Thursday, September 24, 2015

A Project, Book Review, & Mums

I've been wanting to have a gourd tree for a very long time.
People have used bottleneck gourds for years as birdhouses.
They hang them to attract purple martins which control the
insects. My intent at this point is for yard decoration, setting
close to my potting shed. I've been saving gourds for a number 
of years, buying a few every fall. Here's my method for drying 
them. I kept them in the garage on newspaper rotating them
frequently and checking for any signs of rotting. As the gourd
ages it will begin to mold. Don't worry about that, it's ok. 
Make a solution using 1 part bleach and 10 parts water. Wipe
down the gourd thoroughly with this solution, then allow to
dry. They'll need about 2-4 months of drying time. Throw
out any overly soft or moldy ones. You'll be able to tell. If
the garage becomes to cold, use the basement or attic. To
check the gourd to see if it ready, give it a good hard shake.
If the seeds rattle, you're good to go. You may need to sand 
it down a little to clean it up. Once dried out I just stored
them until I had enough for my gourd tree. A neighbor
supplied us with a couple of good size tree limbs. Ron cut 
and screwed them together, (we use screws at our house no
nails.) He then attached it to the fence with screws. See the 
top picture. Ron attached the gourds with wire if they had a 
long neck, and for the little ones he drilled 2 holes at the top, 
running the wire through and then wrapped the wire around
the tree limb. I still need to spray a water sealant for weather
protection. Sam was visiting and of course had to be part of
this project, he so likes to help. Looks great, and just what I
wanted. Thanks Ron and Sam.

Here is a delightful book….warmhearted, spirited and loving.
The title, Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good by Jan Karon.
The tenth book in the Mitford series, this engaging fiction book 
does not disappoint. Father Tim an Episcopal priest retired, 
and his wife Cynthia, return to Mitford after a trip to Ireland. 
Five years gone from the pulpit, Father Tim quickly finds himself 
back into the swing of Mitford life and struggling. The many 
characters are quirky, sad, troubled, comical, and bighearted,
just like real life. It's a feel good book without being too sugary.
The title itself draws you in, after all isn't that where we all want 
to be. This book was written a few years after the author had 
decided to end the series but the fans deluged her with pleas for 
more. You can pick up and read this book without having read 
the others. Step into this book, lose yourself for a few hours and
have no regrets having done so. Loved this series, thumbs up.

So many beautiful mums are available right now for seasonal
display. Color choices range from the whites and yellows to 
purple, reds, bronze, and coral shades. They can coordinate
with any color scheme. Hardy mums come in different varieties
and sizes. You may want to keep it just for the season or plant
for repeat blooming. 

If planting mums as perennials, it's better to plant in the spring. 
This will allow the roots a chance to get established, and  will 
help in over-wintering and reblooming the next year. Plant in 
a sunny area and plant 6-12 inches apart in well-drained soil. 
Water frequently. Plant in masses of one color for a beautiful
fall display. Protect the mums before winter by using extra 
mulch to cover. Don't prune until the following spring and 
fertilize well to encourage blooming. If they produce spring 
blooms pinch them back to allow for summer growth and 
encourage fall flowering. Garden mums can be divided every 
2-3 years in the spring or fall. If using mums only for this 
season as an annual, it's as simple as finding a container or 
basket or just leave them in the same pot and water well 
every day as needed.  

Attended the Country Living Fair in Columbus, Ohio last 
Friday and Saturday with Ron and daughter Shakira and
her husband Mark. Lots to see and buy, lots of people and
lines but it was tolerable and we had a great time. I think
I showed great restraint with my purchases. I enjoyed 
looking at the decorated RV's (think Glamping) and there
was a lot of cooking and craft demonstrations. From
furniture, jewelery, miniature gardens and lots of fall items
for decorating this was the place to be on a beautiful autumn

"Shine On, Shine On Harvest Moon."
It will be happening. Take note also for a lunar eclipse on 
September 27th. Listen to the weatherman on TV for details.

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