Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Delicata Harvest

The squirrels can be seen stashing away anything they can carry (I'm starting to think it will be a cold winter). Guess I am too. The freezer is full of summer harvests, now I have delicata squash and pumpkins in the garage.

This is my first year to grow delicata squash. It's said to have a sweet nutty flavor with hints of brown sugar and butter. Can't beat that in a squash! It also was quite a happy grower. I only have cooked one and that was an early one that broke off the plant. I think it wasn't quite ready to be eaten, though. I'll report back on these soon.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Progressive Sprouts

You have to admit, Brussels sprouts are a nice touch in the garden this time of year. Can't beat the name either: Bubbles! This is the first time to grow them and I don't really know how much I'll like them. I suspect, though, they'll be quite appealing in December & January. The plants in this group are actually about two feet apart, but they are filling that space fast. The leaves are getting munched on by something, but so far, I think there is enough to share.

The seedlings got their start back in August.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Sunny Cloche

So far so good. The cloche is still avoiding the barn shadow. In another month or so, it will catch some afternoon shade, I'm sure. For now, it catches the sun. The nice day today allowed me to remove the monster size, now frost blackened, tomato vines and do some other clean up.
Inside the cloche. The lettuce, chard and parsley seem to be settling in. The chives look pretty sad, but that's because of not so much care in transplanting them. I figure they'll pull through. I had simply dug up a big clump, chopped back the leaves, divided and plunked them in the ground. Scroll down to see the earlier postings this month about building this cloche, if you like.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Frosty Patch

By the light of the moon on Thursday night, I carried all of my remaining pumpkins into the garage... except the two youngsters that still needed a little more time on the vine. Just in time too. The clear sky full of stars (while the moon was low enough) was also a frost warning. The pumpkin, tomato and zucchini vines are all just a memory now. Time for pumpkin pie.

See this post for the frosty pictures last year. This year, I only captured the aftermath.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Seed Money Waiting for You?

So let's talk about Unclaimed Property / Abandoned Property / Escheat. Or could it be serious seed money? If you've been visiting now and then, you might know I work with taxes, etc. Unclaimed property is one of etc.'s.

This is that paycheck, deposit, refund or other check (or 15 paychecks) that you might have forgotten to cash (??). US businesses have to turn these funds over to the states where they keep them safe until the owners show up. And there might be something for you! Go to this NAUPA site where you can use the Missing Money website or go directly to various states. Search broadly see what you can find!

Oh yes, don't forget inactive bank accounts, dividend checks, stock shares, bonds and forgotten safety deposit boxes (but your goodies may have been sold and you are left with the proceeds).

Property usually goes to the state of last known address the business had for you, but if the address is unknown, then it probably went to the company's state of incorporation. So, search broadly! Maybe you moved around, maybe your address was entered wrong, maybe records were lost, etc. Again, search broadly.

I've seen some hefty checks go off to the states even after trying to locate the owner. Sure, many of them are quite small, but why not do some searching. And if you have any questions about this post or what you find, send me an e-mail. Who knows, you might have those spring seeds covered, and more!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Lasting Lavender

This has been the year of the lavender. Various plants started blooming back in June (see this photo with links from our lavender farm visits last year also) and most kept some blooms going all summer. This photo, above, is from Oct. 13. I did trim flowers from the plants a lot this year. I think it was the cooler summer weather, though. Whatever it was, I hope it happens again.

I am happy to report that the Munstead lavender plants I started from seed last year bloomed a lot this year. Someone gave me the seeds. Otherwise I wouldn't have thought to try lavender from seed.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Covered Wagon Cloche Part II

It's covered! I was spending too much time and energy looking for the best answer so I went back to the hardware store "saddles." Thanks to the input from commentors, I even tried making my own clips out of extra tubing, but couldn't get it to go over the cloche tubing. Big metal binder clips were a great idea too (so many uses) but they wanted to slide right off because of the plastic.
See how the saddles have ridges to hold them on, as well as the nice thumb spot for holding or removing them. I had also found an assortment of the bright clips, below. There are only 4 that will stay on the tubing, though. The others were too small. I'm using these 4 clips in the place that I'll open regularly. They are the easiest to remove.
The smaller clips work well to hold open or hold closed the ends of the cloche.
Lettuce, chard, chives, and two flowers are in there to see how they'll do.

Of course, we had quite a wind storm yesterday while I was gone. No movement to the structure but the plastic had blown around and some clips had come off. In the dark last night, I found enough to put the plastic back on. Tomorrow, I'll see how the plants held up.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

October Garden Color

I noticed a definite October color theme in the garden today. I miss the popping pink cosmos I had last year, but I'm glad to still have these bloomers going this year. This is one of the Tip Top Alaska Nasturtiums. You can see a little of the variegated foliage also.
The trees are started to get their autumn colors too. The garden looks empty since the big bean climber is down. You can barely see the black tubing of the 'covered wagon cloche' on the far end of the garden. Tomorrow, it gets its plastic covering.
The Lemon Boy tomatoes are holding out the best now. The rains some weeks ago have really made the Sungold tomatoes split. The larger tomatoes are not ripening
And Anita's calendula are really adding a bright spot - in both yellow and orange. In Sept., I had trimmed off the old blooms and it seems to have encouraged them to keep going. I've also been scattering around the seedhead and we'll see where all they show up next year.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Smell the Pie?

No, I haven't been able to cut it yet. A little time to age will make it all the better. This is one of the Rouge vif d'Etampes pumpkins. Six have been harvested (some shared around already) and others are still on the vine working on their rougeness. It will be interesting to see the amount of pumpkin that comes from it. It's quite heavy as DH pointed out for every second it took for the photo.

My neighbor gave me seeds and Anita sent me seeds from her Easter drawing. Both are growing but I cannot tell them apart any more. Quite different than my Snackjack harvest last year (I only have 2 of them this year and they are still green). Click on the "pumpkin" label below to see more pumpkin postings. This RvdE has grown quite happily for us this year. I hope it cooks nicely, too, so I can keep growing it.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Covered Wagon Cloche

Remember my tunnel cloche dreams post? Between and during the rain showers this weekend, we gave it a try. I think it has more of a covered wagon look, especially before we added the ridge board. It is 8 feet long by 4 feet wide. We had the wood already and just had to pick up the piping and plastic covering. We also prepared the parts for a 2nd one which would fit in this row too. (note that the bean structure had to come down to make room for this)

In trying to convince the piping it should be more of a U shape than C or O shape, I did stick short pieces of rebar in the ends. Right now, the ends stick through the holes in the wood and into the soil a few inches, but they could be pushed in further as needed. Otherwise, it can be free standing.

Tonight, I leveled the soil, settled the wagon in place and transplanted lettuce, chard and chives. It is supposed to rain tomorrow. Next, I'll attempt the plastic covering. Any great clip ideas to hold the plastic in place? So far, I've seen workable options for a $1 a clip. The cheap ones I found were too small.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Sunny Excursion Part II

Melanie (visit her at Bean Sprouts) commented on how unreal those photos from the last post looked. Melanie, I'm there with you. I look out my home window to see 100 shades of green, shinny from the misty rain. An airport with open air "hallways"? Palm Springs / Indian Wells did feel a little like Mars. Then my colleague suggested we take the Aerial Tramway before our conference started and I saw how much the climate could change in only a 10 minute tram ride. Course, it helps when the tram goes from a 2,643 foot elevation to 8,516 feet! From the desert valley to the cool crisp air scented with mountain trees and shrubs of the San Jacinto Mountains.
Once there, visitors can head off on extensive hiking excursions or, with limited time like us, a short loop trail and a break from the heat below. The Pacific Crest Trail goes though the area here somewhere. This trail runs 2,650 miles from Mexico to Canada, through CA, OR and WA. That would have been the long & hard way to get home.
The light colored stone outcroppings (granite I think) were everywhere. They were noticeable because of the consistent color of the stones. The photo captured the blue sky. Too bad I couldn't bring back some of the woodland aroma to go with it.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Sunny Excursion

Yes, I've been away. What I didn't take a photo of, though, was the 650 fellow tax folks I spent most of my time with in Indian Wells, California. I did want to post these sunny photos to contrast with the view out my window here at home and to remember to go back to this place some day.
By the time I tried to make reservations, the huge conference hotel was full so I ended up at the Miramonte across the street. It has around 250 rooms located in a number of buildings across the property. There are walkways and gardens between the buildings. A nice spa too, but no time for that (where were my priorities, I'm sure you are wondering).
It also had many sitting areas throughout. I did get in a little sitting to absorb some warmth prior to the beginning of the conference. It wasn't all tax talk though. There is always a chance to work in vegetables and gardening and it wasn't long before I had shared my blog address!