Monday, October 29, 2012

Blog Break

Sorry for the long time without a post.    I am not ill.  I've just been super busy--mostly work related. 

Thanks to those of you who faithfully check in each day. 

I hope to get back to blogging in a week or so.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Cold, Wet, Rainy Weekend

The weather this weekend was not a bit nice. Luckily I checked the forecast and knew the rain was coming, so we went out at 8:00 a.m. on Saturday in just above 30 degree temps to put all the deck containers away for the winter.  We worked for just under three hours and had everything cut down and stored for the winter. 

We felt good about that.

Remember the two whiskey barrels with the big Tropicannas? 


O.K. here is a reminder:

this is the same container today:
We removed everything, tossed out the annuals and have the tender corms & rhizomes in the garage to dry out.  Normally I would have used the hose to remove all the soil, but it was too cold, so I just shook off what I could. In a few days all the soil will shake off.

I think it's amazing that those huge striped Tropicanna leaves emerge from these rather small rhizomes that are drying out in my garage.

It has rained so much this weekend that we had flood warnings.  It is still raining now.

The rain has been good for the burning  bush that we moved last weekend.  I snapped this photo from my bedroom window:

  I stood at my living room window to take this pic of the front yard:
The sedum autumn joy is turning its deepest color now.   I may cut it all down next weekend.

This weather is perfect for staying inside and  cooking.

Last week my mother-in-law gave us these colorful peppers from her garden:
 I needed to do something with them before they rot.  So I stuck them under the broiler to blacken the skin.

Once blackened I covered them with foil and let them sit for about an hour.  Then I removed the skin and turned them into this roasted pepper garlic tomato sauce
that I used in place of purchased spaghetti sauce to make a beef spinach lasagna for tonight's dinner.

I hope everyone had better weather for their weekend, than I did!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Mixed Cheese Potato Stacks

We had these for dinner last night.    I was going to make scalloped potatoes in individual casserole dishes.  Then I thought of trying them in stacks. I've had a major case of stack love lately. Just about anything looks better and is more fun to eat when served as a stack.

 I heavily sprayed some muffins tins and put one slice of potato in each.  I lightly seasoned each slice, then put a small amount of a four-cheese Italian mix on top.

 I made 3 more layers of the same.  I heated  1-1/4 cups of milk and 3 tablespoons of butter in the microwave for one minute, then put about 3 spoonfuls of the liquid in each muffin tin (I had a total of 21 stacks).
 It makes a bit of mess, so make sure to spray the entire top for easy clean up.

I covered the tins with foil and baked at 350 degrees for half of an hour.  Then I removed the foil and added more cheese on the top - Muenster cheese on some and cheddar on the others.  After baking another twenty minutes uncovered, they looked like this:
 I let them rest about 12 minutes before removing from the tins and they held together quite nicely.

DH proclaimed these keepers.  I like the Muenster-topped stacks the best. You can use any kind of cheese you like. 

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Poorly Planned Burning Bush Planting

In 2010 I moved this huge burning bush from the front yard to the rockwall garden. 
As usual I was moving plants on the spur-of-the-moment and did not even realize that I had placed it directly behind this cherry tree.  From the side where I was standing, it appeared to be the perfect spot.  Once I walked around to the front, I knew I had made a big mistake.  It takes a lot of work to move this one, so I just left it.  It's been bugging me ever since. You can see that the color is not nearly as vibrant as the one to the right, which gets plenty of sun.

Today, DH put in a ton of muscle power to dig this huge planting hole through hard, rocky soil

 so that I could move this shurb again.  This is the area where we put it:

Did you know that golden privet turns purple in the fall and even has purple berries?
Here is the same shrub in the summer:
It's a lovely bright chartreuse color. I do enjoy shrubs that have a dramatic seasonal color change.

Here is a view of the newly planted burning bush from the back of this privet shrub with a backdrop of orange maple tree leaves:

In this view you can see the other two burning bushes in the rockwall garden where it used to live.

 I am hoping that next year it will survive and turn the same vibrant red as the others.

Here it is looking through lavender seed heads from the garden directly across the grass path:

In addition to moving this monster shrub, we spent a  few more hours digging, hauling heavy furniture to the basement, etc.

When we went outside at 9:00 a.m. everything was covered in a light sheet of ice! It got down to 28 degrees last night.

Ice on the top of the potting bench:
 the top of the glass table:
and frozen droplets on the chair back:
It was only cold for a short time as once we got moving, we warmed up pretty quickly.

Now we are both pooped and just relaxing as we await the chicken/potato stack dinner I have in the oven.

I hope you all had a great weekend!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Productive Saturday so Far

I got up at 3:00 a.m. so I will have extra hours to be productive today.  I have already done my major  weekend cleaning tasks (done by 6:00 a.m. LOL ).   Then I started to bake a cake, but had to set it aside when I discovered I was out of eggs.  I will bake the cake later this afternoon.

As soon as it was daylight I went outside and picked up fallen pinecones so I could use them in this autumn arrangement for the family room.
I cut down the rest of my red coleus and snipped a few of the grass seed heads for this simple arrangement.

There is a second glass cyclinder inside the pinecones to hold the water. I wish I had thought to take a pic of the assembly.  I will be able to use the pine cone bottom right through Christmas. I will change the top portion to whatever I can find growing outside. I think evergreens will be nice when it's get closer to Christmas.

DH & I spent a few hours doing some pretty hard outside work, hauling all the milk cans, tables, chairs, etc. from the garden and then washing them all off.  It's time to put everything to bed for the long winter.  Everything needs to dry and then we will put it all in the crawl space.

This huge washtub is getting too heavy to haul into the storage crawl space, so we dumped it out.
I removed the tubers, corms, etc., sprayed off most of the soil and set them out to dry.  Yesterday I had the landscape guy at work remove everything from the four planters I did there.  From just five containers, I got all of this!
I still have two whiskey barrels to dig out, but I ran out of time and energy for today.  I have to get ready to go into work at 1:00 p.m. to attend a meeting. It will probably last about two hours.

DH is going to grill steaks tonight, so I won't have to do much work when I get home.  That's good because I think all of my energy is about gone already.

Hope you are having a productive Saturday, too - even if your goal is just to relax.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Rockwall Fall Color from Opposite Direction

I have had a couple of emails asking just where this fall color garden is.  Some of you think it's a new area, but it's just my old rockwall garden that I have spent the past three years trying to change into a shrub/grass/tree garden.  It has been a big pain to remove all the perennials and I will probably spend the rest of my life trying to get rid of all of them. 

These views looking toward the area I showed you in the last post, may help you remember which garden this is:

slightly further back giving you a view of the mossy rocks that I love:
 I like the yellow color of the hostas in autumn.  I am leaving hostas here as they will grow in shade.

15 feet further back:
 I think the dead wild fern foliage looks good with the fall colors.

the very end of this 100-foot garden looking toward arbor 3:
Both ends of the rockwall garden are flanked with large maple trees.

As you can see, there is not much planted on this end.  I put the Alberta Spruce's in a few years ago. 
This end is shady due to the two large pine trees. I will need to research  shrubs/grasses that will grow in shady areas.  Right now I am still trying to get rid of the gazillion perennials I had here.  It all takes time!  I would welcome ideas for shrubs that will grow in a mostly shady area.

Yesterday I planted the dwarf fountain grass 'hameln' at the opposite end of this garden. 

The few seed heads that are left, make a nice foreground to the burning bush. I can't wait until next year to see how it looks when it's a bit larger.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Burning Bushes and Maple Trees

Warning: Photo heavy!

Fall color pics that I took about 30 minutes ago in my yard.  I don't think any other commentary is needed.

I hope you are all enjoying this colorful season as much as I am!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Last Autumn Decorating Project

This collage features some of the items  I used to decorate the desk in my living room for the autumn season.
The items were arranged atop the desk which I covered in a gold tablecloth with a black fishnet fabric overlay:
I added a black/gold bow with a few fall leaves in the center.  I like the fishnet fabric look.
Then I brought out the big chalkboard I made last year to hang over the table. It  fits perfectly over this desk and it is fun to use during the holiday season. 
In November I will replace the jack-o-lanterns with  turkeys and this table will be ready for Thanksgiving.  Quick, easy, fun....I like that!

Monday, October 1, 2012

New Shrubs/Grasses to Plant

I have had such a busy week and this week looks like it will be the same. I like to be busy, but not too busy. I am sure you all know what I mean.

Anyway, thanks for the comments last week.  I read and appreciated every one even if I did not email you to say so. 

Today I went right from work to Home Depot where I found some great bargain shrubs/grasses. 
I am posting pics of the labels of all of them. This is for my own benefit.  Next year when I wonder what I planted, I can look back here and find out.

The tallest grass is switch grass:

 I am very excited about this lilac shrub, Miss Kim:
 I love fountain grass in my summer containers. This perennial version looks beautiful in the name tag.

 I bought two of these dwarf  Midnight Wine Weigela.
If any of you have any of these plants, I would love to hear what you think about them. I probably won't plant them until the weekend, so if you have any suggestions on companion plants, I would love to hear that, too.
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