Category Archives: Furred and feathered friends

Frosty garden limbo

Freezing fog has kept the area chilly, with few sun breaks, sometimes only an hour before dusk.  Still, it is easier maneuvering through the garden than in pouring rain.  It appears the kale survived the earlier arctic wave without protection…hooray!  Not that it is actually doing anything except sitting in limbo.  The soil temperature (at 3-inch depth) is still hovering between 38 and 40°.  Brrrr…

Christmas has brought us a lovely break in this monotony, with the sun breaking through by mid-morning; nippy day, with only 7 degrees difference between the high and low temperatures, but the radiance was welcomed by many.

A circus of birds paraded through the yard at times: a swarm of bushtits, a couple of goldfinches, chickadees, and yellow-rumped warblers, plus the usual raucous starlings.  The two resident hummingbirds were squeaking away merrily, zipping in to feed when the other wasn’t looking.

A new gift “for the garden” is a heat mat for growing seedlings.  It will fit perfectly in my kitchen garden window.  Now I can grow some chanterai (mini-canteloupes) and margarita melons.  Now to redesign the bed…..

Solstice greetings! It's sleepy time for the garden. Where's Juniper?


A feline farewell

Cedar, my intrepid little tabby cat who hauled himself back from the verge of death several times, when vets thought he “was a goner,” earned himself the title of “Energizer-kitty,” somehow managing to keep on going-and-going-and-going, with occasional “system failures” or “resets,” amidst his complicated health issues of the last 4-5 years.

On December 3rd he gave me the definite sign that he could no longer sustain his Energizer image and it was time to move to the Rainbow Bridge of light before he suffered any further.  The unique combination of being mellow, but very strong-willed, carried him through 16-and-a half years of life, and I’m sure he was granted more than 9 lives!  Cedar had a knack for keeping his angels and guardians very busy!

He served as official escort for several neighbors as they walked to our street’s common mailbox center, and was the official greeter-cat on the block for many years.  He always knew when I’d be coming home from work, whether by bicycle, car, or foot, and would wait by the front fence.

Sometimes seeming more dog-like than cat, Cedar followed me around the yard like a little trooper, as I worked through the different yard projects, until his final year.  Because the front community garden was installed when he really slowed down, he wasn’t a regular visitor, but preferred to stay just behind the front fence, bedding down on his favorite sunrose, keeping his ears tuned to all activities.  His spirit is still strongly felt in the garden.

Cedar in his prime

Thanksgiving and suet time!

Chilly, rainy weather demands more food for the birds now.  During the week we had a break in the weather, perfect for getting out feeders and restocking suet.  Today a visiting flicker rewards me!  He always looks awkward, being quite large relative to the suet cage, but he prefers it to the specially designed one purchased a couple of seasons ago (forget that one).  A woodpecker came by earlier last week, more interested in picking bugs out of some dead arborvitae trunks.  A little Anna’s hummingbird is braving the rain as well, searching out different feeders in the neighborhood that have more cover.

At the moment, the lettuce crop in the community garden is worth “gold” given the steep jump in market lettuce prices.  It’s slow growing with the current temperatures, but supplies small salads, if not overly-picked.

Frost nips at the yard when there is a clear night, and the nasturtiums aren’t sure when they should officially curl up to call it quits.  I was hard-pressed to find enough intact blossoms to adorn a salad headed to a potluck.

A very dreary day, today the rain came in earlier than predicted, and it has been a constant stream, stronger than a typical drizzle; just the right temperature and moisture combination to make it officially “yucky” enough not to work outside.  Unless one has a giant umbrella.  Hey, I shouldn’t have put the patio umbrella away….

It is a fine day to be inside with the kitties, and I give thanks for that opportunity to “hunker down” for a quiet Thanksgiving, to catch up on correspondence, give the old, ailing cat more attention, and get some rest!

Hope you are having an enjoyable Thanksgiving in whatever way you choose!

Blurred by rainy netting! Wishing a happy, restful Thanksgiving to all!

Bye-bye basil…..hello lettuce

While goldfinches feast upon sunflowers and nuthatches nip away at the suet, we have picked our way through all the squash, tomatoes and peppers, laying most to rest and ripen in garages and windows.

Final samplings of squash, tomatoes, and peppers.  Clockwise from yellow summer squash resting on top of darker buttercup squash: "yellow" pepper, spaghetti squash, delicata squash, patty-pan squash, with ripening tomatoes nestled among squash.

Final samplings of squash, tomatoes, and peppers. Clockwise from yellow summer squash resting on top of darker buttercup squash: "yellow" pepper, spaghetti squash, delicata squash, patty-pan squash, with ripening tomatoes nestled among squash.

My lone cricket still eeks out his chirps most evenings, letting me know that all the frost warnings are not quite for real…..just yet.  The predicted heavy rainstorms never materialized in our area, only a couple of short-lived squalls one day.  But, it’s so much easier to do cleanup when it’s a lovely, dry autumn afternoon.

The kale, lettuce, chard, and leeks are very happy with the current phase of mild part sun, part cloudy days, alternating with rain, and the nasturtiums that refused to grow all summer have never looked so lush…….

Mid-October transitions in the garden.  Where's Juniper?

Mid-October transitions in the garden. Where's Juniper?

But, it’s not over yet!  It’s not THE final harvest……we’re just getting growing on the fall crops….check back in!