Monday, October 29, 2012

Hurricane Sandy is Here

I took these pictures this morning. Since then, the wind and rain have gotten worse and conditions promise to deteriorate as Sandy makes landfall later tonight. We are hoping for the best.

The back porch was already soaked from the wind and rain first thing this morning.

Looking at the back yard through the screened-in porch.

The flower garden, as seen from the back porch.

Flower garden at the beginning of Hurricane Sandy.

We have several big trees in our yard that we are concerned about. Many of them drop branches even in mild storms. We are hoping they can withstand the almost 90mph winds that are headed our way.

One of the big trees in our yard.

Izzy wanted to check things out early this morning. Don’t worry, she wasn’t in any danger. This was taken before the winds picked up. I would never put one of my darlings in harm’s way!

Izzy surveying the situation.

This bird was trying to weather out the storm this morning in one of the birdhouses on our shed/workshop. Haven’t seen him since about 10am, though. I hope he is safe.

A bird trying to weather the storm.

I took this picture through the back door looking just a few minutes ago. The winds have blown in the screen on the screened-in back porch.

The screen coming off the back door.

As I mentioned in my last post, I spent a lot of time this weekend bringing in my potted plants. They are safely sheltered in the greenhouse, or at least I hope they’re safe!

The greenhouse.

The greenhouse.

The greenhouse.

The greenhouse.

The greenhouse.

The greenhouse.

Izzy and Molly are getting nervous. Molly is hiding under a blanket on the loveseat.

That’s Molly’s fuzzy paw.

Izzy is hiding under the slipcover in the living room (this is where she hides whenever she gets scared). Like we wouldn’t notice the big lump on the sofa!

Izzy under the slipcover on the sofa.

The wind is kicking up more and the power almost went out. Think it’s time to shut down the computer.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

It’s Alive, It’s Alive! – Frankenstorm Is Coming!

I couldn’t resist the Frankenstein reference. Being the old movie fan that I am, I actually just saw a double feature of the original Universal “Frankenstein” and “Bride of Frankenstein” movies in the theater on Wednesday. It was a one day only event through Fathom Events / Turner Classics, in celebration of Universal’s 100th anniversary. Whenever the newscasters refer to this storm as Frakenstorm, I can’t help but picture Boris Karloff flying through the air, coming right for the Jersey coast.

Last year it was Hurricane Irene, this time it’s Hurricane Sandy. All in all, Irene wasn’t as bad as they said it would be. However, we didn’t escape unscathed. We had a skylight in our laundry room leak really bad and ended up having to take out the skylight, replace the roof in that area, and replaced the ceiling and a wall in the laundry room. Not fun. But could’ve been a lot worse. This is shaping up to be a much worse storm with prolonged hurricane-force winds and lots and lots of rain. I worry about the big, old trees on our property. They drop branches in small storms and this promises to be a big one. I think our basement will be ok...yeh, I think.... We got some water down there during Irene, but not a lot.

We are prepared with our flashlights, batteries, non-perishables, and fully charged cell phones. I spent a long time yesterday bringing in potted plants and garden ornaments. The plants needed to come in anyway since it’s getting colder. My greenhouse is now chocked full. The greenhouse isn’t in the greatest shape and leaks during rainy weather, but it’s better than being outside. Let’s cross our fingers and hope for the best.

The Flower and Kitchen Gardens in October

What happened to September’s pictures? Well, I didn’t take any. Just wasn’t much to look at this September. Here’s a few October photos, though.

Some mums and that yellow annual that keeps on giving...

The flower garden in October

Here’s a close-up shot of the mums. Not sure what happened to make this so blurry.

Blurry mums.

A lime green sedum groundcover.


A purple aster and red Texas sage.

Aster and Texas Sage.

I have three pineapple sages and they are always the best part of the garden in October. I love to rub the leaves to smell the pineapple scent and the tubular red flowers are a bright spot in the late fall garden.

Pineapple Sage.

This hydrangea is still nice to look out with its dried flowers.

Pineapple Sage behind dried hydrangea flowers.

This is the side of the back yard that I had cleared out earlier this year. I planted these pretty, dark red mums by the little dogwood tree.

Dark red mums under the dogwood.

The skip laurel that I planted earlier this year is flowering.

Skip Laurel flowers.

I am still getting a few things from the kitchen garden: sweet basil, tomatoes, green peppers, and of course those deformed carrots.

The kitchen garden in October.

I like to sit on this bend in the kitchen garden and survey the gardens...making plans for next year already...

Bench in the kitchen garden.

I must stay that fall got away from me this year. I wanted to finish my paths behind the flower garden that I started in the spring after having the ivy and poison ivy cleared out. Got busy with some side projects and never got to it. Also didn’t get grass seed put down in areas that desperately need it. Now the leaves are falling and it will be time to rake. But there’s a certain storm coming that has to be dealt with first....

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Quasimodo Carrots

I was surveying what little was left in the kitchen garden this afternoon and saw that it looked like it was time to dig up the carrots. I was anticipating the almost picture-perfect Kaleidoscope Carrots that I had dug up about this time last year, with their long slender shape and jewel-tone colors. What I got was Quasimodo carrots, all misshapen and deformed. More suitable as spooky Halloween decorations than luscious, delectable carrots. Is this a disease or just unattractive carrots? We can’t all be pretty. It doesn’t look like root rot, and if it was root knot nematodes I would think there would be forking. These are just bulbous either at the top or bottom. Dare I eat them???? I’m thinking they’re ok to eat, just kinda ugly. However, if my head or butt swell up really big, I’ll know why.  :o)

Scary-looking carrots.

Don’t be scared, they’re just carrots.


Saturday, October 13, 2012

Corn on the Cob: Missing Summer Already

One thing I am already missing is fresh, locally grown corn on the cob. I got the last of the corn for the season from my favorite local farm market on September 22nd. To me, getting the last of the corn on the cob is one of the signs that summer has officially ended. Just thinking about it makes me drool and long for next summer.

I have tried to grow corn in the past. Apparently, growing it correctly is kind of an art. Oh, and you need a lot of space to do it. Just doesn’t work in my tiny yard. I’ve been all over my area trying corn from various places through the years. I finally gave up looking and now I just go to Hunter’s Farm and Market in Cinnaminson. They have THE BEST sweet Jersey corn ever. Period. End of story.

Hunter’s grows their own white and bicolor corn in fields behind their market. Which do I prefer? I prefer the white. My older sister swears by the bicolor and Brian claims he can’t taste the difference. I’m surprised he says that with his sophisticated beer-judging palette. I can definitely taste a difference, but both are delicious. It just wouldn’t be summer without Hunter’s corn.

I am a purist when it comes to preparing my corn on the cob. I steam it and put a little butter on it and eat. No salt, no pepper, no other seasoning needed in my book. Everyone else I know prefers a little salt. I say, why spoil perfection?

Bicolor corn on the cob from Hunter’s Farm Market.

If I remember correctly, Hunter’s is a fourth generation farm. I went to the same high school with the one daughter and am glad to be giving my money to a local farm and family. I grow so much of my own vegetables now that corn is the main thing I buy there. However, they also grow their own cantaloupe, watermelon (seeded, seedless and yellow), sweet potatoes and white yams — all of which are excellent. I’m especially fond of the sweet potatoes, which are in season now. Think I’ll go get me some of those!

Click here for more information about Hunter’s Farm and Market.

Friday, October 12, 2012

The First Frost Advisory

That first frost advisory in the fall always makes me sad. I rush around my yard trying to prepare — covering any tender veggies I hope to last longer, picking those that I know need to come in, and bringing in the potted plants that are in exposed areas. I brought in a big bowl-full of green tomatoes hoping I can ripen them indoors or, at the very least, enjoy some green tomato recipes. My carnivorous plants are now safely moved to the greenhouse, as are an aloe and some other potted plants. I still have plenty on the front porch, but I think they’ll be ok for now since they are under cover.

Losing what’s left of the sweet basil is always the hardest part. I had wanted to make pesto this year and never got around to it. All those tasty basil plants will be withered by morning if we get that frost. I have two potted basil plants, however, they never do as well as in the garden for me. I will miss that fresh basil through the cold winter months.

Goodbye yummy herbs and vegetables of the summer... now to start planning for NEXT year...