To everything a season

Max and I found a round moon in our sky last night.

September moon

The nights are still too warm for the feather comforter until toward morning, when the temperature chills. But the window stays open day and night.  Actually the window is open most all nights, year-round, unless the rain is blowing in. That way I can breathe and also hear the owls calling in the woods, like they did last night.  (Mr. O doesn’t quite understand it either.)

Max

Things are changing outside.

There is food in the trees.

red apples

Many of Mr. O’s fruit trees are young, just getting going. Still, the production is remarkable for as little trouble as they are. (They make the vegetable garden seem like gardener abuse.)

green apple

The apples come in different colors.

prune orchard

He has created an orchard of prunes and plums. The leaves already golden on the ground are from a poplar behind The Photographer.  (Surprise, that’s me!)  The lowest leaves on these fruit trees are kept mowed upward by our friends the deer, nice and level at exactly the height of deer teeth.  Small young trees must be netted against becoming limbless.

This year there are a few fruits on the prune trees in this orchard. But we have a much older Italian prune tree we planted closer to the house, about twenty years ago.

prunes

It is situated along the picket fence, and it produces quite a lot of fruit. I like that the fruit is blue, in addition to being a good snack.

My grandma had a prune tree in her garden, when I was a child.

MFM

This is Grandma in about 1914. (She was a seamstress and I’m sure she made the dress.)

My most vivid memories of her are when she was old and widowed.  In her garden, under the walnut tree, there was a couch swing with a canopy, and she had an enormous Cecile Brunner rose that grew over her chickenhouse.  And she grew pinks in a long planter. (I’m certain she made a gardener of me–thanks Grandma!)

prune treeAnyway, this shows our older prune tree, the very productive one, inside the fenced yard area.  (Just beyond that picket fence is the new prune orchard as shown above with the tractor.)

If we let the prunes get too ripe some kind of bug moves in, so we eat them early. (Perhaps the bug is already in there even then but we can’t see it so it’s ok.)

pears

There’s a Bartlett pear tree in the yard too. It is about the most dependable fruit tree we have, and produces pears every year. Sometimes I preserve them in jars, but mostly we eat them as they ripen.

We planted the pear tree, and really most all of our trees, except for the ancient oaks. And now they are all so grown that we have a great deal of lovely shade.  Still the grass is dying in places, because there is now Summer Heat (about 90 degrees F. off and on) and  I am not watering grass, just gardens. We get our water from a well, and the quality is wonderful but there isn’t a lot to spare.

grapes

The grapes aren’t ripe but they are in the arbor, hanging among the leaves like ornaments. (Well yes, there were grapes in Grandma’s garden too.)

I heard that dogs aren’t supposed to eat grapes, but Max always gets a few when they fall. Maybe that’s why he’s the weird little dog that he is.

In other news, the basil is still producing, in the greenhouse where it lives all summer in pots.

basil plants

The pesto, made with basil and garlic and olive oil, gets frozen in little jars.

tomato

Now we finally have tomatoes to eat with fresh basil too.

sunflowerAnd my last-ditch sunflower planting produced another miniature plant with a two-inch bloom.  But it’s pretty.

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About linniew

Unpublished novelist seeks therapy in gardening. Westie assists.
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44 Responses to To everything a season

  1. Wonderful productivity in a magical atmosphere.

    Esther

  2. Alberto says:

    At least this sunflower looks good. Finally.
    My basil has gone irremediably in bloom. Plants have wooden stems, at the base, like a shrub. Leaves are falling and the taste is no longer as good as a few weeks ago. I keep mine in the garden though. It looks smart to keep it in the greenhouse and maybe have more batch during summer?

    BTW, the real pesto has parmesan and pine nuts too, you knew that, didn’t you?

    • linniew says:

      I’ve grown two plantings of basil in the greenhouse this year. I find it’s much more dependable than when I grow it out in the rain and I have it earlier and later in the season too.

      Yes I know about the pine nuts and parmesan, I used to always make it that way. I’ve learned to like the pesto without pine nuts– they are very expensive here and nowhere near local– and I put grated cheese with the pesto when I’m cooking with it.

  3. Greggo says:

    I tried making some pesto. Tasted like weed salad, if you’d ever had that. Terrible.

  4. Sheila says:

    Mr. O may not understand about needing to hear the owls in the woods, but I do …

    I am jealous of all your fruit – my garden has dogwood berries and winterberryberries. I’ve never tried eating them, but perhaps they’d make a lovely jam.

    That tomato is so red it looks fake.

    • linniew says:

      Dear Sheila-who-appreciates-owls (yay),
      I’m sort of afraid of our fruit because I know some day I will have fruit-guilt about needing to preserve it all. So far it’s not a problem. Actually I’m thinking of promoting the idea of making cider to use up apples.

      Regarding the tomato, I can see why a person might question the reality of that red. And, regardless of my occasional problems controlling my imagination I assure you Sheila that a) it’s a real tomato b) I didn’t alter the color digitally and c) it’s gone now because I picked it right after the photo and we ate it up.

  5. kininvie says:

    Hi Linnie, I’m getting to learn a lot about Americanisms. On this side of the pond we grow plums – prunes are what you get when you dry them. But that’s beside the point. Most of my plums have just blown off the tree thanks to the remains of your hurricane….the bantams will enjoy them though. But don’t talk to me about fruit trees….that’s a MAJOR disappointment in my world. In fact my apples are on a par with your sunflowers. I’m too ashamed even to put up a post about them. So I shall just have to envy your fruit from afar.

    • linniew says:

      Hi Kininvie
      Glad to see you haven’t blown away today. I hope your trees all get through the storm too. Now please remind me why it’s MY hurricane.

      Here we have fresh prunes and dried prunes and plums and I have no idea what defines a fresh prune vs a fresh plum. But a plum by any other name etc etc. Maybe you should ask Alberto since the prunes tend to be called Italian prunes. (responsibility successfully shirked)

      Now, regarding the Secret Chickens. Really I don’t see how you could have written all those posts I’ve enjoyed and never ONCE mentioned anything about the bantams. I love bantams. We used to have two, Mr. & Mrs. Bailey, black cochins. And there were big red hens too and brown eggs. I am about this close (tiny space) to getting chickens again myself. (Just as soon as Mr O gets rid of the dead Volvo so I can move my garden tools out of the chicken-house– but don’t get me started on that.) You know, as Roberta says, it’s all about the chickens.

      Envy my fruit? Boy, ever since you went to that Croatian site…

      • kininvie says:

        Well since you did a cannon post I might consider a bantam post, although I try to keep my blog on topic…although I suppose there may be a tangential manure-related link…?
        It’s YOUR hurricane because it started on YOUR side of the globe but forgot where it was supposed to go. We have quite enough to contend with in Scotland already, thank you, without having to add misdirected hurricanes to the list. Kindly keep them where they belong.

        I shall ignore your comments about fruit-envy. You need to lay off Sterne for a week or two if you ask me. It’s catching. I already have enough trouble with Alberto wondering what I wear when chain-sawing. Now I find I can’t even ask if you grow melons without being taken amiss…….

        • linniew says:

          Dear Kininvie,
          I sense a certain tension. Too many hurricanes maybe.
          A few responses: 1) YOUR hurricane originated on the East coast of my country which is really very far away from MY house– 2000 miles or so! God knows what’s going on back there– or how to contain it. 2) My blog is totally on topic, on MY topic, whatever that happens to be. 3) You did not say melons! (I think I must just go read a little Sterne now, to help me forget…) You may wish to spend a few idle hours (who needs sleep?) considering something more acceptible, like perhaps your post concerning garden chickens, which live right there by your garden developing rich manure for gardening. –And if Alberto asks inappropriate questions, well, maybe ask him about prunes.

  6. You have a lot of variety with all the fruit. My husband had a dog that ate grapes. I did not know they are bed for them. I would love to hear owls, or even see them.

    • linniew says:

      I guess grapes aren’t bad for dogs, according to Max. We have a variety of owls, based upon the calls I hear. One morning we found a young white barn owl in our fireplace. He came down the chimney in the night and was clinging to the screen, which just sits front of the fireplace opening. We opened a window and Mr O lifted the screen toward the window and the owl flew away…

  7. Chad B says:

    I really enjoyed your post. Your photos really captured a nostalgic mood for me. Maybe it had something to do with the Italian prune tree . . . we had one of those in the backyard of my childhood home. My best friend and I would sit on the lowest limbs and eat the prunes within reach. There was something magical about the blue skin of the fruit and how it would change colors when you rubbed your fingers across it.

    By the way, I had heard about grapes and raisins (especially) being harmful for dogs but it sounds like they need to eat a lot of grapes before they get kidney failure. Raisins, on the other hand, can be quite potent. http://www.snopes.com/critters/crusader/raisins.asp

    • linniew says:

      Hi Chad
      You are so right that blue prunes change color that way. I loved the description of your memories. And I followed the raisin link– yikes! Sounds like I better be more vigilant with grapes, but raisins are really bad! Thanks for the tip. And for coming by to visit.

  8. Grace says:

    Your red apple photo is quite possibly the nicest I’ve ever seen of red apples hanging on a tree. I don’t question for a second its authenticity, nor the tomato’s. You would never “lie” to your readers. Hasn’t this weather, well last week’s weather, been wonderful for ripening the fruit? We’re eating ripe tomatoes now and loving them. A few pears too. We used to have a delicious plum tree but one year aphids from all over the globe descended upon it and turned it white. Bye, bye plum tree. … We’ve always slept with our bedroom window open. I’ve got a sweet little water feature right outside in my courtyard and the trickling water lulls me to sleep. Or at least this is the idea. I’d love to hear owls.

    • linniew says:

      Hello Grace– Thank you for the apple appreciation, I will pass it on to Mr O, the orchard person here. And I hugely thank you for your confidence in my honesty. It is quite vexing how I must deal with Kininvie and then there was that tomato issue with dear Sheila (I know you didn’t mean it Sheila!) so having your trust is such a relief. The story of the aphids reminds me of that Hitchcock bird movie, very frightening, hope to avoid it. Sometimes owls live in cities… ps. So proud of your essay being published!!!

  9. Your harvest garden is filled with goodies! I really enjoyed the tour.

  10. I am so jealous of all your fruit. We tried apple trees and they never produced. We do have paw paws, which are delicious if we can beat the racoons to them.

    • linniew says:

      I have never in my life even seen a paw paw! It seems like we used to sing an old song about them at school when I was about seven… I hope they are great eating! (Racoons eat our cherries too, if the birds leave any.)

  11. Alistair says:

    Your greenhouse looks fabulous, Max is cute and oh to hear the owls, but how very special, a round moon! I would like to leave the bedroom window open, but would probably catch pneumonia. Seems to me you have a way with words, I will need to cross the Atlantic and sort out your would be publisher.

    • linniew says:

      Our winter temperatures are milder here than at your house in Scotland, hence the window option. (In our occasional ice or snow I must admit the window slams shut and the next quilt goes on.) And oh Alistair, any time you want to sort me out a publisher (or even a book agent) please feel free to do it! Max sends a cheerful wag to his genetic homeland…

  12. NHGarden says:

    Great fruit! Love the doorway picture!!!

  13. I really enjoyed my romp around your orchard. I always dreamed of having my own and the blanket of leaves around the trunks looked awesome.

    • linniew says:

      Hi Patrick, & welcome! I’m glad you enjoyed Mr. O’s orchard; it is his pride and joy. I agree that fallen leaves on the ground are cool looking. It is lovely to feel the season turning.

  14. Angie Case says:

    Your porch is absolutely gleaming under Max’s bum! I think a new pic of the house is in order, after all, you’ve spent all summer painting it! I wonder if I could get pear trees to grow here? I miss leaving windows open all year but that would be more than foolhardy with our snows! Linnie, honey, dig the little black sunflowers out of the birdseed and give them a try. It’s way cheaper, you can scatter them in several locations and give that a try next season. I sure have been happy with the results! That tractor in the orchard is a thing of beauty! Please tell Mr. O, I like his ride! Blessings to you dear friend. Have a wonderful Autumn!

    • linniew says:

      Hi Angie! Wow I just visited your blog, all about the pyrate party, fire dancing and all, the event of the season– I loved the photos!

      Yes I will photograph the house as soon as Mr O gets the downspouts up and then the scaffold down. I am very happy with the transformation. And I have certainly heard your recommendation about using birdseed for the sunflowers. I will try it! I usually buy some seed for the birds in the frozen days of winter and I’ll just steal some of the sunflower seed out of it. Keep celebrating Angie, you are really good at it!

  15. b-a-g says:

    Linnie – The tractor in your orchard caught my eye too. I can imagine Mr.O and Max riding round and round the orchard on it, till you call them in for dinner.

    • linniew says:

      That tractor gets a lot of use b-a-g, mostly mowing but also grading the gravel road and lifting things like rocks and logs. And you are right, Mr. O does like to drive it around in the orchard, but Max stays clear of it except when it’s parked.

  16. Fay says:

    Ester is so right how magical it all is. Even the peedie sunflower – can’t imagine a place where the windows are open the whole time and orchards abound.

    Your grannie looks lovely 🙂

    Max of course has to keep guard on the porch – what a clever little dog – Peedie tips his hat to him.

    • linniew says:

      Hi Fay- As I get older I can see ever more clearly how my much my grandma influenced me, which makes the concept of grandchildren increasingly interesting. Max sends warm regards to Peedie –he wishes they could chase squirrels together or something.

  17. I enjoyed your gardening season’s presentation and the garden products that go with it. Splendid work!

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