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Wednesday, October 28, 2015


It's nearing the end of October and I know what is just around he corner. A lot of very good things happen in November. We have a couple of celebrations in November. But in my mind's eye, what I see is buckets of rain pouring out of the sky, for weeks on end, beginning in November.

We had, what seemed like, the longest summer ever here. I had myself convinced that it truly never would end. That we could go on eating from our garden through the holidays, into the new year and right up through the blooming of the tulips. Silly me.

When it rains here, the skies remain dark gray, from sun up to sun down, for several days on end. Then on that final day of a storm, the clouds begin to part and blue sky emerges, framed by puffy white clouds, for about 1 or 2 days, and then the dark skies, and cold and damp returns.

Knowing what we will have, soon, has made me absolutely force myself to be outside all that I can this month. One daughter and I rearranged the deck furniture just for this purpose. We placed the table and chairs right where the low angle of the sun will descend during the lunch hour for this month. She's home on Tuesdays and Thursdays this quarter. So, the two of us have our lunch on the deck, when the weather cooperates. I've been watching a spider spin his web this past month. He's preparing for winter, too.

In addition, the garden has needed my attention, love and hard work.

dill seeds for baking dilly bread this winter

I've been collecting seeds (for planting and cooking).

I have harvested and stored away many of the food stuffs from our little garden.

I had hoped to find prettier pots for the rosemary, but these will do for winter

I dug and potted two young rosemary bushes. I brought these inside for winter this year. I lost my rosemary two years ago due to freezing. Decided it would be better not to take any chances this year, with such young plants.

My potted mint is ready to move into the garage when it goes dormant. It sits on the deck, up against the house for now. I've cut and dried most of what's left, to use in tea this winter.

geranium cuttings to make baby plants

I've taken cuttings off of my favorite geraniums, to root for planting next spring.

my pink geraniums, two pots worth, to overwinter in the living room window

I've brought all of the lovely flowering pots that I can, into the indoor warmth of my house. Some of these I brought in just so I can prolong the feeling of summer a few weeks longer. Others I brought into the house, to overwinter, so they can cheat death and bloom another summer.

my Mother's Day dahlia tubers, kept dry, in the garage, until spring planting

And I dug the tubers from some beautiful flowers, to be held in darkness through winter, until the soil has warmed enough for replanting.

And now I wait. All is done. What needed to be, is now under cover. I can rest, knowing I have done what I can to prepare my garden for the coming rain and gray.


  1. Those rainy, grey days just sound so oppressive! However do you manage to keep your smile going? We've been in drought conditions here in central Illinois and yesterday had the first good soaking rain in weeks and weeks, maybe even months. It rained almost nonstop in June and then it seemed the skies dried up until yesterday. The rain was so welcome! But the rain you speak of would make me crazy.

    I so appreciated hearing everything you've done with your garden and gave me the push I needed to take care of some of those details. I have a geranium that I could bring indoors but hadn't even thought about the possibility! Silly me. Thanks!

    1. Good morning, Linda!
      Some people manage better than others with the grayness, here. I find that I need "markers" to look forward to, like a winter vacation to a sunny destination, time for planting onion seeds indoors in flats, the crocuses breaking through the soil, and time to seed the garden. Also, If I can begin outdoor gardening work early, even when it's a dreary day, it helps my spirits. I'm glad your area got some much needed rain. Droughts can feel almost as oppressive as extended rain.

      Geraniums, indoors, are so cheery in late fall and winter! Enjoy yours!

    2. I don't think we get the rain you do, but the Great Lakes bring a lot of cloud cover to us. I grew up with it and probably would never have questioned it, but my husband went to grad school in Minnesota and his comment is that, while it gets bitterly cold there, they have a lot more sunshine than we do. I find that I decorate with lighter colors (my north-facing living room is painted a buttercup yellow--it's subtle, but it adds light and a feeling of warmth) to combat the perpetual gloom that we can have. At least I'm not in Alaska with almost no daylight in the winter--I think I would have serious mental health problems! And when we get a sunny late fall or winter day, everyone's mood is much brighter.

      Linda, my in-laws are in central Illinois--it seems like they are either getting flooded or in drought conditions--no moderation in the weather for them!

      I just bought some more yarn to knit a blanket ... time to break out the cold weather activities!

    3. HI Kris,
      well listen to you -- knitting a blanket! would you have ever guessed, before the last couple of years, that you would ever take on knitting a blanket?! Good for you!! Happy knitting!

    4. Fat yarn and fat needles hopefully will add up to a not-so-overwhelming project. Apparently the trend is for big yarn/big needles. Target has hats and cowl scarves out right now that have been knitted (on a machine, I'm sure) that way. I'm soooo on-trend. ;)

    5. This is how my girls learned to knit, with the chunkiest yarn and fat needles to go with it! That will make your project go quickly. Is this for a gift or for your own home?

      Oh how very trendy you are, Kris! I love it when that happens!

    6. This is for us. There never seem to be enough throws around our house to keep us satisfied. I found several skeins of yarn at a good price last summer so I bought a lot, not knowing what I wanted to do with it. I've been looking at patterns for awhile--I've already goofed up this pattern so it won't look like the original, but the only one who will be aware of that is me. My first project of the fall always seems to be the project where I'm trying to get my "knitting brain" back in order.

    7. This will be fun for you, and a nice project you can work on any time this fall.

  2. I'm in West Michigan and we had a really beautiful summer/fall. It was rather nice the entire month of October except it started to rain last night late. It is supposed to be a drenching couple of days. Then we'll move into cold weather with snow. I do not love the long winters we have here. The older I get the more I am unable to do the heavy snow shoveling and even the roof shoveling is way to hard for me. We just hunker down early in the evening and sleep the darkness away. Thankfully I have a job that I can go to work to pass the day away.

    Lili, I brought my basil plant in a few weeks ago. It certainly had dropped a lot of the leaves but some are still alive and well. I'm not sure if all of it will eventually just die away but for now it seems ok and I even picked a few leaves for my spaghetti dinner last night.

    I have rosemary outside in a big pot. I'm going to look to see if there are any small plants and try to repot those for inside as well. I might try to bring it into my three season porch and though it will be cold in there, it might be able to not die completely. I'll have to do that when our rain stops.


    1. Oh, the roof raking is even harder than shoveling what's on the ground!

      Good news, Alice--I checked the forecast and it will be sunny and warmer next week. We aren't stuck in the doldrums of winter ... yet.

  3. Melancholy like good poetry, Lili....I love reading your words since you find just the right words and can frame your thoughts clearly. Well, we don't have half the weather concerns that folks living in the PNW have.. so at least I can invoke some of our relentless daily sunshine to you. When we decided to move to Portland in the 80s, one of the reasons in favor was too much sunshine and sticky hot weather every day of the year. Sunglasses and uncomfortable humidity everyday can get a bit tiring too.


    1. "Sunglasses and uncomfortable humidity everyday can get a bit tiring too."

      YHF, I can completely commiserate with this statement. Here in Florida we also get a lot of rain (52 inches per year, on average), too. Although the sun is shining half the time even when it's raining, so there is that. Makes for some great rainbows!

    2. Hi YHF,
      did the melancholy come through? I think of it as "resigned gloom".

      YHF and Laura -- Oh I feel for you. That relentless sunshine is hard to take ! ;-)

      My sister is in So Cal, and she has said the past couple of years have been difficult, as they've had some extraordinarily hot weather. And it just keeps on coming for them. I can see how that would be hard.

      And I do think humidity is much harder to endure, day after day, than just the heat. I've heard Florida humidity is pretty bad. That would make for really bad hair days for me!

      After thought, I think either too bright of sun or too much rain is very hard to drive in, and it's the driving in rain which is what I dislike the most.

  4. Summer is such a funny time for us -- I look forward to fall and winter as they tend to be times of greater productivity for me. But it's hard to tell myself that our seasonal rhythm is correct when it sometimes seems like the exact opposite of what everyone else is doing (and what I grew up expecting)!

    Lunch on the porch sounds lovely. :)

    1. Hi Laura,
      I understand. I've known people who have lived in Las Vegas, and summer is a less pleasant time of year for them. The heat is just too much to bear, many days of summer.

      We are back to rain, today. But yesterday. we had lunch on the deck, in the hazy, low sunshine of fall, and it was so lovely that I just wanted to linger as long as possible. This time of year, eating outdoors is so quiet and peaceful. No neighbors are using noisy machinery to work on houses, or take down trees or even mow lawns. Just a bird here and there, and a frustrated squirrel waiting for me to get off "his" deck, clucking away at me. We may have one or two more lunches outside, then a long wait until February or March.


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