Friday, October 9, 2015

It's Finally Fall

Well folks, it's finally feeling like autumn has arrived in the Mile High City. A very warm and dry autumn, but autumn nonetheless. Temperatures have finally cooled down into the 70's with even a few days in the 60's and I am soooo ready for the change!

Actually, I'm a lover of summer weather. The problem is that this time of year my allergies get so bad that even though I am heavily medicated, I just can't keep my bedroom window open and hope to breathe at night!

This meant that, crazy as it felt, I was running the air conditioning at night through the end of September, just to get the indoor temperature down to the low 70's so I could sleep. Even so, I was still waking up every night roasting to death. So the cooler temperatures have been a godsend in the sleep department!

CatMan and I went for a bike ride the other day down to Chatfield State Park and it was just lovely.

The rabbitbrush is in full bloom all along the bike path:

And we even came across a family of mule deer fattening up for winter:

I had a hard time convincing them to come out from the shade so I could get a better picture, but one was nice enough to pose for me:

The cucumber harvest continues at an incredible rate, and I'm gonna make another batch of refrigerator pickles today.

I've been using this recipe (minus the celery seeds and the accompanying trip to the ER) and the results are totally AMAZING! They actually taste like real pickles!! Not sure why this should surprise me, but it does. This is a welcome development because, due to food allergies, and the fact that all commercially made pickles contain either celery seed or dill, I haven't had a pickle in nearly 20 years. Seriously, I ate an entire jar in less than a week!

I also made a batch of roasted cherry tomatoes;

Only problem with them was that someone (who shall remain nameless) got a tad bit too excited, and popped a spoonful into her mouth without letting them cool adequately. So other than the burnt mouth aftertaste, they were delicious!

So tell me... does it feel like fall yet in your neck of the woods?

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Hail House to the Rescue!

Well folks, the weather here has been downright weird this year.

First we had the abnormally cool and wet spring and early summer, then we had crazy hot and dry weather for most of September. Seriously, it's been in the high 80's or low 90's most days without a single drop of rain for 6 weeks...

...until last night.

But here's the crazy part, it didn't just rain, we got nickle-quarter sized hail. Seriously, it's nearly October and we got hail! WTF???

Good news is that the hail house performed brilliantly!

It all just rolled off the top and sides and collected along the edges leaving my little plants safe inside. Yay!

For the sake of comparison, here's what happened to the part of the zucchini plant that was growing outside of the "protected zone."

I'm just hoping that the "impact resistant" shingles did their job too...

They made it through the last 2 storms unscathed, while everybody in the neighborhood who didn't pay the extra few hundred bucks for the upgrade is replacing their roofs... The people across the alley just finished getting their roof replaced last week! I sure hope they went for the upgrade this time around!

So my next step is to work on covering up any sharp pieces of metal sticking out on the hail house so I can put the plastic cover on it when it gets cold without worrying about it getting torn. That is if it ever gets cold! Seriously, our nighttime temps have been in the 50's and 60's! I'm not exactly complaining about that since it's meant that the garden has been producing overtime, but it is odd.

Anyhow... I've been making refrigerator pickles to deal with the surplus cucumbers...

And I'm freezing the extra cherry tomatoes so I can toss them into stews or roasted veggie mixes if it ever gets cool enough for that sort of thing. I've also got 3-4 limb sized zucchinis that got away from me in the fridge waiting for it to get cool enough to bake zucchini bread. (I'm giggling about the misplaced modifier in that sentence... picturing the zucchini running around in the back of the fridge or something.)

I think the hail house was definitely worth the investment, and hopefully it will mean many years of gardening bliss in the future!

So tell me... how are your gardens doing? Is the weather as crazy where you live as it is here?

Saturday, September 19, 2015

The News from the Funny Farm

First of all, I want to thank all of you for your very kind words and thoughtful comments on the loss of my sweet little Princess.

Things here have been... well... a bit crazy.

Of course there's been the cleaning up and digging out from the land of sick kitties. I still haven't been able to bring myself to get rid of her litter box. The boys don't use it, and it's really sorta in the way - it was an accommodation that I made to make things easier for her. Somehow, the thought of getting rid of it makes me too sad to contemplate, but I'll get there eventually.

But I've removed all of her beds and heating pads, and my hall closet now, once again holds the vacuum cleaner instead of a Princess hideout. Heavy sigh.

In reality though, there hasn't been too much time to grieve her loss because so much else has gone crazy since she died. My television and computer both died. When it rains, it pours, you know?

I managed to get the computer to come back to life (long story) and the TV is at the repair shop. I'm hoping it can be salvaged so I don't have to go buy a new one.

And my step-mother has been out of the country, so my dad has needed my help with some things...

And I FINALLY finished my web page revisions to make my pages all mobile compatible. YAY! Of course, doing that part made me realize how much more work there really is to do...

I think I'll wait a while before jumping into any more huge projects though, because I am pooped!

Anyhow, I keep meaning to write a post about my garden, but haven't really had time. It's been goin' great guns though, and I'm overrun with tomatoes, cucumbers & zucchini - and I've even harvested a few peppers and eggplant.

The "hail house" was a great success - even though we haven't had any hail since I finally completed it. I closed in the west side with a door, and extended the hardware cloth down the north side to protect from anything falling sideways, and the result is that it really feels like a nice little enclosed area.

The benefit I didn't expect is that the cucumbers have been using the walls as a trellis, and it's made it soooo much easier to tie up the tomatoes so they don't fall over and hurt themselves.

I do keep the door open most days though, because a few times a bird got in there and started to panic because it couldn't find its way out! I need to cover up any sharp edges of wires etc so that I can put the plastic cover on when the first frost comes, and hopefully that will extend the growing season a bit.

One advantage of life going crazy is that I've made great progress on eating down my freezers! I haven't had time to do a full inventory, but the upstairs freezer looks practically empty, and it's finally getting cool enough that I may make some soup in the next few days.

The other piece of news is this little guy.

I've seen him around the neighborhood for a few years, but when he showed up with an injured leg a while back I took pity upon him and gave him some food. The leg seems to have healed up, and he's been coming around regularly for food.

Not sure what I'm gonna do about him. He's not fixed, but it's quite possible that he does have a home and is just a moocher. I've asked around a bit and nobody seems to know for sure, though some people have said he might belong to an immigrant family up the street.

Anyhow, he won't let me get closer than 5-6 feet. but he loves to hang out with me while I'm out in the garden so we'll see how this evolves. More detective work is certainly in order. But for the moment I'm calling him Gray Boy and enjoying his company when I'm outside.

Sooo that's about all the news from the funny farm...

Hope you're all well and enjoying this last little bit of summer.