Monday, October 25, 2010

October Chores

Late October is the time to get ready for winter. In 2008, winter arrived with a blizzard leaving behind a heavy snowfall on Nov. 1st, and never left. So there's a long list of things to be done to be ready.

We usually visit one of the apple orchards while the tastiest varieties of apples are still available (honey crisps), and also get at least one pumpkin to sit on the porch for Hallowe'en.

The garage needs to be tidied so we can get the outdoor furniture, various pots and garden tools, and perhaps even a car inside for the winter. Snowtires have to be installed. The lawn needs to be mowed one last time, leaves raked and mulched, and this year we have wood chips to spread. Then the lawnmower goes off to have the snowblower attached and serviced, and the mowing deck removed.

The garden gets put to bed, but inevitably we stop at nurseries when travelling, and pick up a few bargains in the late fall sales - 75% off yesterday! But of course those plants need to be planted or at least sunk to protect them over the winter.

The first chickadee at the feeder.

Bird feeders need to be put up, and a new place to buy birdseed found. Tree guards get placed on small saplings the deer might find tasty. And if you're lucky you have a few sunny warm days before October ends to get all this done.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


Thanksgiving has passed in a blurr, with guests, walks in the woods, art tours, and turkey dinner! This year we were blessed with amazing weather - sunny and warm all Thanksgiving weekend, and it made for great times outdoors. We hiked Old Baldy on Saturday, with hundreds of others, and the view from the cliffs was amazing.

There are also two nearby art tours. On Saturday we headed for Clarksburg and the art galleries, part of the 'tour of the arts'. The Loft Galley in particular had spectacular large canvasses, paintings of the Niagara Escarpment in all seasons. On the way home we stopped at one of the apple farms to check out the pies and pumpkins.

Sunday we headed west to the village of Walter's Falls and visited several studios or workshops on the 'Escarpment Studio Tour'. We enjoy seeing the studios and homes of the artists as much as the art itself, and on this tour there are two woodcarving workshops with amazing inlaid bowls, bird decoys and wooden toys.

Then Thanksgiving is over, and it's on to the late October chores.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

It's Garlic Time

Early October, and it's time to plant the garlic.

For 20 years we've been growing several varieties of garlic, just enough to give us a garlic supply, and provide seed for next year's crop. Garlic is usually planted in September/October, and harvested in July or early August, so garlic planting is another event in the fall season.

This year we stopped in the general store in Kimberly and found 14 varieties of garlic for sale! Nothing would do but we bought one of each for seed, and now of course, the undergardener needs to prepare a big new bed in the garden for the expanded garlic patch.

This meant double-digging, adding compost and manure, and building up the bed with a healthy layer of new topsoil - all in all a couple of hard day's work! But it's ready now for the head gardener to plant and label all her 21 varieties. And beautiful sunny warm days to do it in.