Shifting Toward Winter

I love the way that green tomatoes when frozen on the vine transform into translucent orbs. My tomato plants were loaded with them after our recent hard freeze.

P1180890

Despite the cold temperatures, I managed to keep several green, leafy vegetables alive. This week I harvested the last things I’m likely to get out of my garden for the year: mesclun, tatsoi, and cilantro. I used a “spring soup” recipe to cook them up. Poetically, I probably used the same recipe to cook up the very first things from my garden this past spring. It’s a wonderfully adaptable recipe that makes a creamy sausage, potato, and vegetable soup, and it comes from one of my favorite cookbooks: Simply in Season.

kohlrabi

garden view November 2014

supper

With these greens harvested, I know my garden will shift more and more into a color palette of browns and greys as we move into the darkest part of the year. Still, I remember that there is beauty to be found in the muted colors of winter.

black cherry

And in clearing leaves from under the magnolia tree, I decided that the art bundle that I’d secured to the tree in March, 2013 had eroded to the point that I couldn’t re-hang it. I’m not sure what I’ll do with it next, but the pieces of it have weathered beautifully.

Art Bundle 1

 

Summer’s End

I’ve been enjoying the golden light filtering through the leaves of our maple tree.  Everything in the back yard glows as it either settles in for the winter or puts out one last burst of life before the killing frost.

The toad lilies have been blooming like crazy. I’ve got four varieties, and I always look forward to their blooms during the waning days of summer. And even as the weather cools, my garden continues to provide tasty things to eat. I planted lettuces, cilantro, arugula, and kale and they all continue to grow. I’m hoping they hold out for a little while in the colder weather. I also got my garlic in the ground, tucked in under some nice soil and ready to start my 2015 garden.

The whole thing was looking good:

Here’s a close-up of the sweet mum arrangement that the staff at work gave to John and I for boss’ day. I put it outside and the squirrels stole the mini pumpkins within a week. Boo, Squirrels!

Mums

And then there was frost…

frosty weeds

And my cat has decided to stay in his heated cat bed till it’s warm again.

Heated Cat Bed

 

 

Skipping a Season

Autumn has come to my garden, but I haven’t been here to see it!

I’ve been here, there, and everywhere, encouraged by an extra week driving the Mustang (my poor car’s been in the shop for almost a month!).

The last of the tomatoes are rotting on the vines (the ones that the squirrels aren’t eating), the tomatillo has given up the ghost, and the basil has grown gangly waiting for me to make pesto. The lima beans were ready long ago, but I have yet to eat one. Soon I’ll have lettuces and greens waiting impatiently for harvest.

Christmas limas

purple tomatillo

I treated myself to one more piece of glass garden art. Having taken art classes, I’m aware that you should never have a pair of something, so I decided I needed a cluster of three. The tall one in the back is the newest one.

three bits of orange

So where have I been if I haven’t been in my garden? First there was a retreat in Southern Indiana not far from strip mine land.

strip mine graveyard

Then it was Hamilton, Ohio for a two week art residency at InsideOut Studio. I stayed in a hotel with a great view of the Great Miami River and spent several afternoons walking on the bike path on the river’s banks. Autumn was just starting to approach and there were the first signs of color in the trees. There was also another fancy wind sculpture downtown that looked very similar to the one I discovered here in Evansville. On my final day, Hamilton celebrated Operation Pumpkin, a city street festival that included (among other things) a giant pumpkin contest. I’d never seen so many enormous, bloated, sagging mounds of flesh in my life!

My art residency required a good collection of old clothing, and one day on the way to the local thrift store I just happened to spot this on a side street:

first glimpse

Is that a ton of found object garden art and kinetic sculpture? It is! Right next to the Big Boy in Fairfield! I had the presence of mind to note where it was and went back later. There was a sign on the fence saying that they were going to sell their art at Operation Pumpkin. Oh joy! I took one photo, but was afraid of looking too crazy so I didn’t take more.

I did, in fact, purchase some great art from them. It was within my price range! I would have bought more, but I didn’t want to spend all my residency earnings on garden art. It was good because you can only pack so much into a Mustang.

The next morning, I returned to the welding shop, determined to get some additional photos. No one seemed to be around, so I walked up to the fence and started taking photos of all the awesomeness. I didn’t notice when the owners drove up, so the next thing I knew, one of them asked if I wanted to go inside the fence to take more photos.

I said sure. They had lots of art made out of bike parts, including ingenious wind spinners built from bike wheels.

I think she thought I was a little nuts. I tried to explain how cool I thought their art was and how I work for a place where this stuff would fit right in. In retrospect, they actually made all this stuff, so I think THEY must be as crazy as me.

I found a great newspaper story about them here.

On the way home, I stopped at Yew Dell Gardens, a botanical garden along I71 in Kentucky. I’d always seen the sign for it but had never had an opportunity to stop. It wasn’t the ideal day or season, but there were some nice things to see including wonderful gourds growing suspended along a tunnel and interesting varieties of toad lily.

And finally, here’s my new garden art installed in my garden.

mosquito

flower

 

Harvests and Harvesters

I got a chance to come back to Northwest Ohio at harvest time. It is a beautiful time of year, and I hadn’t realized how much I’d missed it. It also happened to be the local Fall Festival with activities all around town including at the local historical society and an antique tractor show. I discovered it’s fun to take a camera to a tractor show.

I had a fun vehicle of my own. I was in a car accident that badly beat my car up two days before I needed to be out of town for work. The body shop fixed me up with quite a ride. I’ve sort of stopped apologizing for its ridiculousness. As a friend said, I didn’t choose the situation or the car. It also makes a pretty picture.

Mustang