maple leaves

maple leaves

We had several warm, sunny days during the week which were very likely the last hurrah of summer as the coming week promises to not get above 60F (16C). Still no frost in the forecast which is a bit disconcerting because with the rain, warmth and sun all of my garlic sprouted! Some of them are three inches tall. It’s been so long since I’ve grown garlic I can’t remember if I have had it sprout in the fall before and if so, how it fared in the spring. I am hoping that it will be ok since there isn’t anything I can do about it.

Today I planted the daffodils and the Siberian squill (scilla). I gave them all an alum water bath before planting so hopefully that will keep the squirrels from getting after them. The squirrels were conspicuously absent while I was about my business. It was creepier than when they were watching me plant garlic. Where were they? Did they get better at hiding? Were they peering at me

looking like autumn

looking like autumn

between leaves or dressed in camouflage crouching behind hillocks of grass with binoculars? I don’t trust them, they are up to something!

Sadly I had to throw five of the daffodil bulbs on the compost because they were moldy. The box had been delivered in the rain and got wet. Since the bulbs were in plastic bags I didn’t think anything about it. I guess I should have. So instead of three “drifts” of daffodils with scilla mixed in I have two drifts of daffodils and a drift of all scilla. Note to future self, do not leave any plant material in a box that has gotten wet no matter how they were packaged. Lesson learned.

Mums

Mums

In a week full of surprises I noticed mums blooming in my front garden. I had planted them a very long time ago and they had come back a few years and bloomed but for the last several years they were scrawny and there were no blooms. So it was this year I didn’t even notice that they came back and looked pretty good. And now their deep burgundy flowers are looking quite striking among the fading greens. The variety of mum is Minnesota, a hardy variety developed, especially for Minnesota weather.

While the mums are pretty, the real star of the garden this time of year is the foliage. The big bluestem is turning red before it fades to straw. The hazelnut tree is orange and red and yellow and green right now and looks especially gorgeous in the soft late morning light of autumn. And Melody, the silver maple in my front yard, is green and

hazelnut leaves

hazelnut leaves

yellow with a touch of red. So pretty. She is one of those trees that holds onto its leaves until the last possible moment and then drops them all at once on a windy day.

We are cooking apples like crazy and still have a lot more. I have lost count of how many jars of applesauce and apple butter we have canned. Yesterday Bookman and I picked two five-gallon (18L) buckets and there are still more on the tree, at least another bucket, maybe two. We were too busy this weekend for Bookman to make an apple treat, but he’s got

big bluestem

big bluestem

something planned for later in the week. By the time we are done with the apples the pumpkins will be ready. We also have a number of green tomatoes that, with the weather turning cool for good, will not get ripe. I found a recipe for green tomato relish that we are going to try. Oh, and I think we will finally get to making mustard this week. We needed red wine vinegar and almonds for Roman mustard and we kept forgetting to buy them when we went shopping. But we have them now. I’ll be sure to let you know how it turns out.

Goodness, I am tired just writing about all the work ahead. When the snow starts falling and the urge to hibernate comes over me, I am going to curl up with a book and a cup of hot chocolate and enjoy not doing anything at all for a while.

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