🍂🍁🍂🍁 Happy Autumn! 🍁🍂🍁🍂
Last year in July, Kevin bought me a set of Autumn Tomte Nisse (Scandinavian aka. Swedish Gnomes). I was so excited and could barely wait for Autumn. I remembered that I wanted to do some photo shoots with these little guys. Here are the results of the first shooting. I hope you enjoy the photos as much as I do. Either way, I had a lot of fun with Sven, Christopher, and Gunnar. Yes, I picked some Swedish names for my gnomes as well. 😉
This rainy weather is so refreshing. We had a high of 64℉ (13℃), today. I opened our bedroom window, washed the sheets, and did more laundry while I had some beef cooking in the slow cooker. This is perfect house chore weather. It has been steadily raining since late yesterday afternoon. and we still expect more rain overnight. Nature keeps soaking it all up. As you can see in the photos, the leaves are still green. But it won’t take too long anymore before the trees wear their crimson and golden dresses again.
National Hummingbird Day is celebrated on the first Saturday in September every year. Some communities celebrate this day with activities that include educational programs, hummingbird viewings, and field trips. Hummingbirds share the raising of the chicks and males live a lot shorter because they use so much energy in defending their nests. They use a lot of energy in flying and need to rest every 15 minutes, so we must make our gardens hummingbird friendly.
Happy National Hummingbird Day!
This morning we had cool temperatures in the low 50s (11℃). The greenhouse door and windows are open. But the plants are still protected from the cooler wind. Everything begins to produce after the warm summer temperatures in August. It’s nice to visit the greenhouse and snack on some cherry tomatoes, while we wait for the beefsteak tomatoes to grow and ripen. This morning, I snacked on a bush bean as well. Hmmm! Homegrown food fresh from the vines is so tasty.
August is almost over; Sara is ready to go back to school. Summer is coming to an end, and it is time to get prepared for Autumn. The garden needs to be prepared for the Autumn/Winter season. A lot of crops love the cooler days, like cabbages and carrots. That’s also a good time for weeding the garden, since the mornings are not so warm anymore. Soon, the migrating birds and insects will visit the yard. It will be good for them to have a welcoming place where they can rest, before they have to move on to travel south. In the meantime, I’m sitting outside with a cool drink in my hand and enjoying the last days of Summer.
I love going outside when nature is covered in heavy morning dew. While Kevin did his morning walk, I captured some photos in our yard. So many beautiful dew droplets were hanging off these berries and leaves. When Kevin came home, he said he saw a doe with her fawns, and several rabbits out there. The dew will hydrate them. Maybe they will leave our neighbor’s tomatoes alone. Well, there is hope. The squirrels and chipmunks are quite sneaky. 🍅🐿
Signs of Autumn 2022
1 & 2) Zucchini; 3) Golden Sun Tomato Blossom; 4) Foxtail Glass;
5) Button, the Redfemured Spotted Orbweaver; 6) Red Mandevilla
1) Juvenile American Robin; 2) Red-bellied Woodpecker;
3) Eastern Gray Squirrel
This afternoon, we finally got the welcome rain we needed so desperately. And we still could use more rain in New England. We had a nice thunderstorm. Once the sun came back out, I could see the rainbow in the distance. The drought took a toll on the trees. There is a chance, we might get an early Autumn display this year. Some of the trees and vines have changed their colors significantly over the last couple of weeks. Hopefully, not all leaves will turn in September. It would be nice to have an Indian Summer throughout October.
Last week, I fertilized my greenhouse garden with fish emulsion. And the garden shows, it gets some TLC. The banana peppers, bush beans, squashes, and zucchini grow fruits. Our Foxtail grass and “Red Fox” coleus plants grew big and bloom nicely. We had several blossoms on our eggplant. But they fell off too early to form a fruit. Now that it is cooling down, I hope I have more luck with the plant. I also made another friend. Harvey, the Harvestman spider, moved into our greenhouse. However, since Harvey moved in, Button is MIA. Hmmm?! 🤔🤨
🌻 Happy Summer Gardening! 🌻
This morning was different than yesterday. Instead of a fiery sunrise, we had a foggy morning.
This year, we have a severe drought in Connecticut. Not enough rain has fallen this Summer. And it shows. Our birch tree, the sumac bushes, and the Virginia creeper vines change colors. Birds have picked most of the pokeweed berries. Only very few jewelweed blossoms are in nice bloom. Hopefully, we will get more rain in September. The flora and fauna need it.
1) Golden Sun Tomato Blossom; 2) Squash;
3) Italian Striped Zucchini; 4) Buddha
1) Clouds & Rays; 2) Button; 3) Chewbacca; 4) Rose of Sharon
1) Yellow Squash & Zucchini; 2) “Red Fox” Coleus; 3) Thai Basil;
4) Beef Steak Tomatoes; 5) Bush Bean; 6) Eggplant
Two years ago, Ozzy came out to join Chewbacca in the backyard in Texas. Once he was tired of pouncing to catch bugs, he enjoyed a stroll through the raised bed garden. He had a lot of fun playing “Hide and Seek” with Chewbacca. Ozzy played garden inspector next. The pumpkin leaves make nice umbrellas for shade; the potatoes and tomatoes show another set of nice leaves to hide behind them. And the bird feeder is refilled for the delicious “food” to show up in the garden. Everything is perfect for a young cat to explore the yard. When Ozzy decided to sneak over into the neighbor’s yard, the exploration was over. He had to go back inside. Exploration makes a cat very hungry. It was dinner and then nap time for our little “Meatball”. Ozzy loves meatballs and he looked like one.
This afternoon we had a nice thunderstorm coming through the Naugatuck River Valley. It cooled the air for a little bit. Therefore, it was comfortable sitting inside the greenhouse and listening to the raindrops hitting the roof. Button, my little greenhouse spider, seemed to like the break from the heat as well. She was hanging in there 😁. Now that the sun is back, it seems like nothing ever happened. And it is muggy, again.
Our dragonfly light turns on as soon as the Sun sets;
Beautiful green to blue colors from one and the same dragonfly light.
While photographing a few plants in my yard, a black animal crossed my path. Is this Bruno, the Black Bear everyone is talking about in our neighborhood? Okay, when I looked again, I noticed, we have a black cat in our yard. This was not my first encounter with this cat. My neighbor tried to get that cat out of his yard to dig holes and take a crap in his garden. At first, I thought it was Trixie, he tried to shoo her out of his yard. The second time I saw that cat, I knew it wasn’t Trixie. Chewbacca and him/her got into a fight. And this was the third time he chased a hummingbird across the yard. Naughty cat! Maybe I need to put a spell on him/her. I went back to capture photos of the yard, once the cat was out of sight.
I love my garden poppies!
White-tailed Deer have long, slender legs, prominent ears, and large liquid brown eyes set off against thick white eye rings. Whitetails have a shiny black nose contrasting with a whitish nose band. The chin is white and edged on either side with a wide band of dark hair. The throat area is also white or grayish.
The deer’s prominent ears are edged in a dark color contrasting with white hair on the inside. The ears are often in motion; they can swivel independently of each other to capture sound from multiple directions and pinpoint the sound’s exact location.
The deer’s underparts, including its belly and the inner portions of its upper legs, are white. The rump and underside of the tail are also white. When alarmed, the deer flashes its tail, and the white hairs on its rump flare out, giving rise to the name “white-tail.”
Yesterday morning, I checked the plants in the greenhouse. After I added some fish emulsion to the watering can a couple of weeks ago, everything looked great and green, yesterday. The tomato, basil, and zucchini plants grew much bigger. My eggplant fruit didn’t grow much. But it has two more blossoms. Hopefully, our sunflowers will take off soon. They would provide some shade for me to sit in the greenhouse in the afternoons.
This morning, when I woke up it was raining. Once, it dawned the rain moved out, and the fog rolled in. But the fog was only short-lived. I’m glad we are getting a break from the 80/90 degrees weather. Today, the high is supposed to be 75℉ (24℃). It’s humid, but it is bearable.
The vine tomatoes and peppers begin to ripen in the greenhouse. And the seedlings emerge from the soil. So far, I have borage, bush beans, cucumbers, and sunflowers as seedlings. I believe that once it is a little bit cooler, some more plants will pop out of the raised beds. Due to last night’s rain, it was cooler today. This might help with seed germination. I also have a greenhouse helper: Button, the spider. She makes sure our plants stay bug-free. I haven’t seen Karmo (toad) in a while. He’s probably camouflaged or hiding in the soil.
🦋 🦋 🦋
1) Tiger Swallowtail; 2) Gallium Sphinx; 3) Common Whitetail Skimmer
1) Red Bell Pepper; 2) Bush Beans; 3) Sunflower; 4) Banana Pepper;
5) Cherry Tomato; 6) Yellow Summer Squash; 7) Firecracker Plant
This evening, Kevin and I worked on the other two raised beds in the greenhouse. After I positioned the cinder blocks in place, we filled in the beds with wood branches and dirt. Now, we let the soil set for a couple of days, before I begin to plant and sow more vegetables and some flowers in these raised beds. There is still so much Summer left in Connecticut. Time to make use of it.
Last week, I ordered more seeds from Botanical Interests for my greenhouse garden. And today, the package has arrived. The company always puts so much L.O.V.E. in its packages. Since it is only mid-July, there can still be so much done in a New England garden. Some of these plants can handle low temperatures, once they have established their roots in the ground. In the meantime, I want to enjoy some yellow, orange, and red colors inside the greenhouse in Autumn.
We have some growth in the greenhouse. The sun-gold tomatoes begin to ripen, the celery has recovered from the Black Swallowtail caterpillars, there are more bell peppers, and the bush beans sprouted in the raised bed soil. My Buddha statue was weathered and cracked. The top piece fractured just the right way so that I could place the face and portion of the upper body in the soil.
1) Pokeweed; 2) Wild Blackberries; 3) Bittersweet Nightshade; 4) Hosta
In these photos are some of my plants: eggplant, Golden Sun tomatoes, McIntosh apple, and Mandevilla blossom. Today I’ve also been sowing borage, Bush beans, Italian Flat parsley, marigolds, Mesclun lettuce, Purple Hull Peas, and sunflowers for companion planting; Common Buckwheat and Crimson Clover for improving the soil with nitrogen and attracting beneficial insects.
1) Oriental Beetle (Anomala orientalis); 2) Forage Looper (Caenurgina erechtea); 3) Eastern Carpenter Bee; 4) Northern Paper Wasp;
5) Common Green Bottle Fly; 6) Oriental Beetle (Anomala orientalis);
7) Eastern Carpenter Bee
IT’S DONE! We finally finished building the greenhouse. Kevin had only to install the brackets, the doors, and some small pieces to keep the greenhouse sturdy and protect it from future storms. It looks great. Now, I can work on the rest of the raised beds and do some planting for the Summer/Autumn Season. There is still so much time left and the growing season can be extended before it will get really cold again. YAY! I’m so excited!
Our plants celebrate the 4th of July in the greenhouse. The fireworks I have had for several weeks, now. Yesterday, I added the patriotic gnome to the decoration. They make a nice display with the natural green around them.
1) Pumpkin Blossom; 2) Black Raspberries; 3) Morning Raindrops;
4) Pokeweed Raindrops; 5) Black Swallowtail Caterpillars; 6) Eastern Carpenter Bee pollinates Motherwort Blossoms; 7) Gooseneck Loosestrife; 8) Turkeytail Mushrooms; 9) Honeysuckle Berries
Usually, when I go into the bathroom I always peek out the window in the morning. This is the time, when wildlife is very active on our property. I looked around the backyard. And sure enough, I saw the rearend of a White-tailed Deer. I put my shoes on, grabbed my camera and tried to be as quiet as possible walking out the patio door. When I looked at the spot, the deer was gone. Then I turned right and saw her standing in the fern eating tree and shrub leaves. I’ve couldn’t got a better surrounding as a picture frame with her. The doe kept eating breakfast for another couple of minutes, before she had enough and jumped back towards the forest. But first, she turned around to say “goodbye” for the day. Isn’t she beautiful?
Sara and I are so excited, we are raising our first set of Black Swallowtail caterpillars in the greenhouse. First, we had the dill in small pots outside. Then we saw five caterpillars on the plants and decided to plant the dill, where the birds have it harder to get to them. Right now, the Black Swallowtails are still small. But when they are nice, big and juicy, they are fair game for cardinals, jays, robins, … etc. to feed their offspring. Soon, we have to get some netting for the caterpillars. Once they become chrysalis, we can relax again. When they emerge from the chrysalis, Sara and I will name and release them with best wishes into the wild.
Our banana peppers, bell peppers, basil, celery, eggplant, lavender and tomato plants are doing very well. Our eggplant has shown a lot of growth in the last few days. Sara found Karmo, the toad, in the greenhouse again. He loves his daily intake of bugs. I mentioned to Sara, we need to build him a toad house where he can hide from the warm sun during the day. Right now, he stays cool by burring himself into the moist soil and comes back out in the evening hours. I’m glad we have finally built the greenhouse. It grows amazing food and attracts beautiful wildlife.
Common Bugleweed (Ajuga reptans)
Well, with owning a house, there are also lots of responsibilities to keep a house in shape, so it won’t fall apart over time. We bought our house in 2005. At that time, it was already 27 years old. It was maintained okay by the pre-owner. But it had signs of age. In 2009, we exchanged the older windows for newer, more energy-efficient windows. And in 2011, we fixed the foundation at one corner of our house, what you can see here. The workers dug up holes under the house, so they can push these 10″ pillars into the ground all the way until they hit bed rock. Once the pillars are in place, they use a concrete stone, which can sit on the pillars. When the space between the house and the concrete rocks starting to get tight, they place metal plates in to keep the foundation of the house straight. And this went all down with men power and a small compressor. Since Texas has lots of clay soil, and it shrinks and expends due to drought and rain, house foundations can be in trouble in a short period of time. We also have to remember, many moons ago, this area was all ocean, before it became prairie land.
This is a nice rain relief; we have been getting it since last night. The temperatures have been much cooler for the last couple of days. We turned off the air conditioner and opened the windows. This is a nice little break, before the Summer’s heat turns on again. The weather is supposed to be in the upper 70s to mid 80s (25℃ – 30℃) for the rest of the week.
This evening, I walked in my yard and something jumped on my pant leg. First, I thought, a toad must have mixed me up with a tree again. But by closer inspection I saw a Wood Frog in the grass. He sat there very quietly for me to capture a photo of him. But when I tried to catch him, he leaped right under the Hosta leaves and was out of sight. His name is Bubba, and he is a good tenant catching mosquitoes.
My neighbor, Lisa, always gives me these beautiful plants for my garden. Lisa works for a garden nursery. And once the season is over, she gets all the plants she chooses for free. They usually still last throughout the whole Summer into early Autumn. Who knows? I might be able to extend the season all the way until the first freeze, in the greenhouse. So far, our tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, herbs and flowers do well. It’s not too hot for them. Sara can’t wait for me getting more raised beds and plants into the greenhouse. She enjoys hanging out there. Especially, when it rains, she still can sit in the greenhouse and watch the raindrops hitting the roof while she plays with toads. And our cats would be in ‘heaven’.
This week, Kevin and Christian (Katelynn’s boyfriend) worked on the greenhouse. The roof still needed to be done. And it was a perfect time to have a man-to-man talk with each other. Both also installed my windows. Now, all what is left are more reinforcement beams and the door. The door I properly can build and install myself. And when Kevin is back from Dallas, he can help me with those beams. The tomatoes and peppers are very happy so far.
This morning I planted my bell peppers, banana peppers, beef steak tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, sun gold tomatoes, basil, and eggplant in the greenhouse raised bed. Some peppers and eggplant show some fruit on their vines. With the rest, we still have to wait a little bit longer. I’m so excited, I’m growing my first garden in New England.
While Kevin and I are still working on the roof frame, I began to build one raised bed in the greenhouse this afternoon. I built the cinderblock wall, so I could fill it with soil and start planting. First, I made sure we had barriers against the wooden frame, so the soil cannot seep out when it is wet. Next, I used fire wood, small branches, our old Christmas tree needles and some leaves, I still found in the yard from last Autumn. And then I filled the bed with
- 5 bags of raised bed soil
- 5 bags of all-purpose sand
- 2 bags of cow manure
- 20 bags of topsoil
Now, I let it saddle overnight. And tomorrow, I’ll begin to plant some peppers and tomatoes in the morning. We are supposed to have a rain storm tomorrow evening. This will be a good time to get those plants nicely watered.
Today, Kevin and I worked on the upper level a little bit on the roof frame of the greenhouse. While Kevin installed the frames, I got all the smaller and detailed work done to prepare the framework going up in its place. Tons of screws and bolds had to be untightened in the framework and crossbeams had to be connected on the ground first to make it easier for installment.
While Kevin and I spent most of the day outside, we had the chance to see three Lockheed C-130 Hercules military transport aircraft flying over our property. If you are familiar with the Navy Blue Angels airplanes, the “Fat Albert” is also in the C-130 family. It was very cool to see this flyby.
Today, Kevin and I got some work done with the greenhouse. Now, the lower frame is installed and the panels are slid in place. There were so many screws for putting the frame together. Our backs began to hurt and we had to call it a day. But I’m glad we’ve got it this far. The next level had to be done with a ladder. The greenhouse is very tall.
Since the early morning hours, we have had rainstorms passing through Connecticut. Due to the rain, the air feels so refreshing. It is cleaner from all these pollens flying around, which are causing us to have seasonal allergies. Here in New England our allergies are not as bad as in Texas. But we still get them. Mostly our throats are itching. Today, we can walk outside without any symptoms. It is nice having a break. I used this opportunity to capture photos of the rain on our back porch. And I filled a couple of milk containers with rain water from the gutter. At some point, we need to get one of those rain water barrels. we had in Texas. Fresh rain water for the garden and greenhouse is still the best.
Pink Evening Primrose (Oenothera speciosa)
Kevin and I reinforced the wood frame, because the outer frame was too big. And I didn’t want to chop the original frame up. Once the wood frame was done, I built the aluminum bottom frame. We secured it with screwing it into the wood frame. Hopefully, this will prevent the greenhouse from falling over in high winds. Now, all the little detailed work has to be done, before I can build the outer upward frames, so I can slide the polycarbonate panels into place. Yep, this will take some time to get it all done.
1) Nessus Sphinx on Pink Rhododendron; 2) Dewberry Blossoms;
3) Dame’s Violet (purple); 4) Daisy Fleabane; 5) Carpenter Bee on
White Clover; 6) Dame’s Violet (white)
Every day, there is more color in our yard. Over the last weekend, the pink Rhododendron’s buds began to open up and started to blossom. Once the whole bushes are in full bloom their green leaves can barely be seen anymore. There will be pink half globes all over the shrubs.
Amaryllis ‘Clown’ is the other plant my neighbor gave me several weeks ago. Today, the Amaryllis is finally in bloom. It took almost three weeks longer than the ‘Apple Blossom’. The heat in the sunroom seems to help. We’ve reached triple-digits there. As long as I keep the plants out of extreme sunlight, they are thriving.
This morning we went to Home Depot early to get our materials before it would get too warm to work on the greenhouse. After I worked on paving the floor this whole last week, I filled the space with sand. Kevin helped me screwing the wooden frame together. The frame will be great for higher raised beds and it keeps the aluminum frame of the greenhouse sturdier. Later, we will add stairs by the front doors to have easier access inside the greenhouse. Now, we just have to wait for the temperatures to cool off, before I can get more work done.
Chewbacca always comes running, when I call him while I work on a garden project. He has to make sure I’m doing everything right. In the meantime, he eats some grass and pukes on the ground. Lovely! When I’m fast enough, I can move him away from the greenhouse flooring, before he leaves me a present on the pavers. The joy of having cats as pets. But I wouldn’t want it any other way. I would rather have him gagging in the yard than in the house. Once he feels better, he makes sure I lay out the bricks in a square.
World Bee Day is celebrated on May 20 each year. The purpose of the international day is to acknowledge the role of bees and other pollinators for the ecosystem. Every year on this day, the global public will focus on the importance of preserving honey bees and all other pollinators. People will be reminded of the significance of bees in providing for the needs of humanity.
It began to rain in the early morning. And the rain lasted until the late morning hours. While I captured photos of droplets, a Northern Cardinal fledgling got confused and almost landed on me. Once it figured out, I wasn’t mommy or daddy it made a sharp turn and sat on the porch railing.
Today, it was a cool day. However, this weekend we are supposed to get temperatures in the mid-90s (35℃). It will feel just like Texas, before the weather cools down to the 70s on Monday.
The greenhouse was ordered and picked up, the materials for the greenhouse floor were ordered and delivered. And I have my vision put on paper. All I need is to focus and some elbow grease to turn this idea into a nice little garden oasis. The first mission will be the base to build that floor. This will be a backbreaking project. Let’s see how everything will turn out. I’ll keep y’all updated on this project.
I’ve got some work done with the flooring for the greenhouse. After I measured everything out, I put the stakes in place and span a rope around the perimeter. Once I had the edging installed, Kevin and I dumped a gravel mix on the ground. Then we covered it with landscape fabric. Now, we have bricks on the fabric temporarily.
Since the weather is beautiful, and I recovered from my surgeries I had last Winter, it is time to work on my project where I left off last Autumn. Last weekend, I’ve spread out the leveling sand and started to work on the brick floor. While Kevin transported the bricks from the pallet to the spot where I wanted the greenhouse to be, I laid them out on the ground. Every other day, I work on the greenhouse floor, so I can get to the next step: Building a frame on the bottom of the greenhouse to get more raised bed space and prevent it from flying away in the high wind gusts. The bricks are not set perfectly. But in most areas, I’ll have raised beds anyway.
… to be continued …