This is gonna hurt!

After a beautiful November bitter cold and the first snowfall of the season is heading our way. By Saturday morning they say Ladybird Lane could have five inches of that ugly, cold white stuff on the ground, and on the sidewalk, and on the driveway. :-( 11 degrees, coming at us. Brrrrrr! This is gonna hurt!

I went to the garden and dug up the remaining goodies, a big bag full of carrots and another big bag full of parsnips. They are sweet! And, there was some broccoli, kohlrabi, Swiss chard and kale hanging on. It was a very good year for gardening. I’m already looking forward to next Spring.

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Blackberry leaves

I really enjoy watching our blackberry plants grow. Over the course of the summer here at Ladybird Lane I’d say a blackberry cane grows at least 25 feet. The plant grows so fast you can practically see the canes get longer. And, the leaves are beautiful. We had a pretty heavy dew a few days ago and that gave me a chance to take the pictures.

Supersteak!

It’s been tomato season here at Ladybird Lane for about a month. They started ripening slowly, a few grape tomatoes, then some cherry tomatoes followed up by some really sweet cluster tomatoes and now the Supersteaks are ripening. Boy, oh, boy, are they big! The ones in the photo were a pound and a half each. I say “were” ‘cuz they are no longer! ;-) Anyway, I weighed them with a metric scale and that comes to 600 grams for the small one and the two larger were 650 grams. Yes, that’s just three supersteak tomatoes on a single dinner plate. You can get a dozen regular tomatoes on a dinner plate. And they are fantastic tasting especially when eaten with some salt and pepper and a thick slice of fresh mozzarella. I like putting a little olive oil on them, too, then sprinkling them with some grated Parmesan cheese, maybe some balsamico. Mmmm, mmm good! One disadvantage of the supersteaks is that they are a bit more fragile than other tomatoes. They get over ripe quickly so eat them not too long after you pick them. It’s also interesting how they grow. Instead of beginning with a small globe the supersteak begins as a small flat, ribbed button. Kinda cool.

This year I planted six different types of tomatoes, a cherry, a grape, a plum, an heirloom named Burgundy, two supersteaks and two cluster tomatoes. And then, any volunteers that decided to grow I tried to find a place for them. I love surprises. One turned out to be a San Marzano plum which makes a really nice, thick tomato paste. Anyway, they’re not ripening yet.

Meet Tommy, our new tenant at Ladybird Lane

We have a new tenant here at Ladybird Lane. This is Tommy. He gets free run of the backyard, all the bugs he can catch and all the bird seed that he can knock out of the tube feeder. He’s really clever. Honestly! I noticed a week or so ago that the tube feeder was being emptied really quickly. Tommy can’t eat directly from the feeder because it’s on a shepherd’s crook above his head. But, he can jump a bit, knock it with his beak and that lets quite a bit of seed spill onto the ground. It works for him and the squirrels seem to enjoy the leftovers. I think Tommy could go through a 50 pound bag of seed fairly quickly if I were that generous. I told my father-in-law a wild turkey had taken up residence in our backyard. He went, “Mmmm, mmmm good when roasted!” :-)

48 degrees and green!

That was this morning’s low temperature, 48 Fahrenheit. If you look at the graph from yesterday where I griped about the cold summer we’ve had so far you’ll see that the record low for July 2 is 44 F. Nonetheless, it was brisk this morning. I shouldn’t complain, though, because everything is so green.

Here’s a shot of the backyard here at Ladybird Lane. That big ol’ weeping willow tree has gone through a lot. It lost a branch in the wind a couple days ago. And the far side is totally missing since the electric company comes by ever few years and trims off the branches so they don’t interfere with the electric lines. That hole in the middle, there used to be a second huge branch, about 18 inches thick, that shot up and to the right. But, it was down on the ground when we bought the house. We’re hoping it will last for a while more. Without that willow our backyard would be naked. The little orchard there on the left of the photo, those apples, plums and cherry trees wouldn’t mind the extra sun and neither would the veggie garden on the right. But, we’d sure miss that willow.

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Sunny green eyed Susan

Getting out of the car this morning about 10 this flower popped me right in the eye. I ran into the house, grabbed the camera and had a little fun recording this rather sunny green eyed Susan. I like this flower, a variety of rudbeckia, but they often lack symmetry. I like symmetry! :-) So, this particular one really grabbed my attention.

Fabulous spirea and some tiny visitors

The spirea is blooming like crazy this week and looks just fabulous. Spirea has to be one of the most spectacular blooming shrubs. Right? Anyway, I took a few shots and after looking them over guess what I found creeping around in the flowers. Yep, some new little friends enjoying a pollen feast. Spirea flowers are not very big and these fellas are even smaller. What is that insect’s name? Nature is an amazing thing!

Bleeding hearts I look forward to seeing

The bleeding heart here at Ladybird Lane was especially nice this year. I really do love this plant. The leaves are very pretty, the branches droop so gracefully and the pink color is especially nice. And then there is the shape of the blossom. It’s one of my favorites.

Beauty even after the petals have withered and fallen

It’s getting to the end of the Spring bulb season. The tulips that were so fresh and vibrant just two weeks ago here at Ladybird Lane are now, at least from a distance, decrepit and ugly. But if one take a second look, a little closer look, there’s still a lot of beauty after the petals are withered and fallen. And, the plant is still alive preparing itself for next season and producing the next generation.

Busting out

I noticed that the medium sized allium are opening. Looking at them a bit closer it seems more like the many small florets in the bud are busting out of their cramped accommodations. Indeed, here at Ladybird Lane Spring is busting out all over.

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