Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Rain On the Way and Other Ramblings

It isn't raining yet, but the clouds moved in last night. They are low and heavy with moisture. The forecasted rain is expected to be torrential and flood watches and warnings are already posted. One thing I've noticed about the Mother: When she breaks a drought, she does so in a big way.

Shady Hollow is high enough on the hillside as to be safe from flooding. We may have water in the lower gardens where the Fairies live. If so I'll take some pictures and post here. Maybe I'll be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of a Fairy as I take the pictures.

I'm taking life easy this morning as I wait for the rain. The hours I've been putting in at work give me a "reason" to take it easy in my view. That's my excuse anyway.

In the weekly meeting at my work yesterday the emphasis was on H1N1 prevention and what to do if we or a member of our household comes down with it. In a nutshell: Stay Home. Even if it is a family member who is sick; stay home and do not come back until they are better. I was glad to hear that. I had worried, for if my husband became ill I was afraid I would have to face down angry bosses in order to stay home with him. With his health as precarious as it is, I would not dare leave him home alone if he were sick.

Now I have to convince my husband to forego some of our outings and stay away from the possibility of catching the virus. Not as easy a task as facing down those bosses would have been. He lives for his "get out of the house" days.

A gentle rain has started falling. My coffee cup is empty. With that I'll move from this comfy chair and see what has to be done this morning. Then I'm going to take it easy some more.

Be Blessed.

Monday, October 26, 2009

My Days Are Running Together

It is Monday, right?

I'm having an issue with days starting to run together. I just worked a 7-day week for my employer and now its Monday morning, but it feels like. . . I don't know. I'm a little foggy.

Early this year about half our workforce was permanently laid off. Now that work has picked up we are all having to hustle and make sacrifices to get the work out on time. I'm eternally grateful that I was not laid off last winter. The extra pay will come in handy. But, I'm tired.


Monday, October 19, 2009

Frosty Monday

It's a frosty morning at Shady Hollow. A few plants were nipped yesterday, but with the temperature hovering at 30 degrees I expect more to succumb this morning.

The garden spot is bare; a light covering of poplar leaves lies where the zucchini, green beans and tomatoes flourished only a short time ago.

Yesterday I spent time uploading and sorting through pictures taken this summer and summers past. Earlier this year I bought Photoshop Elements 7 to use in working with my photos. Gardening and sick cats took up so much of my time that I have done little toward learning the program. After creating the little movie I posted yesterday, I found more photos still on the cameras that didn't get included. My mistake, but my little movie is a good reminder of how things looked this summer.

As soon as we have a cold enough night to kill back to foliage, I'll be taking up the cannas and putting them in winter storage. Eventually I'll get the leaves mowed and put in the compost pile. Then we'll batten down the hatches and wait out winter while dreaming of spring.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Shady Hollow Flowers 2009 Video


Cold and Windy

It's a cold and windy October morning. The temperature is hovering in the high 30's and the wind has knife blades that cut through your clothing and chill you to the bone. We have a frost warning out for tonight with temperatures expected to be at the freezing mark or below.

Between the rain and wind our poplar trees are almost bare. We can now see across the creek into the bottom land beyond to the pond. That view is completely hidden during summer by thick foliage.

The house plants are all safely inside, and are being nibbled and trimmed by the cats, who then promptly get sick from their efforts. I need to buy stock in a paper towel company.

However cold and windy it gets, the little cottage is warm and cozy. The cats are racing around being encouraged by the sound of the wind.

Besides my daily chores I think I will spend some time today organizing the flower photos I took this year. Such a short time ago all were in full bloom. Now they are dying back, waiting for that first freeze and resting time.

Friday, October 16, 2009

New Gardening Toys

I've been using electrically powered gardening tools for several years. My tool shed sports two electric chain saws, an electric trimmer/edger and leaf blower. All these tools have made my hillside much easier to maintain as I've grown older. Their limitation is the length of power cord and the hassle of dragging the cord around.

After the untimely demise of my electric trimmer I decided to replace it with a battery powered unit made by Black & Decker. The battery powered trimmer is actually lighter in weight than the electric powered one was and I have much more freedom of movement. It is a joy to not be dragging many feet of electrical cord around and constantly pulling it unplugged as I work.

I was so impressed by the battery powered trimmer that I went today and bought a Black & Decker battery powered leaf blower. The one I chose uses the same type battery as my trimmer, giving me an extra battery for each. I used it this afternoon to blow off the front patio, driveway and parking area, and back deck. By the time I finished the battery was growing noticeably weak. It didn't matter, as I had managed to clear off all the areas I was concerned about.

I really like the battery powered trimmer and leaf blower. Both are extremely easy to use. The batteries are easy to change and lock securely in place. I am very pleased with being freed from the dragging power cord. As much as I like these products, there are drawbacks. The batteries run low long before I am through working. I take that as an opportunity to take a short break while I change the battery, but if I was in a hurry to complete the job I might become more annoyed.

The length of use before the batteries die is sufficient for a smaller property. Most homeowners would have no problem getting their chores finished before giving out of power.

I will probably invest in a light weight gas or another electric trimmer next year as some of the areas I trim are beyond the capabilities of the battery powered unit. I am not sorry I bought either of these products though; they are welcomed additions to my gardening arsenal.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Confessions of an Avid Seed Collector

My husband used to get embarrassed at my passion for seed collecting. We could be walking along Hendersonville's main street and instead of window shopping, I would be checking out the huge planter boxes that line the streets. Oh sure, the flowers were beautiful. I enjoyed them each summer when we would go uptown. During fall I would be scanning for seed pods.

My neighborhood walks, trips to the bank and other establishments are also prime seed collecting opportunities. A few baggies in my purse are all that's needed.

The end result of all this covert seed collecting is growing all around Shady Hollow. Red Barberry, Rose of Sharon, Purple Coneflower, Lambs Ear, Hosta, Daylilies', the list goes on. I also save seed from annuals and perennials growing at Shady Hollow for use the next year.

I started seed collecting when I had little cash to spare for buying seeds or plants. It is now part of who I am as a gardener. I am always on the lookout for seed pods wherever I go. It is a fun and potentially beautiful scavenger hunt.

Sunday, October 11, 2009


As I have grown older time seems to fly past at warp speed. I was checking back over previous entries to this blog and realized it had been 8 months since I started writing about the gardens, cottage, and myself.

The summer of vegetables and flowers has moved into the season of leaves to rake and mulch to put down. My instincts tell me that we will have more snow this year than last. I foresee some cold and blustery days ahead. Days when the wind sings its song of movement; moving the air across the land as time moves toward the next spring. I do not like cold weather. I do know it is a necessary thing. In a gardening sense, some seeds will not sprout if they have not been subjected to the days of winter cold. There could be a lesson for us there.

When we lived a simpler life, closer to the land and nature, winter meant time to rest from farming. It was time to live off the food stored from that farming with the addition of meat from livestock and hunting. Growing up on a farm, I knew it would not be until the first very cold days that the hogs and chickens would be slaughtered and meat processed and stored. The remainder of the time was spent staying warm and doing necessary chores.

Times have changed and we spend all year enjoying the ability to travel. We eat most anything we want (if we can afford it). Heating does not involve the hard work of cutting and gathering in wood for the fire as it once did. We have, in this country at least, a soft lifestyle. The season's passing does not hold the significance it once did.

The first day of autumn slid past last month and from that day until the winter equinox the hours of daylight will grow shorter. Shorter days and the position of the sun signal birds and animals that migrate that it's time to move on. The days grow shorter as the powers of the night take hold.

We are only weeks from Samhain, or Halloween to non-pagan folk. Samhain is our highest Holy day, our Pagan New Year. It is a time when the Veil is thin and spirits walk the Earth, or at least peek across the Veil to see how we are doing. It is the time to honor our dead and especially to remember those who have crossed the Veil in the last year. It is both a solemn and happy time.

The autumn colors are as beautiful as the first green of spring. The snow and ice covered trees have their own special beauty as winter wraps them in her icy garb. Soon the heat of summer will be a faint memory as we rush to get out of the cold. We must always remember that beneath the snow and ice, safe from the cold winds, next year's life awaits the coming of spring.

And the Silver Wheel turns.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


Plants & Gardening

It's about time to bring the houseplants inside for the winter. I dread it. First of all there's the 'where in the world will I put them all' issue. Secondly, there's the "will the cats totally destroy them within the first half-hour' issue. Thirdly since I'm bringing in the houseplants, winter must be near and that is depressing.

I brought the African violets inside and put them in my cat-free plant room last weekend. I've had those violets for over 20 years, so they are part of the family. They have been delegated to the plant room because of the cats. In times past, before the cat population grew to such large proportions (thank you, Precious), the violets spent all year in the kitchen and living room windows. Nibbling African violets is not good for kitties, and these kitties nibble every green thing they see. So, down to the plant room the violets went.


The kitties are disappointed that the hummingbirds are gone. They lost their primary entertainment when the flock left to fly south. They still have the squirrels and chipmunks to watch, and are still in the aforementioned windows much of the day.

Tigger is feeling poorly the last few days. If you read the cat's blog you know he has had health issues all summer. I have accepted the fact he may not stay on this side of the veil for many years. That makes me sad, for he has a wonderful personality and is very loving. Looking into my crystal ball, I see another trip to the vet in my future.

Friends and Family

My brother-in-law passed away Sunday, his funeral is tomorrow. He was 92 years old. My sister passed away three years ago at age 86. My nephew took care of them both and is alone now. He has been caring for his parents for so many years that I'm sure he is feeling lost right now. My heartfelt prayers go out to him. I know from my own experience that caring for a sick or disabled loved one becomes the biggest part of your life. Everything else comes in second. I dread the day when I walk in the shoes my nephew wears today.

My best friend's husband is very ill with sepsis of the blood. He is in intensive care and on life support for nearly a week now. He has suffered severe rheumatoid arthritis since his 20's and the years of fighting RA and the toxic waste medications taken for it have taken their toll on his body. He is only 58 years old.

Shady Hollow

Standing firm and solid, the little cottage awaits the winter chill. She welcomes me home each night with a sense of peace. To drive between her guardian oaks and down into the hollow brings a sense of safety that makes my heart sing. Home! Home again and away from the spiraling craziness of the outside world.

I pause sometimes to read again the welcome plaque by the front door, "Welcome to Shady Hollow, my friend; a place not a place; no beginning, no end. . ." I "borrowed" the poem from Dorothy Morrison. I removed the name of her home and replaced it with mine. It just seemed to fit. Shady Hollow is a magical place, hidden from view for most of the year. Protected by the Unseen and loved by many. The bond I have with this place cannot be described or explained. It is a spiritual connection between me and the Spirits-of-the Land.


So ends the post containing and little of this and a bit of that. Be blessed.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Getting Stuff Done

Today I set out to get some things done in the gardens. I had great plans that soon went awry. First order of the day was to finally weed eat around the back door and veggie garden. After all those wonderful veggies were harvested and either eaten, frozen, or given away I sort of neglected that area. It showed! The grass and weeds had a field day while I was occupied with other projects (read that blogging and work).

First chore, dig that weed eater out of the garden shed; second, string the electric cord from the deck to back yard; third, weed eat. It all went well, to a point. That point being when the weed eater stopped working. Since I am prone to get it unplugged while working, I checked my connection. Nope, it was plugged in. Ah Ha, there were vines wrapped around the shaft. I got out my trusty pocket knife and cut the tightly wrapped vines from the weed eater. "Now!," I thought as I hit the 'on' switch. Nothing happened. Hmmm, "Well maybe it came unplugged up at the house", I thought to myself, as I headed up the hill.

There was nothing wrong with the deck connection. Jim dismantled the weed eater and did some tinkering with the engine and wiring. After all that it still didn't work. We've had it for awhile, so time for another one I guess. When Jim apologized for not getting it fixed, I told him not to worry, I had shrubbery to plant. Of course I had to decide just where the shrubs were going to be planted. (I've only had all summer to figure all that out.)

I enlisted Jim's help in deciding where the babies should be planted. It is easier to please a spouse before you dig the hole than after. I learned that one the hard way.

After the 'where to plant' decision was mutually agreed on, I had to find my shovel. I couldn't. I did find the other shovel, the flat edge one, which was okay, because I had a chore to do that required the flat edge shovel. I did that chore while trying to remember where I had put the pointed shovel. (Senior Moment)

Upon remembering where the preferred shovel was (the compost pile), I set about planting the shrubbery. All were grown from seed and raised in nursery pots for the last two years. By late afternoon I had transplanted a red barberry bush, four Rose-of-Sharon bushes, and about six hosta.

I also found time to cut some wild grapevines and honey suckle from my forsythia bushes; and I pulled that pesky English Ivy from places I do not want it to grow.

It may be rainy tomorrow, but I got most of the pressing chores done today. If it doesn't rain, I have seed to collect from begonia, cleome, impatiens, and other flowering plants. If it does rain, we may just go on over to Home Depot and look at weed eaters.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Kreativ Blogger Award

I would like to thank Michel at Pumpkins and Toadstools awarding Shady Hollow the Kreativ Blogger Award. I appreciate it very much. The 'rules' for the award are listed below:

  1. Thank the person who gave this to you.
  2. Copy the logo and place it on your blog.
  3. Link the person who nominated you.
  4. Name 7 things about yourself that no one would really know.
  5. Nominate seven 'Kreativ Bloggers'
  6. Post links to the seven blogs you nominate
  7. Leave a comment on each of the blogs letting them know you nominated them.

Seven things about me that aren't known to most people are:

  1. I learned to shoot a rifle at age 3
  2. I was adopted twice, giving me 3 mothers & fathers
  3. My favorite comfort food is peanut butter
  4. I can 'smell' snow before it arrives
  5. I don't like the dark
  6. I over-salt my food
  7. I rode motorcycles when I was younger

My seven nominations are some wonderfully creative people with blogs I enjoy reading and draw inspiration from.

  1. Wyld Chyld's World
  2. Paucis Verbis
  3. Divinely Designed
  4. All God's Creatures
  5. Instant grits and ukulele's
  6. House of the (Mostly) Black Cats
  7. Eclectic Catladyland

This has been fun and I am very pleased to have been given the award.