Fall is Coming

George and I wandered around outside for a little while today.  We gave the hummingbirds new food, filled the seed feeders, gave the blue jays some peanuts, and threw out scratch grains for the ground birds.  We couldn't help but notice that, although the temperatures are forecast for the 80's today, the sun is definitely much lower in the sky than it has been.  The shadows are casting long, which is good for George who likes to get into the shade of the zucchini.

He's being stealth, on the hunt for anything that moves.  The garden has become more jungle-like, especially the tomatoes.  It happens every year, despite my efforts to keep them contained within their cages. 

I'm trying something new this year.  I always have a ton of green tomatoes that never ripen in any quantity before the rain comes, usually sometime near the end of October.  I read that if I pinch off the flowers, the plant will put its energy into ripening the tomatoes it has instead of making new tomatoes.  I'm giving it a try this year, although it's much easier said than done.  There were hundreds of little flowers.  I didn't bother with the cherry tomatoes, since I always have those ripening in abundance.  And . . . . I picked the first Early Girl today.  It's a tiny little thing, but it's ripe, and that's what thrills me beyond measure.

I was also able to harvest enough beans for a side dish, another zucchini, and lots more beets.  My beet harvest is the best I've ever had.  I have no idea why.  I'll take it, whatever it is.  As I've said before, I've learned to be grateful for whatever comes from the garden.  I won't get many beans this year, but I'll get enough to satisfy me.

Most years they have covered the supports of their poles and grown all along the top beam.  As you can see, they are less than impressive this year.  Who knows why?  Vegetable gardening is a fickle science in my area.

But look at this!

These are my Brussels sprouts.  Do you see the little nubbins where the leaves meet the stalk?  I believe the sprouts are sprouting!  I've never grown Brussels sprouts before.  Actually, I did try to grow them last year, and none came up.  I haven't really known what to expect from these.  The stalks were getting taller and taller, and I kept looking into the center expecting to see something there.  Then today I got the bright idea to look lower, and there they were!  Hopefully, they'll continue to get larger, and I'll get the Brussels sprouts I'm hoping for.  I want to pickle them.  (I'm very big on pickling.)

The artichoke plant that Erik and Mae gave me this spring is doing really well.  Mike has been fertilizing it, and it seems happy in its new home. 

Time will tell if it can survive the cold of our winter.  Erik and Mae live at a lower elevation than we do.  Theirs has been successful.  I can only hope mine will be too.

This is the one lone sunflower that came up of the many I planted this year.  Again, who knows what kept the sunflowers from growing this year?  I can only blame the wet spring and slow-to-arrive warmth of summer.

Fortunately the squirrels planted many more sunflowers in the herb garden, the flower pots, and just about anywhere else we can look in the yard.  You can see the two coming up in the herb garden at the top of this image, in amongst the mint and the sage.

Being grateful for what grows means also being grateful for what the squirrels can grow.  We often have to pull up the gobs of sunflower sprouts and corn sprouts where they've emptied their little cheeks into one tiny hole--ptoooey!  But occasionally, they manage to get the landscaping part of their job right.

Another color of dahlia has opened up.  These are huge . . . at least 6-8 inches across.

Remember that we had our house painted last week, and I was wishing the front door had a little more flash.  Here's how it looked then.

We painted all of the doors the same color, including the garage doors.  It's hard to see in this image, but it's sort of off-white.  I had hoped for something more yellow to go with the green on the rest of the trim.  Mike was sweet enough to repaint it for me, and now it's the color I was hoping for.  I wanted it to match the little goldfinch welcome sign that hangs beside it.

I'm much happier with it now.

Finally, while I was writing this post, Mike came in with the mail.  I'm thrilled to tell you that I received the parcel I've been waiting for from my Handmade Gift Exchange partner from South Africa.  There were three lovely gifts inside.  First, I believe this is mod podge, but I'm not sure.  It's a little wooden box with a removable top.

Perfect with the little birds and flowers!  Also, this trivet . . . or I suppose one could hang it on the wall too.

It says "rosmarin" which I believe means "rosemary" in her language.  I've written her an email and asked her to tell me what the language is.  So sweet, and again, so perfect for me.

Lastly, a beaded keychain with a hippopotamus and a giraffe.

So sweet.  I love this stuff.  What a nice gift to receive from the other side of the planet!  She hasn't received my parcel yet either, as far as I know.  If you'll recall, I sent her this table mat.

I had given up thinking either of us would receive our gifts.  Both were mailed back in June.  Lesson learned:  Make sure you send international parcels via air mail . . . and don't assume they will go that way if you don't specify it.

And . . . since I whined and complained so much about yesterday's dental implant procedure, I guess I should tell you that I survived.  It wasn't nearly as terrible as I thought it would be.  I plugged my iPod headphones into my ears to try to drown out the noise, although what they did rattled my skull, which made it hard to hear over the sound of their instruments.  It was pretty sensitive yesterday afternoon, but today it feels pretty good.  I had to be on a clear liquid diet for 24 hours, which is now past.  But now I'm on a soft diet restriction for the next 4-6 weeks while it heals.  I'm not very good at restricting my diet, so I'll have to be very careful not to chew on that side.

4 comments from clever and witty friends:

Loretta said...

Oh Barbara, you have given us so much to see...I'm so happy you are still getting veggies from your garden! My those beets look good! Kitty seems to be quite comfy in the garden. My Kayle was always being shooed from my lettuce. She like it too much!
Glad you are doing okay with the implant. Be care and take good care of yourself so you don't create another problem. I loved visiting with you, as always you have so many goodies to share and today was no exception. Love You!

Kate said...

So that's what Brussel sprouts looke like before you see them in the grocery store (born city girl, never had a garden).

Glad that your garden is doing so well. Love your flowers.

quiltzyx said...

I'm glad to read that your dentist trip wasn't as horrid as you feared. Good luck with your soft foods for the next while!

Your veggies & flowers are looking wonderful! It's nice that the other critters are paying more attention to landscaping for you this year. lol

Linda@CraftaholicsAnonymous said...

Well your gift was definitely worth the wait! What fun items! the box is gorgeous! and the key chains so cute!
happy crafting,
PS my hubby is a dentist and i don't like dentists either....lol glad your implant went well!