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Composting Leaves for Next Year’s Garden

October 21, 2009


Well, we’ve raked the yard twice so far, and most of the leaves are still on the trees yet. We have a half-acre of yard boasting 10+ deciduous trees (plus, there’s a 100 year-old oak next door whose leaves we usually get)… that’s a LOT of raking. I can’t believe I used to do most of it myself when we first moved here! Thank God for teenagers!

Since burning leaves is forbidden in our township, the town comes through twice a month with their industrial-sized vacuum, and slurps up all the leaves that residents have piled by the curb. We get so many leaves that we do take advantage of this service, but for the other half of the leaves, I compost them for the gardens. It’s an easy, VERY cheap way to fortify your garden soil with all sorts of yummy nutrients!



Composting leaves doesn’t take a fancy bin, either. All you need to do is drive four metal stakes into the ground, […]

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Our First Year of Apples!

September 8, 2009


The boys harvested our very first harvest of apples from our apple tree! Woohooo!!!

Our Apples

Yeah… we have a LOT of hornets and wasps around the homestead, how could you tell? :-p

I am now convinced of the beauties of pesticide, people. Yow. Those bugs had a feast.

We will chop up what we can of the apples and freeze them, for making pies and other yummy things during the winter. It’s our first year where we got anything meaningful from our tree, so I am excited! It was many hard years of beating back the rabbits and the deer from my poor tree, all these years. Ah, success!! I BEAT THEM!!

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Harvest Time

August 27, 2009


We spent some time today out in the gardens, now that the humidity is down and it is FINALLY not raining. The weather is gorgeous– sunny, crisp air, and 70 degrees! I’m loving it!

We checked the condition of the vegetable beds. I haven’t spent nearly enough time in them this year. That, and the late frost we had, soaking constant rains, and the humid blast we had last week had been really rough on the poor plants. It was painful to wander back there and see them struggling for life.

My zucchini didn’t make it. This is the first time in all my years in New York State that we have had this happen. Zucchini is the staple of any vegetable garden, usually producing woefully excessive amounts of squash to share. This year, we probably got a dozen or so fruits out of FIVE plants. Usually, I’d probably be getting 5 times that.

Zucchini Blight

The root vegetables turned out very well, as they usually do. I harvested half my potato patch today! And we pulled out a few Monster Turnips. Look at these things! What on earth am I going to do with them?! And there are about 15 more in the garden, still!

Potato Patch

Bucket o Taters

Giant Turnips

Speaking of giants, we spotted this humongous fly on the fence. NEVER seen one so large! Yuck!

Giant Fly

Best of all, there’s my grape vine. My beautiful, beloved grapes! *sigh*

Reliance Grapes

From what I hear, many gardens across the U.S. have not fared too well. My tomatoes did poorly, but I don’t eat tomatoes much, so I didn’t care. I’m very sorry to see my zucchini die, though. How did your garden do?

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No Business Like Snow Business

October 28, 2008


We’ve got snow! It’s enough to make us New Yorkers say, “Hmm”; but snow in October is not that unusual in these parts.

October Snow

Nonetheless, the first snowfall of the season does wonders for our motivation. I still have leaf piles all over the lawn, and I stiil haven’t sewn the drapes for the doorways, and… !

When I lived near Oneida Lake, I remember as a kid we had a huge snowstorm (2 feet) one October 31st. Halloween was cancelled that night. šŸ˜€

So now we have snow. The kids say they also heard thunder rumbling. We are keeping an eye on our basement sump pump well, as the snow was preceeded by a tremendous amount of rain. So far, so good– all dry!

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No Snow

November 25, 2007


Well, by now I thoroughly expected to have snow on the ground. There is none! It has been chilly, and ice forms on the driveway every morning, but no snow. It’s unusual.

We got all our trees planted: 5 privet hedges, 1 red maple, 1 willow, and I moved the douglas fir that had been growingin our front flower bed. I hope it survives– I had to chop up the rootball quite a bit and the ground was slightly frozen. It was tough plugging the tree in the ground. I hope it lives, because it is such a lovely tree. It smells so wonderful, too.

The privets have a home in front of the fence in the front yard. I hope they grow nice and fast, to screen the very ugly row of parked cars that sit at my neighbor’s house. The willow and red maple are in temporary spots. Their final home will be the backyard, but they are too young to be thrown into the cruel, cruel world where rabbits, deer, and neighboring urchins chop, stomp, and devour anything and anything I put back there. Over the past ten years, I’d estimate that I have planted 10 trees in my back yard, and only TWO survived. Deer and neighbors killed the rest. You’d think the neighbors would have better things to do than harrass my trees in my backyard… Tree-planting is quite the exertion around here.

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Planting Trees

November 19, 2007

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Our projects have been winding down for a few weeks. We’ve been very preoccupied with cleaning things up, shutting things down, and preparing for the coming winter season. We’ve also been busy for weeks in an endless raking competition between us and the trees. There are still leaves on our trees, and the trees refuse to drop them! We’ve have been out nearly every day for two weeks, raking, with obviously more raking to go.

You’d probably think I am crazy but I just got my order from the National Arbor Day foundation– more trees! I ordered a total of 12 and 5 came in. So… we’re going to be busy. Hopefully, the kids and I can get them in the ground today. We have snow on the ground, and it’s biting cold, but the trees must be planted. I think NADF waited a bit long to ship the trees, wouldn’t you say? They wait until a frost to ship them. After a very warm October and November, with no frost (very unusual), snow and cold temperatures came very suddenly.

I’ll try to remember to take pictures of our little escapade of planting trees in the snow. I can’t say I’ve ever done it so late!

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