By LYNNE IRONS
I understand that part of the aging process is the acceleration of time but honestly didn’t this summer just fly by? I find it hard to believe that we are well into October. After the cold wet spring we never did experience a long hot summer. Don’t get me wrong, I hate the dog days – humid and miserable with the white sky. The hot weather crops didn’t do as well as hoped. I probably picked four or five sweet hot peppers from dozens of plants. Oh well!
It is difficult to complain about what has passed when we have had a series of absolutely stunning days. They, too, will pass – nothing comes to stay.
We have been busy at the job sites. There is much neglected weeding that will be waiting for us in the spring. It has been a good time to move things around. Irises need dividing as well as daylilies. Why do I ever purchase more plants? I hesitate to fertilize any new perennial beds right now. I do not wish to encourage new growth which may be killed when the freeze sets in. A little later on, I do sprinkle Hollytone around the acid-loving shrubs. Actually, now I use Pro-holly. It’s more expensive but organic and really gives things a boost. The evergreens need their roots replenished in the winter.
Thank you so much Richard and Carolyn Brown. They gifted me with a cider press. He said it had been taking up space for over 20 years. It is a beautiful piece of equipment. Now I better get busy hunting down some apples. My own trees took a hit during the summer hailstorm and lost a great deal of fruit. Remember, apples need not be perfect to produce excellent cider. Bugs, sticks and leaves can be hosed off and the pressing through a muslin bag will remove stems, seeds, and skin.
Fiddlehead Farm had a community press last Columbus Day. Plan a drive by tomorrow; they are closing for the winter and will have some good sales. They carry wonderful artisanal cheese and Island produce.
Because my soil is relatively fertile in my old, established perennial beds, I have some lovely wild pale blue asters blooming. They are quite tall. They are officially weeds but I just let them run wild. They are the only thing of substance blooming right now. They are soft and frothy and hide all the weeds I neglected to pull this summer. In the state forest they only get about a foot tall but mine are at least three.
Another good looking plant right now is mountain mint (Pycnanthemum Pilosum). It is very aggressive but I don’t mind. It smells great and the top several leaves are white with a small bee-attracting bloom. It can be used in potpourri, incense, and as an ingredient in insect repellent. Supposedly a tea can be made to help indigestion and/or fevers. I’m not crazy about drinking things that smell like perfume, however.
Next year in the vegetable garden I am sticking to the reliable old standbys. I tried several things this year. While it was interesting and afforded a few bragging rights, I needed more production. I tried several varieties of sweet potatoes and was rewarded with a few pencil-thin tubers. Now, granted, they arrived late and half dead, I barely cared for them, and the soil was bad. There still may be some under the remaining plants.
I also grew peanuts. After the fact I read that they require a good five months of heat. We certainly did not get that this year. The plant was pretty but a favorite of some critter (probably a rabbit). I pulled one the other day and got three tiny nuts. I boiled them and removed the shell. They were actually tasty but so what?
How about that Jim DeMint taking a trip to Honduras? He met with the de facto government set up by the military coup that ousted the democratically elected president. Our government does not recognize the new regime but the South Carolina Republican senator chose to go all rogue and make the trip. I can just imagine the brouhaha which would have ensued had a Democratic senator chosen to meet with Kim Jong Il during the Bush administration. Glen Beck was delighted that someone made a move to embarrass Obama on the world stage.
What exactly is happening to our country? It is becoming almost comical if it weren’t so terrifying!