Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Frozen Spikes

There was not a single solitary flake of snow on the ground a mere eight miles from home. None. Zilch. It was like I had descended from a wholly separate realm.

All of the new Yucca filamentosa planted on the slope below the cozy cabin were completely buried. Not a single frozen spike was to be seen. Those up top along the drive were poking through because the howling winds had blown the snow into drifts across the drive. Talk about winter interest. These yuccas are not perennials that turn to mush and die to the ground in the winter. They are evergreen.

If I am going to live up in this high realm, I most assuredly need things that can poke up through the snow.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Winter Enters

With a big dollop. I'd say we are closer to eight inches than six and the snow is still falling.

It must be snowing over a wider area than just the high elevations. When the scenic byway's snow plow doesn't come by several times a day that means he's busy.

That doesn't keep a number of fools off the road. Last night I even got a knock on the door, "May I borrow your phone. My four wheel drive won't engage." There is another fool stuck up there right now. They at least had the good fortune that a tow truck was right behind them.

There was so much snow on the scenic byway, a road grader was sent up the mountain at noon in front of the snow plow. Winter has entered with a big dollop.

Some where out there in a blizzard is one neurotic cat. Miss Collar has confinement issues. She is afraid of feeling trapped inside. It has not helped that strangers have been by two days in a row. Her confinement issues are exasperated by strangers. She knows how to hide in culverts at least. Her favorite culvert is close to the house under the driveway next door. She'll be fine. The snow is way too deep for her to come home.

I ain't shovelin' no driveways. She will just have to wait until it melts. I suspect she will be able to get out for church on Sunday. I parked my truck at the top of my driveway. I ain't shovelin' no driveways this winter.

Everybody drives slow on a snow covered scenic byway and peers down at a cozy cabin high on the low spot. They may think I am nuts living way up here.

I wave to fools passing slowly by and head back to a cozy little cabin where I am comfy as can be in the first big dollop of winter.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Will The Parsnips Be Sweeter

I woke up to a light dusting and ongoing flurries.

It flurried all day.

It kept growing stronger as the day wore on.

The diagnosis says 4 to 8 inches, up to a foot of snow at the highest elevations. I'm not the highest elevation. Will that be enough of a blanket to protect my cauliflower?  I keep hoping there is some remote chance they might cauli-flower this late in the game. I haven't seen buds yet though. Chances are slim. Could it be they survive the winter and cauli-flower in the spring? That would work too.

Before winter arrived I did go out and harvest a bunch of lettuce, chard, and kale. I dug a big box of potatoes and covered the rest of the row with a bit more wood chip mulch. I know the potatoes will keep just fine buried in the ground as long as they don't freeze.

The parsnips are the most important thing left in the road side vegetable garden. I think my best crop of parsnips ever is hiding under there. I've looked. They have nice fat necks. Garden wisdom says they need a couple of frosts to attain the best sweetness so I have deliberately left them there to chilled. I already know they will survive the winter in the ground just fine and I can harvest them anytime as long as the ground's not froze solid. I am looking forward to my parsnips.

The blizzard winds are upon us and the snow is falling fast.

My parsnips should be getting sweeter.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Only To Be Buried

The end was arriving without any assistance from cold or frost or snow or wicked winter winds. A long fall of perfect weathers did nothing to stop the inevitable. The trees are near bare and the tall flower meadow was turning brown and laying down to rest.

You would think this was not a time when a new garden would appear from the earth, but that is exactly what was happening. The bone structure and winter interest of the baby garden becoming had begun to emerge from a falling tall flower meadow.

Only to be buried by the ever increasing snow fall totals in the ever changing weather diagnosis. Four inches, eight inches, some inches fewer or more. We shall see. It is raining snow now and there is the suggestion it may keep snowing until Wednesday morning.

I may get the house cleaned and balance my checkbook. Then I need to get serious about doing some measuring and drawing for a library in the mini-loft and a real closet in the bedroom loft.

This winter I may build instead of garden.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Last Call

Before the snow falls.

There are blooms to the frigid end high on the low spot. A Sheffie Mum was accidentally moved by a backhoe with a big rock. I think a number of things get accidentally moved around here.

Bulbs can surprise you. There were two Saffron Crocus blooming this morning. I was only reminded I had planted some last week and of course had no idea where I planted them. Well some ended up by the front steps.

A Meidiland Rose has put out a final flush of bloom in a near leafless winter condition.

The road side Sheffie Mums get pinker as they begin to fade away.

The Pink Muhly Grass and verbena may be about to get crushed with wet snow.

Those that got a late start have made it to the very end.

The Yellie Mum will always be blooming at the very end. It very well could be entirely unfazed by a 30 degree snow.

The ocean of blue asters is already a faded memory. Very few remain to see in the first snowfall.

Winter rolls in on a wet afternoon fog.

It's last call.

Friday, October 26, 2012

The Russet Tones

The abundant russet tones are a clear sign that the end of autumn is near. The rusty colors of the oaks, the last to go, now dominate.

The organization of fallen leaves has begun in earnest. There will be several weeks of organizing leaves ahead.

Fall will finish as the first real frost heads this way. There is even a chance for a touch of snow. But this is 30's cold not 20's cold so autumn won't come to a crushing end.

I will be organizing leaves and putting the beds down for winter

As the last of the leaves fall from the forest trees.

A new season rushes towards us.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Cosmos

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Eaglenest Ridge

The low end. It rises much higher but I have to be across town to see it.

High on the low spot we are approaching the remnants of autumn. The barren time is near.

The last to turn, the baby Kousa Dogwood is one of the few reds this year. It was red last year.

Autumn was different this year, more yellow, more russet. The colors were less vibrant. The weathers however have been the epitome of Indian Summer and quite spectacular.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Wolfpen Mountain

Sunday, October 21, 2012

In Mid Fall

The patchy frost was not. Fall continues uninterrupted. It is past peak now on the low spot. The trees are getting bare in places.

While other places bloom on.

Groups of trees are at peak and 40 feet away there is near nakedness.

It is only by accident that Uncle Ernie is so welled coordinated for autumn. Those colors were some of the leftover paint samples I had on hand.

The plumbing box was fully closed and re-caulked today. Then I ran out of energy. Now it needs a touch up job on the paint. The permanent hose bib protection will have to wait for another day.

A reddish orange tree against a clear deep blue sky on the finest of days in the Carolinas.

You can see in the background, Hebo mountain across the scenic byway is getting thin.

There are a lot of nooks and crannies in the mountains out there and plenty color still abounds.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Before Winter Arrives

While there is still some fall left there are a few chores that need doing before winter sets in.

The cozy cabin was indeed cozy my first winter living in it, but one strong cold spell did uncover a problem.

Is this Plan F now in my plumbing box? During the two winters when I wasn't living in the cozy cabin things froze and some water lines cracked. Those got repaired and a short section of heat tape was added. Last winter a few of the pipes froze for a day or so despite a heat tape inside the insulated box. At least there was no damage.

Once again I have taken the thing apart to add a much longer 30 foot heat tape to cover more of the water lines. The plumbing box is insulated but it is not a heated part of the cozy cabin. It needs to stay warmer so my pipes don't freeze.

I slithered around on my back for most of the day and almost got the plumbing box all put back together again. I'll finish it tomorrow. My next little project is to build a permanent insulated box around my hose bib with a door that can be opened so I can use it all year long.

The best news of this ordeal was that I found no signs of current mouse activity inside my insulated plumbing box. I had successfully sealed them out. Hallelujah! ........ Damn varmints!

There are still a couple more weeks of fall left. I think I made a list of chores for fall and winter. Now where did I put it?

I know I'll have to close down the house next door when I get back from taking Bulbarella to Florida for the winter. The kitties will be staying there while I am gone. They will have more elbow room there than in the cozy cabin.