Scary planet

The moon is full, Frankenstorm is arriving all along the East Coast even as I type–and it’s almost Halloween. Doesn’t this kind of feel like the intro to a badly written horror movie?

two-inch jack-o-lanternThe magnificent two-inch pumpkin.

So last night I telephoned my person in New York, a transplanted Oregonian who has lived over thirty years in Brooklyn. She laughed at my concern about the storm, and was all don’t-be-silly-it’s-nothing. I hope she’s right, but at this point I’ve a few tiny doubts.

Here in balmy rainy western Oregon I can report that the garlic fins have surfaced.

garlic fins

So I put out the Danger: No Swimming signs and we’ll just hope there’ll be no tragedies this year. (Last year a ground squirrel was lost.)

On the culinary front, Mr. O and Mr. O (his sibling) pressed some more apples.

pressing apples

We quartered the fruit then ground them up some with a hand-crank thingy and then they get smushed in the press.  Next year I want an electric grinder, there are so many apples. So far we’ve made about 3 gallons of juice and it is an incredibly yummy taste experience which is worth the effort anyway.

The bulb order arrived, and today the rain let up so Max and I planted them: 10 Anemone blanda and 5 Allium jesdianum (big purple hovercraft spheres). Very exciting.

Anemone blanda and allium bulbs

The anemone bulbs looked disturbingly like Milk Duds candy… I planted them in a little ensemble with an eastern exposure and afternoon shade, then located the allium (alien?) bulbs behind a hosta and in front of some meadowsweet in the same neighborhood. Then I put them all out of my mind until next spring. (I love surprises.)

Regarding Halloween, some sweet adult children brought us real full-sized pumpkins recently and we all had a creative slightly mad time carving and drinking beer, very festive and just exactly weird enough.


Max decided to dress up as a ghost this Halloween. Here he is in his costume, ready to haunt.  He just completely enjoys dressing up like this as shown by his rollicking expression. Then too he’s a fast learner, and you should have seen how, after just a bit of practice, he could float around, his paws never touching the floor! (He can also sit and stay, if the snack rewards are good.)

Westie in ghost costumeOkay.

Happy Halloween, or Keep Your Powder Dry, whichever is most applicable.


About linniew

Unpublished novelist seeks therapy in gardening. Westie assists.
This entry was posted in actual plants, Max the Westie and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

31 Responses to Scary planet

  1. Roberta says:

    Look how scary Max is! He should go haunting with Baby. The carved pumpkins are charming and I wish I had a few. I never put any out for fear that they will attract children. That and I can’t be trusted with large knives. I didn’t have the heart to tell you earlier, but the pumpkin seeds that you sent never transformed into pumpkins. They made it to the vine stage and then gave up the ghost to the Texas heat. I can’t blame them, coming from Oregon. I’m sure my okra wouldn’t fare well in your neck of the woods. It’s sad, nonetheless. But I am stubborn and will plant pumpkin again next year.

    • linniew says:

      The French pumpkin seeds I planted didn’t grow either Roberta– that tiny green pumpkin in the first image here is the extent of my crop this year. Still, like you, I won’t give up. Pumpkins are important, somehow…

  2. I love your apple press, wish i had one as we made apple wine and had to strain through a pillow case! Love max looking all scary, Happy Samhain to you.

    • linniew says:

      We may end up with some hard cider –could be interesting. I’ve never heard of apple wine– All your wine-making has me thinking of the grapes next year though!

  3. Home made apple juice rocks!!! Do you drink yours straight away or do you preserve it in any way? (And if so, how?)

    (We made 1100 litres, just under 300 gallons, a week and a half ago, so to us preservation is very much a matter of interest. We bottle the juice and pasteurise it so it can keep us supplied with apple juice for the entire year.)

    • linniew says:

      The plan is to drink the apple juice fresh this year–and give some to friends. I did see that post about your juice-making, amazing! We will have to learn about preserving it eventually. I know some orchardists who freeze the unpasteurized juice.

      • As long as you have the freezer capacity and limited volumes, I’d definitely recommend freezing as well; it’s the best way to preserve the taste. (Though I suspect only juice connoiseurs can tell the difference between frozen and pasteurised apple juice once it’s served up…)

  4. cynthia says:

    Homemade apple juice – how exotic! I need to try that costume on my dog Iris; I’m not sure she will take it as calmly as Max.

    • linniew says:

      Max was calm for about 4 seconds. He knows the photo-op process though, and that he always gets snacks, so he really doesn’t mind– he comes running when he sees me with the camera.

  5. Holleygarden says:

    Max looks great in that costume – I wouldn’t have recognized him at all! 😉 The jack-o-lanterns look wonderful! I assume you carved the before you had the beers! Your comment about the Milk Dud bulbs made me laugh.

    • linniew says:

      Oh Holley, if we hadn’t had the beer first and during, well then the outcomes might have been much less interesting. (We wore hard hats and no one was injured there in the kitchen.) Those bulbs totally looked like Milk Duds–ones that were past their sell-by date.

  6. Ricki Grady says:

    Just signed up and am looking forward to the occasional chuckle. Happy Boo Day to you.

  7. I’ll take a gallon of your homemade juice! I’m waiting for my order from Brent and Becky’s. I ordered too many bulbs and don’t know where I’m going to put them all. We dressed up our dauschund mix in a hot dog costume once. She was not amused but we were in hysterical tears she looked so funny. Happy Halloween!

    • linniew says:

      I kinda wish I could send you that gallon since I’m not certain we can drink all the fresh juice before it turns to hard cider…(mmm) Sure wish I could have seen your dachshund as a hotdog, must have been awesome!

  8. Fay says:

    I’ve been watching the storm reports, my USA geography is not great but have you been affected at all? I do hope your friend is OK, it look dreadful. Whilst we get those speeds of winds frequently here, we don’t have dense populations. My heart goes out to them all.

    On more atmospheric discussions, Hallo’een – Oh how Max rises to the challenge. I’ve talked to both Peedie and Haggis who don’t seem keen on dressing up, even for treats. But I’ll show them Max’s picture and tell them to ‘man up’. I did enjoy your lanterns, well done, I’m glad you wore hard hats, tricky business this carving. Speaking of which I’ve got my neep and the chainsaw, we’ll see who comes up best. As neeps are generally served with (non canine) Haggis, he’s a bit concerned, so perhaps I can convince him to dress up in disguise whilst the neep is about.

    My manchilds birthday is today, 18 no less. Hallo’een seems odd with him at college.

    • linniew says:

      Hi Fay
      The storm was on the other coast–Oregon borders the Pacific–so no issues here except some days of cancelled flights going east. I followed the storm on Twitter, very real-time and fascinating. (I learned how the television news is WAY delayed relative to online posting.)

      Max is quite the mercenary when it comes to posing for photos–maybe up the quality of treats and you’ll get the attention of the cairns. Got any filet mignon bites on hand? Actually cheese is better according to Max.

      Now I’m very worried about you and the chainsaw. Really you’ve been reading Kininvie’s blog too much! Do take care and wear a couple hard hats. Happy birthday to your child– I’m glad he’s in school but don’t we just miss them!

  9. Grace says:

    OMGosh, the storm was MASSIVE, as we all know by now. I have two colleagues located in New Jersey and they’re just devastated–okay physically but downed trees everywhere. No phone, no power… just terrible.

    Anemone blanda bulbs are bizarre looking things aren’t they? They remind me of shriveled up poop. Good luck with your hover craft alliums. I’m sure they’ll be delightful next summer.

    Here in the relatively mild PNW, we tarry on with our typical fall rains. I was REALLY terrified when I saw Max er, I mean, that “ghost.” I hope Max knows that his costume was a complete success where this onlooker is concerned.

    • linniew says:

      Yes that storm was dreadful. I understand the cutting up of fallen trees is well underway, at least in New Jersey. It will be a different world there than it was before.I like the anemone bulbs being Mild Duds better than being poop but that’s just me. 🙂 Sorry Max scared you. It’s probably just as well you didn’t see the levitation part… Happy Halloween Gracie!

  10. b-a-g says:

    Max could play a part in Great Expectations when he’s fed up of being a ghost.
    My boss talks about keeping one’s powder dry. I haven’t figured out what it means, and thought it best not to ask in case it means more work.

    • linniew says:

      Yes I have considered taking Max to Hollywood, but in truth I worry whether he could handle the stress of international fame. But b-a-g, I am so impressed that you have guns where you work–but maybe you thought that cabinet was just full of printer ink and paper…

  11. Katie says:

    Garlic fins. I like that! This morning I noticed that my peas are breaching. I was so worried this Fall when my daughter took off for a semester in Barbados. Silly me. If she hadn’t gone, she’d be in Manhattan right now. Yes, very, very scary! Happy Halloween to you, Linnie. Your teeny pumpkin and patient little white dog are so spooky!

    • linniew says:

      I will never forget “peas are breaching” — golden! Glad your child is safe! (Children–a person could just worry full time, if there weren’t so much gardening to do.) I wish you a wondrous spooky night Katie.

  12. hillions says:

    Max! What a hoot! what is that stuff on him? brilliant costuming…

    Thankfully, Frankenstorm avoided DC. Didn’t even lose TV service, which normally goes down in a drizzle. Having been warned to Stay Indoors, I did. And I have gone — appropriately — mad.

    • linniew says:

      Cabin Fever is a serious disease and can actually be fatal to gardeners–so be careful.
      Max’s costume is made of a couple yards of ectoplasm we found in the back corner of a closet. (You can find almost anything in this house if you look hard enough.)

  13. Kininvie says:

    I’ve returned from foreign parts with a very tiny neep, which I shall carve for you as a late fulfilment of the bargain, even if it is all on its own in post-Halloween melancholia….

  14. Alistair says:

    I will have to change my blogging habits as I arrive rather late for all this talk of pumpkins, neeps and halloween. Mind you I would have been annoyed with myself if I had missed Max and his rather bemused expression over his ghostly man bride outfit.

  15. Alberto says:

    I totally missed this one! The dog’s head pumpkin looked gorgeous! Normally I don’t like seasonal decorations in my house, they are a lot of work doing and a lot of sadness undoing but I like them in other people’s houses. You gave me a brilliant idea though: getting drunk and carve pumpkins with friends! Maybe I could even skip the pumpkin thing…
    Speaking of drunkenness: you are not turning that apple juice into cider, are you?

    • linniew says:

      Well Alberto I am CERTAIN that you recognized the dog-like pumpkin as a mameshiba bean, which is a character from Japan, sort of part bean and part dog, who presents bits of trivia to viewers… (The child who carved that one is currently at large in Ireland, soon to be on your continent, so watch out!)

      I agree that it’s sad to put away holiday decorations, especially after Christmas, but in the case of pumpkins they self-destruct into moldy blobs to it’s easier somehow. Oh the other hand just drinking and cooking dinner with friends might, as you say, do as well.

      Regarding cider, which I have learned is the name for apple juice gone alcoholic: I bought some commercial hard cider and didn’t like it as well as beer. Still, if some gets stored too long in the refrigerator and goes a little bubbly– oh well!

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