Sunday, November 30, 2008

First Snow

The view from our front porch is quite a bit different today thanks to the first snow of the season. It is a heavy, wet snow, not much good for building snow forts or sledding, but it is kind of pretty. With Thanksgiving behind us, snow on the ground, and Christmas shopping in progress, it really feels like winter.

I got the garden boxes covered with a tarp just in time. I'm glad I took the time to do this because some of the garden boxes had blocks of ice in their water reservoirs. Even though I haven't put water in the boxes for quite some time, apparently we've had enough rain to fill some of them. I drained them the best I could and they should be OK if I can keep any more water from getting in. I also wrapped the three new blueberry bushes with burlap to protect them from deer and rabbits. The weather earlier in this Thanksgiving holiday was so nice (in the 40s) that I was able to get these chores done as well as trim the hedges in front of the porch. What a difference a day makes.

The first seed catalog arrived before Thanksgiving this year. I think this has to be a new record! The honor goes to Pinetree Garden seeds, one of my favorite suppliers. I have to admit that I've already started browsing the catalog and making a wish list. They have seeds for yellow radishes that I would like to try, and Midget sweet corn that grows only about 4' tall. I think this variety of sweet corn might actually grow well in the garden boxes and I think I'll give it a try next summer. I love browsing seed catalogs and look forward to more arriving soon. Browsing catalogs is step 1 in the gardening process, and probably the easiest step as well. Soon enough the real work will begin again, so enjoy armchair gardening while you can.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

It's November

Cold, dreary, rainy...yup, it's November in Indiana. This is the kind of weather that makes me want to come straight home from work, have some hot cocoa, and simply nest for the rest of the evening. Give me a throw, a cat on my lap and the dog at my feet, add a good book to read, and I'm all set.

My garden chores are finished for the year with two exceptions. The garden boxes have all been cleaned out, but I still need to move the boxes closer together and cover them with a tarp. The company says the boxes can be left out in the winter weather, but I don't think it can be good for them to become saturated and then freeze. I am hoping the tarp will at least keep the boxes from filling with rain or snow and protect them from expanding and cracking.

My final task will be to dig up the English ivy plant that grew in an outside planter box all summer. The annuals in the pot have all succumbed to the cold weather, but the ivy is still pretty and green. My plan is to pot it up and have it as a houseplant for the winter. The whole pot is sitting in the garage for now. Hopefully I won't forget to pot up the ivy this weekend. Once this is taken care of, my physical gardening work is done and I will officially become an armchair gardener for the winter. I'll be content to read from my library of gardening books and magazines, sketch out a few plans, and think about what I'd like to try new next year. To everything there is a season, and I must admit I'm ready to take a break from gardening. I know that once the seed catalogs arrive, and then spring, I'll be ready to get my hands dirty and start the cycle all over again. Not today, however. It's November.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Exercising our Right to a Day Off

Election Day! I hope you took time to vote. Because election days are a holiday in Nick's office, I followed suit by taking a vacation day. We took care of voting early last week so the day was ours, and what a beautiful day it was. We were treated to sunshine and temperatures in the low 70s--pretty nice for November in Indiana. We felt like it was a day for fun instead of a home improvement project, and quickly decided to go to Turkey Run State Park to enjoy some hiking and the spectacular fall foliage. Even though Turkey Run is only about an hour's drive from our house, it has been a few years since we visited. We need to make a point to go there more often as it is such a lovely place. We hiked Trail 1 which is listed on the trail map as moderate/rugged and 3 miles long. It was the perfect choice. Trail 1 follows the Sugar Creek much of the way, and leads to the Narrows covered bridge. The Narrows bridge was built in 1882 and is no longer open to traffic but you can walk across. It is said to be the most photographed covered bridge in Indiana. The Narrows bridge was about the halfway point of the trail which then turned away from the creek and meandered through the hardwood forest. We really enjoyed the peace and quiet. We didn't see much wildlife beyond some squirrels and a pileated woodpecker, but we could see where beaver had been at work and suspected some deer probably stood quietly still to look at us.

On the way to the park we took a quick side trip to visit and photograph the Cox Ford covered bridge. I really enjoyed the scenery on the drive down the narrow country road to this bridge. This bridge was built in 1913 by the same builder as the Narrows bridge, J.A. Britton, and actually looks pretty similar to the Narrows. You can still drive across the Cox Ford bridge, however. On the way home we stopped at the Rob Roy bridge which is also still open to traffic. It is a humble little bridge, not as showy as the Narrows or the Cox Ford, but still quite delightful for being just what it is.

All in all, it was the perfect way to spend a day off. It was the kind of day that makes the prospect of spending the next one back in the office a little depressing. Oh well. We are already making plans for our next trip to Turkey Run. We may even make a weekend of it next time. Unfortunately, pets are not allowed at the Turkey Run Inn. Too bad, because Toby enjoyed the day at the park as much as we did. He is sound asleep now, lying on the floor behind me as I type, but I swear there is the hint of a smile on his face. We are all going to sleep well tonight!