less. There is Walnut, Maple, Elm, and Poplar. I need to go out and mark those as to what they are before the leaves fall off. We are going to transplant many of those to other locations on the property once they go dormant. Most of them are too close together and we really want to give the Walnut trees enough space to grow freely. Not that we don't have enough of them, but they won't last forever, so we are going to keep them planted at intervals so that maybe they could last for many generations to come.
Have you ever heard the old wives tale that the first frost occurs 90 days after you hear the first cicada begin its singing? I only heard that this year, in June, from one of the local news stations. We heard our first cicada July 4, which would make our first frost October 4th. Well, luckily, no frost yet, so that tale is ruined. Frost won't be far away though, you can feel the crisp coolness on the wind. It will be here soon, bringing SNOW shortly after.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Ta-Da...the finished chair!

Well, I got the chair done. It turned out really nice, but I am not sure if I am pleased with it or not. I may deconstruct part of it and change it. I am going to leave it as is for a week or so and see if I change my mind.

Here is my handiwork with the foam. I use an electric carving knife (like what you use to cut a turkey) to cut and shape the foam. It makes it super easy, very precise, and fast to cut.
After fitting the foam pieces, they are each wrapped in quilt batting, then with cheese cloth. The arm pieces are then stapled in place. All of the other pieces are marked with an R or L for correct placement and then removed and set aside.
The fabric can then be cut to size, wrapped and sewn around the foam, or with the arms, stapled in place. Each piece goes back to the chair in a specific order, depending on how the foam was placed. With this chair, the order was, arms, wings, seat front, arm fronts, back of chair, seat, back cushion.
For crisp, straight edges, I cut pieces of poster board (thin cardboard) an inch wide and stapled the fabric to it, and then attached to the chair. These pieces were mainly used along the back side edges.

I used some black trim on the bottom edge for fun. I also happened to have on hand, some of the black fabric that you see on the bottom of furniture, to hide the inside. So I used it underneath for a nice finished look. I also gave the feet a fresh coat of black paint.

Here it is! It does look really nice. It is a much smaller chair than I envisioned it to be, but it is comfortable. The fabric stretched nicely, there are very few tell-tale puckers. Staples are all invisible too. I even made a nice pillow for it. I stuffed it with scraps of quilt batting and fabric. It now looks like a brand new chair. Remember what it looked like to begin with?