Autumn Days and Anniversaries

It’s the autumn equinox here in the northern hemisphere, or in simpler terms, the first day of fall. It’s also our wedding anniversary.

Today (September 23) sees the 2019 autumn equinox, the moment when the planet’s northern hemisphere swaps with the southern hemisphere to become the one furthest from the sun.

Autumn is a good time to reflect, especially in the garden. While the perennials remain robust year-round, summer annuals are closing up shop.

We had a second year of disappointing tomatoes. Despite my best efforts planting the EarthBoxes with fresh soil and fertilizer, moving them to a new location and ensuring they got full sun, production was blah. My garden mojo took a hit.

end of season tomato

Don’t be fooled. It looks juicy, but the sweetness has gone.

This stripey variety took months to set fruit. While they look interesting, I didn’t care for the thicker texture. All in all, one plant produced half a dozen tomatoes. Sigh.

stripes tomatoes

A trio of Stripey Tomatoes

This was also my first season without pumpkins. We’ve relied entirely on the squirrels to plant them each year, even if their planting methods are unconventional. By the time I fully noticed, it was too late to plant on my own.

I had brief hope. After amending the mix in a planting box with heavy, sandy soil, a few pumpkin plants appeared. It seemed unlikely that they would amount to much, but while I was traveling in July they took hold. Alas, they didn’t establish in time. Although the plants became vines and proffered a few blooms, there was no time for setting fruit.

spent pumpkin vines

Spent pumpkin flowers and vines along with other pruning debris

On a brighter note, I received this gorgeous yellow calla lily in a pot last year. Mike transplanted it for me in the front garden and it’s spreading its proverbial wings.

Yellow Canna lily, a thank you gift from FDC

It’s flowered twice and is now showing off its interesting seed pods as the plant goes dormant.

Calla lily seed pod

Calla lily seed pod

Our garden is densely planted now, requiring careful thought when a new plant joins the mix. This calla lives in the shadow of the Magnolia tree, not far from the deck. I love the cheerful display.

Nepeta or catmint

Nepeta going to seed

Nepeta, also known as catnip or catmint reseeds every year. It’s an herb, pleasing to cats, and humans alike. It produces a subtle scent in the garden unless of course, you’re a cat.

cat and nepeta

Tessa enjoying the nepeta

white cat and nepeta

Mouse the cat lounging on the nepeta

 

 

tuxedo cat in nepeta

Lindy sleeping near the nepeta

Our cats become quite possessive of the plant near the patio, though Mouse likes to visit the plant in the side yard as well. We all have our favorites.

As for anniversaries, I married this wonderful man 24 years ago today.

Celebrating then and now (Went Brothers Winery, Livermore | Winchester Mystery House fundraiser, San Jose)

It was the first day of autumn that year as we wed on the grounds of Wente Brother’s winery in Livermore. The day went by in a blur, so I’m grateful for the photographs that help solidify the memories. I’m grateful for Mike every day and for our life together.

I’m grateful for you, too, dear reader, for continuing to show up and read my posts.

Autumn in the Air, Confusion in the House

squirrel on trellis

Fall? How much time do I have to scavenge nuts and seeds?

According to my Old Farmer’s Almanac calendar, today is the first day of fall in the northern hemisphere. It’s officially known as the autumnal (fall) equinox.  It’s my favorite time of year.  Of course I say that on the first day of spring too.  I can never decide.

What’s fun when you blog, is you find yourself keeping up with people from around the world. Today I thought I was celebrating the first day of spring as well with Sarah the Gardener, The Contented Crafter, Teddy and Tottie, and the Road the Serendipity but further reading tells me that September 23rd is their official spring (vernal) equinox.

Our wedding day 19 years ago landed on the first day of fall, however it was September 23rd, not the 22nd. Now my head hurts. I checked out a couple of sites today and got differing answers:

An excerpt from Timeanddate.com says:

Fall is called autumn in many countries

Fall equinox, Northern Hemisphere:
September equinox 2014:
September 23, at 02:29 UTC

(USA & Central America, Asia, Canada, Europe, Northern Africa)

Fall equinox, Southern Hemisphere
March equinox 2015:
March 20, at 22:45 UTC

(Australia, New Zealand, South America, Southern Africa)

The Old Farmer’s Almanac website says:

In 2014, the autumnal equinox brings the fall season to the Northern Hemisphere on: September 22 at 10:29 P.M. EDT.

Math isn’t my strong point, so while trying to work this out in my head I discovered The World Clock – Time Zone Converter and now it all makes sense. Using UTC or Coordinated Universal Time, the first day of fall in California is technically September 23rd.

Happy Equinox, wherever you presently call home.

I’m going to rake a few leaves and then sit down with a hot cuppa.  All these math calculations hurt my brain.

 

Garden Log: August 9, 2011

The Autumnal Equinox is a mere six weeks away and our vegetables are showing signs of late-summer fatigue. We were excited to harvest our robust stalk of corn but knew it was best to harvest within two hours of eating for maximum sweetness.

Early August Harvest

I put a pot on to boil, but sadly we were about a week too late. The corn had already started to dry and was flavorless and tough. We’re hoping for better luck next year.

We love to plant tomatoes and pumpkins with corn as an afterthought.  Next year I think we’ll dedicate one-third of the planting beds to a block of corn to increase the likelihood of success.  This is a great primer on planting corn in small spaces: How to Grow Corn

Squirrel Food?

Tomatoes have been slow to ripen this year, due to moderate heat. We had late season rains, and cooler temps, neither of which seem conducive to their ripening. The plants are covered in green fruit, so we’ll hope for some hot days ahead.

Our sunflowers bloomed, but not before one of them reached the rooftop! It’s over nine feet tall. Magic!

Nine-Foot Sunflower

We’ve kept a close eye on our pumpkin crop, fencing off as best we could to discourage squirrels and rats. That said, we’ve noticed a recent onslaught. We harvested a few pumpkins this week after finding several partially eaten fruit. We have two exquisite white pumpkins,our first year planting the (Cotton Candy) variety and several smaller orange ones.

We also planted:

Batman Pumpkins

Dill Atlantic Giant Pumpkins (not!)

Full Moon Giant White Pumpkins

And a few leftover from last year’s carvings.

A handful of pumpkins were left to ripen on the vine. An offering of corn and partially eaten pumpkins rest on the grassy side of the fence to appease the late night snacking crowd.

Show Me Your Teeth

A gardener can dream, can’t she?

YouTube upload: A walk through our vegetable patch: Crunch, crunch, crunch…

Cotton Candy, Lumina or Full Moon Giant