Friday, October 30, 2009

A Word from Big Dictionary...'s a quaint, old-fashion word in the news lately:

DITHER or dithering. Dictionary tells me it means "a trembling or vibration"; informally, it refers to "a state of flustered excitement or fear". To dither is to "act irresolutely or vacillate".
In Northern England, it means "to tremble with excitement or fear"; it's a variation of "didder",
from a Middle English word: "diddere".

Anyway, this gave me a chance to get reacquainted with Big Dictionary, who's been on the shelf for a while; I took a break from reading Wm. Faulkner novels.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Demise of the Gooseneck Loosestrife...

..remember? with the great black wasp on the gangling white flowers in the summer? The foliage is almost prettier in the fall.
Still, come spring, I will be out in the yard, ripping them out by the roots to prevent them from taking over the beds. Invasive; that's what they are.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Sedum Plant says good-bye to 2009... the nights grow chilly, the flowers darken and the foliage turns pale green to yellow, creating this "inner glow". The bees and butterflies are gone now; soon the flowers will dry out--if I had any imagination I'd make dry flower arrangements...dust collectors, in my opinion. And speaking of dust....

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

It's officially over....

...close the books on the summer season: here is the Last Rose of Summer 2009, posing for the official portrait in my newest bud vase: Hubs' found it for me at a garage sale; I like it. Naturally, since I like to cut and display my roses, I have to collect bud vases!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The bird feeder is open for business now...

...the migration is in full swing; a few days ago this
kinglet startled me--and itself--by flying into my kitchen window. "bam! flap-flap-flap" as Hubs' likes to say. The bird was only stunned (easy for me to say, I know) and sat for quite a while on the feeder support. It let me open the back door, step out on the deck and snap some photos. Eventually, I watched it fly away, as if nothing happened.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Anything to attract butterflies...

...the asclepia busy going to seed and the seedpod stalk of the lupine standing tall, not to mention a few coneflowers...I keep encouraging these butterfly magnets to multiply; I expect next spring to have many more lupine.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Annabelle Hydrangea gets ready for winter.

Not a great photo, with the unsightly background, I'll agree.
Fitting for today: It's cold, rainy and blustery here and I had to present myself at our local hospital for one of those "old people" medical screenings. The proceedure went well, but it took me the rest of the day at home in bed asleep to shake off the twilight sleep drug. So I'm feeling about as raggedy as these plants look.
Rain is in the forecast for the next days, so we plan a low-key week-end, watch football on Sunday.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Hobbes has a boyfriend....

...and, no, she did not meet him on J-Date! He is one of the passers-thru: occasional tom-cat visiters to the yard. He discovered we have a couple of former-female kitty-cats here, and is emboldened to hang around. He even allowed me to take a picture the other day, after I finished invading the slugs' privacy.
Hobbes isn't much interested; besides, she must be equivalent to 102 in human years. She likes to eat, sleep, visit the litter, carry her stuffed animal around the house and avoid the other cat, whenever possible.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Slugs interruptus....

Who knew? Garden slugs just want to have fun, too. While doing a little much needed weeding, I...uh, walked in on a pair engaged in the first stage of production for next year's garden pests.
They quickly...well, for slugs...headed back underneath their rock. I never know what I will find out in that garden.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Asclepia seed pods from a few posts back...

...started bursting open. They are part of the milkweed family, so the seeds are similar. Butterflies love both plants; very pretty and classy as their seeds--the posterity for next spring--float away in the breeze of mid-October.

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Hosta Patch in full glory...

...don't know what variety it is, but the leaves might be prettier now than earlier in the summer. We saw some more fall color yesterday. It was as lovely as a mid-October day can be in Chicagoland, so we took our bikes to the Fox River for a ride from just north of "the Dundees" to Ringwood, IL on the scenic trail. Blue sky, moderate temperatures, un-crowded conditions and a good lunch at the little biker-bar(Harley-bikes, that is) in Ringwood made for two endorphin-happy old folks who slept well last night after the 37 mile ride.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Lovely Japanese Anemones Next Door...

they have a lot of them, which is great in the fall; the plant does well around here. Elegant and fresh for display in the garden, or cut in a bouquet. I have some too, but not so pretty. The pink flower, fuzzy focus, is one of our special heirloom nicotiana, left over from a previous garden in my yard. These have a lovely evening perfume when they bloom; more modern hybrids do not, I understand. We sprinkle the seeds around the beds to encourage their return each year.

Friday, October 16, 2009

One Hollyhock won't call it curtains....

...even tho it's mid-October and all it's fellow hollyhocks long since went to seed. It's a pretty one, too; it came up in a sheltered location and looks as fresh as if it's June. Some things will not live, and some things will not die.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Autumn Arrives ... the Big Garden Next Door. The asclepias tuberosa and coneflower seed heads are darn near as interesting as the flowers, especially when arranged nicely, as here.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Scotchie wants to say "hello" too....

...and is very ashamed of the low quality of her portrait; my bad, not hers. She likes to sun herself on the window seat most days, but especially in fall and winter. She's a typical cat: wakes up in our bed, ambles downstairs for breakfast; then onto the window seat for the balance of the day, give or take a trip to the litter box or the deposit of occasional hair-ball--perhaps a tussle with her sister-cat, Hobbes. After dinner is served, she goes to the office to sit on Hubsy's lap for a while. Then back to the sack. A Cat's Day.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Before the power went out....

one evening last week, these big puffy clouds blew in from the NW, against a lavender sunset.
It huffed and puffed; before it was over, we had wind gusts of about 50 mph and a localized power outage a bit over 2 hours. No big deal, except not knowing when the power will be restored; this is the point when I begin to think about what will be spoiling soon in the 'fridge. Blessed, of course, since this was about the worst thing that happened last week!

Monday, October 12, 2009

The Big Garden next door....

has so much depth, variety and vitality. This is just a random shot to show a special garden ornament set in a sunny place, with the last of the year's annuals.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Yes, it does...

I read that the New England Aster attracts bees and butterflies with it's nectar, and that is correct. Bees simply swarm the flowers, and here is a Cabbage White butterfly, slightly frayed around the edges, but still bright contrast for the photo.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Fungus Break

Stop everything! These are so cute! Click on the image to improve it and you will see the tiny Bird's-Nest fungi in the center of the picture. The idea is that a drop of rain splashes into the "cup", dispersing the "eggs" (spores). It works. These were found as Hubs' cleaned out the broccoli patch before lunch today.

Friday, October 9, 2009

New England Asters...

...let's brighten up this blog with some of these; they are brilliantly in flower right now. On a sunny day, the last of the bees and the butterflies cover the flowers. This is such an ugly plant at the beginning of the growing season: I have to be careful not to rip it out. But this is the reward for keeping it-at a time when there is little else flowering.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Materials Lot near Harvest Time

Muted colors, ordinary setting, overcast day...somehow, I have to go take a picture of it; the lumber lot of a hardware store in
Mt. Carroll, IL. backed by the corn field, just blocks from downtown. Frankly, I hoped the brighter green in the field would "pop" a bit more.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

In Chadwick, IL....

...a slightly larger village, this neat old place. Porches and gables and built-in character everywhere. Yard not quite right. Inside it needs a lot of work, but lots of original wood work, etc.
About 40K--(the kitchen is a disaster).

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Church for Sale.... one of those tiny little spot-on-the-map villages we drive thru on the way to some bike trail. It was renovated to become a residence; and no, family, this is not the house of our dreams. (It's located on the corner of a busy, ugly highway, for starts.) But, wow, the stained glass window in the livingroom...

Saturday, October 3, 2009

A Comment, please....

Chicago's loss to host the 2016 Olympic Games:
Having lived in the Chicago area for much of my life, I feel confident that the city would have made a fine host for the events; after all, this is a convention town and that would be just "the mother of all conventions". The city is a Jewel on the Lake; too bad.

Having said that, I can say that I didn't care, one way or the other. But I thought it was in the bag for the city; so I was quite surprised when Chicago was eliminated in the first round of voting. The Daley political organization is reputed to be best at bid-rigging and election-fixing. Who goofed? Or did the city's team simply run up against some better bid-riggers than themselves; out-foxed.

Obama: weak and self-centered as usual; over-confident. (At least Mrs. O did not show up in a clown custume, as usual.) I worry that if Obama is not up to bringing home a big piece of bacon to the hometown, how can we be confident he will conduct other matters properly: like Iran; like Afghanistan; like so many others...and hello: rising unemployment numbers calling.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

I love these....

brilliant, sunshiny little faces surrounded by interesting foliage; extremely easy to grow, too.

The Butterfly Hotel is open for business--and packed!

We started, several years ago, to assist the butterfly population by nurturing the young specimens indoors. It was slow going. But this...