Olio: a miscellaneous collection of things

We are seeing and feeling very mild symptoms of other’s woes. The smoke from wildfires of the west has extended beyond the east coast, I have read, all the way to Europe. We are a few hundred miles west of the east coast, but this was our sun yesterday early evening.

That is not light cloud cover, it is smoke in the upper atmosphere. We can’t smell it and I don’t think it has affected our air quality but it is devastating to think of the infernos that can produce enough smoke to haze the skies of the east coast and beyond. Today we are getting the very outer bands of what was Hurricane Sally that deluged and flooded the Gulf Coast. We have no wind and mostly light rain which is welcome. After a very wet summer, it turned dry and it hasn’t rained in a couple of weeks, crisping the falling leaves, those ones that drift down before the Autumn colors begin, still a month or so off.

The recommendation is not to leave houseplants out when the temperatures fall below about 45f. It hasn’t gotten there yet, but the next few nights dip into the low 40’s to upper 30’s. The larger plants will be gathered near the door and covered with a sheet or large plastic bag, the succulents have been returned to their winter locations in front of the south facing French doors and the kitchen window sill. They will probably go back outside in a week or so when this hint of fall passes. There are two large hanging planters of Spider Plant. I may cut the babies and root them to restart those pots next year and let the winter cold kill off the parent plants. They are awkward to bring in to the house for the winter and look pretty scraggly now anyway. There is no threat of frost, which would be record breakingly early, so I’m not concerned about the vegetable garden, it should have another month or more of growing time. For our Anniversary last February, hubby gave me a thimble sized rose in a little Lady Bug holder. When it finished blooming, I repotted it into an 8″ ceramic pot and it has lived on the back deck steps all summer and has produced two or three blooms repeatedly. I need to plant it in a garden bed so it has time to produce a good root system before the first frost. I fear if I bring it back in for the winter, I will lose it. The grape vine that was stripped of all of it’s leaves is fighting back and not ready to settle in for the winter.

There are new leaves coming out all over the vines. I’m sure as soon as they get any size on them, the midnight marauders will find them again and strip it bare. It wouldn’t be difficult to run the hot wire out around the plum and grape vines, but would make mowing that area more difficult and I would have to develop a new habit to change my path to the chicken coop and then be careful not to back into it when gathering eggs. Maybe I could use step in posts and turn off the solar battery when I need to mow and just move the wire temporarily, that is if we ever get our mowers back from the repair shop.

After thinking that the winter had killed my fig planted last year, it has grown vigorously and is now about 4 feet tall and full. Before frost, I will shelter it better than last year. Last year I filled a wire ring around it with old hay, but that wasn’t enough. When it loses it’s leaves, I will hammer in 4 T-posts and use the translucent corrugated plastic that is on the failing chicken tractor to build a temporary greenhouse around it then fill that with hay and cover the top with burlap or an empty feed sack. I really want it to produce next year. On the driveway hill, we planted forsythia, lilacs, peonies, a dogwood, and a crepe myrtle at least a dozen years ago. The crepe myrtle has never done anything, looking like a foot tall mass of twigs, until this year. This year it actually grew to about 6 feet and bloomed. If the weather prognosticators are correct, we are going to have a wet, mild winter. If that is true, I should get figs next year, another sign of the climate change that so many deny is occurring. Maybe my grandchildren will be planting olives and citrus in the mountains of Virginia when they are my age.

When walking up to the mailbox yesterday, I saw my first “woolly bear” caterpillar on the driveway. As legend goes, the longer the black band, the colder and snowier the winter and if the tail end is black, the end of winter will be colder. He was less than a quarter black on the head end, so if I were to believe in his prediction, the weather prognosticators are correct.

When I posted yesterday about returning to my beginnings on spinning, I failed to post a photo I had taken.

The top skein is my very first spindle spun yarn. At two ply, it is a gnarly, knobby 2 or 3 wraps per inch. The red skein below is the most recent spindle spun skein I made, it is smooth, even, and 24 wraps per inch. I will never give up that first skein.

I would love to hear your comments on this post.