Thursday, November 3, 2016

Ambling Towards Winter Solstice . . . and Ernest the stray cat

How is it possible to be so chilled out while working in our garden during chilly days? Snug cap, leather work gloves, flannel shirt, and fleece jacket help for sure, not to mention cups of hot cocoa, but mostly it is the calming nature of autumnal garden chores. Planting a cover crop of mustard seed is such a task. The annual veggie beds will benefit from living mulch by being protected against soil erosion during winter. Either the first hard frost or the battery-operated string trimmer eventually will fell the plants. The foliage then will be dug into the soil to enrich it. The incongruous sight of bright green popping up causes me to grin widely making my face resemble a crazed, carved pumpkin. Not that I wear orange pancake makeup. I swear I don't. Honest.

The middle bed along with the one in the upper right soon will be planted with overwintering onions/shallots/garlic

Fall colours sooth with their muted tones.

The bed filled with green is a mustard planting done about a month ago: it's a fast grower!

Abelia, a bush loved by bees, is holding some of its delicate, pink flowers, but their maroon sepals are even more of a visual treat.

Several remaining figs are ripening even as leaves yellow and fall from the tree.

There's enough to make a clafoutis with them. The recipe is here, just substitute ripe figs (halving or quartering them depending on size) for the blackberries.

Dirac the Cat is staying close by me these days because of his experiencing some emotional stress as he is no longer the only grey fur chez nous.

Dirac the Cat trying to photobomb the shot of the figs in the pan

Ernest the Stray Cat
started to hang around our garden about a month ago. Short-legged, bull-bodied, dog-eared, he has come a long way from being in a super-stressed statehe spent the summer darting into homes poaching food from resident felinesto my being able to pat his head. He is still too jittery for a trip to a veterinary clinic, so the main focus besides feeding him and keeping his crate situated under the pergola cozy with clean linen and blankets, is coaxing him into the sous sol which is where he is fed. However as soon as the door is closed, he stops eating and cries to go out. Hopefully he will become socialised soon enough to spend the night indoors if forecasted freezing temperatures do occur next week. For the most part, Ernest and Dirac are accepting of each other, usually touching noses when meeting, but at times, they both become unsettled during the slow process of Ernest adapting to his new home.

Sneaking a shot through a pot of zinnias

The foliage of the trumpet vine has turned a wonderful shade of gold.

It and some ivy cover one side of the pergola

Dahlias will flower right until the first killing frost.

That's a yucca in the foreground

Of all the different dahlias, my favourite form is the single one whose bonus is that they usually don't need staking.

À la prochaine!

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