Thanksgiving Wanderings

For Thanksgiving we took a trip to Minnesota to visit family.  There was some fresh snow on the ground so I walked out to the woods, but the birds were too elusive that morning, so I took some tree pictures.

Garden 11 29 14 057

Two grand trees.  Red Wing, Minnesota.  In the background you can see the snow on top of Barn Bluff.

Garden 11 29 14 063

Here you can see Barn Bluff again under another weathered tree, with a nice evergreen tree in the background.

Garden 11 29 14 061

The structure of this tree is silhouetted in snow.

Garden 11 29 14 076

Red (pine) squirrel.   These squirrels are about half the size of gray squirrels and this one was chattering quite loudly at me.

Garden 11 29 14 080

I managed to get one, not so great, nuthatch picture.  This past week I saw a nuthatch in our yard at home, too.

Garden 11 29 14 083

As we drove home I was trying to take some pictures through the car window.  The Mississippi river was mostly frozen and had a very geometric design on the snow and ice.

Garden 11 29 14 091

Across the road from the Mississippi river were the bluffs.  Highway 61 is a beautiful drive.

Garden 11 29 14 096

A few hay bales in the snow.  It was nice to be in the country for a little bit.

Garden 11 29 14 100

Wisconsin farm and corn field.

Garden 11 29 14 008

Back in our yard…  I caught the chickadee working on getting a little crabapple this week.

Garden 11 29 14 012

There seem to be at least two cats in the neighborhood this year.  Since we seem to have an over-abundance of sparrows this year, maybe it is not such a bad thing…  As long as they aren’t getting the native birds!

Winter:  Winter seemed to come early this year.  We have had many days below freezing already.  Today we got up over 50 degrees, though, so the snow is gone.  The compost pile is steaming hot.  We still eat a little kale from the yard.  But now it is time to relax, get cozy, ready some good books, and of course, shovel some snow!

Asters, Nasturtiums, and a Rabbit Chase

My New England purple dome asters are hiding partially behind the viburnum bushes.  That helps hide the leggy stems this time of year, but the bright colors can be seen across the yard.

Garden 09 28 14 054

New England purple dome asters and solidago rugosa ‘fireworks’ goldenrod.  This is a color combination I like and have used it here and there in the garden.

Garden 09 28 14 118

Bee on New England purple dome aster.    I love the bee’s wings.  The bees and flies definitely prefer the goldenrod today, but they are starting to come over to the asters as the orange centers start opening up.

Garden 09 28 14 108

The nasturtiums have been growing slowly over the summer, but the dry autumn days seem to have brought out the best.  I love the intricate centers of these flowers.

Garden 09 28 14 091

I also love the beautiful foliage of the nasturtiums, which is wet here with the morning dew.

Garden 09 28 14 102

Yellow nasturtiums.  The jewel mix has orange, red, and yellow nasturtiums in a mix, though they were not close enough together to get a good effect of that this year.

Garden 09 28 14 087

This is my favorite color, but the red nasturtiums have been fighting with the wax beans all summer in a mostly losing battle.

We are still enjoying the beans, so that is good!

Garden 09 28 14 021

About three weeks ago I notice a small bunny in the yard.  It somehow got through our “rabbit proof” fence and did not seem to be leaving.  Yesterday as I was eating my lunch on the patio, the rabbit, which had grown quickly, was munching his own lunch just a few feet away, with little fear of me.  Dan, Phil, and I opened all the gates in the yard, each grabbed a mop pole and spent about ten minutes trying to get the rabbit to go out a gate.  It eventually ran out into the easement and we closed the gates.  We learned a new meaning for “beating around the bush.”  It was pretty comical and adventurous for us, though probably terrifying for the rabbit.  I am sure the rabbit will now be able to meet other neighborhood rabbits and will find many other places to nibble.

Garden 09 28 14 038

At first when the rabbit showed up I thought, “what harm can one rabbit do with all the mature plants I have?”  I forgot about my new lettuce plants, which the rabbit quickly chewed down.  I hope he left some nice droppings to fertilize the yard!

Garden 09 28 14 085

Last year I planted a winter garden and covered it with a hoop.  The kale plants that made it through the snowy winter are big now and we are eating the kale every day.  The leaves are small and tender, as they are on multi-stemmed plants.  We just keep cutting back the yellow flowers.  When the lettuce died with the heat we planted wax beans and finally a cantaloupe in this bed.  I don’t have the energy to dig up another bed for another winter garden so we will just keep eating this kale until the snow falls.  Maybe we can cover it with the plastic hoop and keep eating it.

Garden 09 28 14 050

We just ate this small, yummy cantaloupe for breakfast the other morning.  A few smaller melons are ripening yet.