Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Stop Press!


Twenty years ago, I saw my first hellebore or Lenten rose. I was smitten but, alas, didn't have a garden. Actually, I was still wrangling with the idea of what a perennial was (I was just a poor, simple, California girl, after all - used to the tradition of gardens filled with annuals... ;-) ) Anyway, hellebore aren't easy to find in most nurseries in the US and, then, they're a bit pricey. Finally, the time was ripe and, this spring, I discovered them tucked away in the corner of this nursery - Hemingway Farms. Into the newly dug corner of my garden two plants went, this past July, along with foxglove and columbine - both of which bloomed sweetly for me, this past September and October.

Seasonally, Hemingway Farms looks like a small but charming produce and flower stand from the road but, when one explores further down the path behind, there is a beautiful hillside garden (resplendent in the summer), swaths of hard to find perennials, greenhouses overflowing with particularly pretty annuals and beyond that, fields where they grow their own produce and keep their own bees, etc.

It is a lovingly tended venture and a place that I absolutely love to visit. Not only that, but the girls who work there are as sweet and kind and lovely as can be. It's a joy all around and I thought that it would be fun to share it with you, dressed in its autumnal colors!

Oh! ...and, look what I found blooming in my garden, this past week!

My very first....



P.S. My heart and my prayers go out to those who were effected by hurricane Sandy (not forgetting Cuba!) - it just has to be said! We were fine, here. It was only a blustery night.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

It isn't autumn till...???

There is so much happening outside these days. It seems to change hourly and, every day, I've been having to adjust the blog post that's been forming in my mind. At this point, I can't keep up - Autumn is in full swing and is unbelievably beautiful! So, if you don't mind.... ;-) I'd love to share a bit of what I saw this past week, as the season shifted from summer into fall.

The wild aster has been prolific, this year - making for beautiful and wispy swaths in the hedgerows outside and pretty bouquets inside.

It's just so hard to believe that it was only a week ago that we hayed our field. Usually, this is a summer occupation and is done on the most brutally hot days of August but, this year, it was quite late. Perhaps, this is part of the reason that, only a week ago, it still felt like summer - although you can see that the woods had started tinging yellow.

On the morning that the picture of the haying was taken, we looked out the window to see the first frost - white on the winnowed rows of cut grass.  Happily, though, it wasn't down in the garden or around the house. Usually, the full moon brings a frost but, this time, it was cloudy and raining - hiding the harvest moon from us and keeping the frost at bay. So, we still have tomatoes and herbs growing and the flowers are still spluttering along.

...and, 'mom' and 'great grandma' (aka, Tom's mom and his grandmother), up the hill, 'next door' - who are bird feeders extraordinaire - have, now, surpassed themselves. They've welcomed Canada Geese, hummingbirds, ducks, deer and all manner of songbirds who all make pilgrimages to these generous women but....

Every morning, since August, a flock of about sixteen or seventeen turkeys has made its way across our field to go and have breakfast at mom's feeders. Even though we see them all the time - way off in the fields -  these crafty birds are extremely suspicious and it's hard to get even this near. (Unless, of course, you come upon a whole, long, non-stop row of them crossing the road. Then, one just has to settle in and enjoy the comic show of one after the other popping out of the bushes.) It's just simply very fun to see them this closely every morning - they've become part of our morning routine! Then, to top it all off, there is one turkey who loves to come down and peer at the dogs through the fence!!! It's the funniest thing!

The three daffy noodles...

...and, one last thing...

I think that another reason that it still seemed like summer a week ago is because of the drought. Even though the weather had been chilly... without those September rains, it doesn't feel like the season has broken or changed. But, happily, Tom (fearless leader) took the scout troop camping and sure as sure can be - when the scouts go camping - we get rain! (Honestly!!! They could have saved my garden a hundred times over if they had just gotten out a few more times, this year!)

You think I'm joking, don't you!?! HA!

So, Tom and Lliam and David went off to camp overnight and it poured rain and I felt that this called for a heart (and bone) warming casserole to come back to. (Avert your eyes if you're a vegetarian because...) I made a Connecticut-style Cassoulet - made with pork, smoked sausage and chicken. It's just one of those extremely fun and homey things to cook. It takes all day and I just love the simmering pot of ribs, herbs and beans.

My dining room table is still temporarily taken over with my latest photographic venture - selling prints; so, we cozied into the warm kitchen - my parents had just arrived from California for their annual, three week, autumnal visit and we tucked in to the cheery meal while the rain still came down in buckets outside....

(The bouquet from the night before - picked from my vegetable and herb boxes - glowing on the windowsill....)

...and, for the most part, it's raining still....

Cozy autumn is upon us!!!