Jumping Jiminy Crickets!

It’s a beautiful Autumn day today and I decided to go for a walk around my neighbourhood. Sweatpants and t-shirt were all that was needed although I kind of wish I had worn shorts instead.

I set off up our block towards the park, thinking I’d stop and sit under a tree and think about stuff, but it was so windy that I was genuinely concerned that the tree may fall on my head! So, I kept on trucking. Up the hill, down the hill, up again and back down.

What I did discover was that every leaf in St. Louis deposited itself under my feet. All, that is, except for the leaves on the tree in front of my house. That tree is hanging on dearly to its leaves and waiting for a time when, just as I think I’ve finished raking everything up, it’s going to let go of a hundred million of those little darlings all over the front yard!

I also forgot to tie my hair up. Big mistake! My hair flew from the one side of my head, to the other side and ended up sticking straight up. Even my eyebrows and eyelashes blew around. It wasn’t the Cape Town type of wind where you have to lean into it to be able to walk forward, but rather huge gusts that take you by surprise and cause you to lose your balance a little.

Today is trash day too, so all the recycle bins have been blown over and are starting to be blown down the street. That should cause some interesting moments when everyone comes home from work and tries to figure out which bin is theirs. I’m sneaky – I’ve painted our house number inside ours.

The pretty season is over! I’m sad to see it go, but we had a good run and Autumn has been lovely. I think we’re on the bottom end of it now and heading towards winter – my favourite season. It means the holidays are around the corner. Thanksgiving next week (wait, what??) and 6 weeks later, Christmas! In just over a week’s time I will be hauling all our Christmas decorations out and plopping them all over the house. Maybe even a few things for outside too this year, seeing as we will be home.

In the meantime I’m going to enjoy this lovely weather and take my cuppa tea outside!

The Squash Bug Fiasco

‘Tis the season! Autumn is approaching and the garden is starting to wind down. It’s been a bit of an odd gardening year, but we did reap the benefits of some veggies. From a long, cool spring, to a hot and wet early summer and then a very hot rest of the summer, to an approaching Autumn which, fingers crossed, will result in an abundance of cool weather veggies. Right now, part of the garden looks lush and the other part is dying.

• The first crop we were able to reap was potatoes. We dug up 25 lbs of them this year. I planted 4 different types (can’t remember the names), 3 were yellow spuds and 1 type was red.
• I did manage to get 3 zucchinis from the mystery plant. All 3 of them were as big as baseball bats! I have 2 of them still in the fridge.
• Gem squash (a South African squash, similar taste and texture to spaghetti squash, but look totally different) are doing very well. I’ve given a bunch away and should be ready to pick them all off the vine soon and then clear out that space. Right now, that area is looking badly kept because the 2 plants are dying off. The vines are huge and have burst out through the chain link fence into 2 of my neighbors’ yards. It’s fair game! If they grow on their side, they’re theirs! Not sure they know what to do with it though. There will be lessons, and maybe a test! A taste test, perhaps!!
• My 3 tomato plants are still producing but not many of the tomatoes are turning red. I may have to just pick them and let them ripen on the windowsill (if the cats will allow it). It’s still a bit early to be doing that though, so I’ll leave it a couple more weeks.
• The bell peppers are doing fairly well and are turning red. One plant is tired and ready to be put out of its misery while the other one is bursting with peppers.
• I have 2 hot pepper plants, which are exploding with peppers. PSA: I’m a little afraid of it! Last time I picked some, my hands were burning for a full 24 hours!
• The 2 eggplant trees are doing well and producing well, but I’m concerned that the butternut vines will overpower it.
• Then there’s the butternut…! I planted one seed! ONE! This “trifid” has grown so huge, so quickly that I suspect the vines are larger than 20 ft. I’ve trained the vines around the bed it’s in, but it’s still growing. There are tons of baby butternuts forming, which really excites me, but there are also hundreds of squash bugs that want to race me to the finish line! Every year I fight the battle of the squash bugs. Last year they beat me to it, and I reaped nothing. This year I’ve tried to keep on top of their production and even resorted to using chemicals, which I hate to do. I don’t think it helped in the slightest. I think it just annoyed them and made them bionic! I shall prevail! This year I’ve been at home, so have more time to beat them to the finish line.
• I also have asparagus growing, and it seems to be doing wonderfully. It’s a 3-year asparagus and this is the 2nd year, so one more summer and then hopefully in the summer of 2022, we will be eating it!
• My herbs are also wilting, so I really do need to get out and pick some of it and turn it into something wonderful. Lots of basil for pesto, and other herbs for Italian seasonings that I can freeze.

This past week (maybe a little late) I planted some Fall veggies. I have garlic, various types of lettuce, spinach, radishes, and a lot of beetroot. Some of it is already starting to poke its head out of the dirt, so I’m hopeful.

It’s been horribly hot and humid the past couple of weeks with very little rain, so I’ve been watering the garden and dealing with mosquitoes and chiggers feasting on me.  Seasonal allergies are no fun either, so I’ve limited my time outside.

I’d say it’s been a fairly successful gardening year.  It’s a lot of work to maintain a garden and yard.  Awful temperatures don’t make it easy either.  I’d enjoy it more on my terms, but Mother Nature does what she wants.

Time for me to prepare my little rain dance outside.  It’s cloudy, so I’m hopeful!

Happy gardening!