Saturday, November 10, 2007

Fall Yard Work

Callie was driving me crazy on Friday morning begging me to play with her sock and ropes, over and over, and when not doing that, nosing around in the fireplace for charcoal to eat or licking the bases of the lamps. Aaaaagh!

Our four square garden plots are tilled up for the winter (with the exception of part of one which is the perennial herb garden). Ken did that before he left for the US.

So I decided that we needed to go outdoors and get some work done. It was about 7.5ºC (mid 40s F), but I was determined. So was Callie.

Callie heads for me under the big apple tree.

She barked at me as I used the rake to level a few mole hills. She barked at me while I rolled the wheelbarrow around to pick up a few stray apples, then she barked at me when I got the lawnmower out of the shed and attached the grass catcher to it. I did throw an apple around the yard for her to chase a few times. About the third time she sat down and ate it.

You can see the before/after effect here along the line of our hazelnut trees. All those suckers around their bases need to be cut off before spring. More work to do.

So I got one section, the largest section, of the yard mowed. The mowing needed to be done, but it gave me the added bonus of mulching up the fallen leaves so I don't have to rake them. I hate raking. And I put the mulched leaves and clippings into the garden to decompose.

Another view of the row of hazelnut trees, looking east.

I still have two more sections of yard to do, but they will either get done or they won't. I'll see how I feel this afternoon and tomorrow and what the weather does. Still, as messy as things are out there right now, the place looks pretty, at least to my eyes. And it feels good to get something done out there.

Outside the back gate, the vines have lost most of their leaves. The growers are out there pruning and burning already.

I came indoors just as the bread lady got here. I put a chicken leg on to braise with carrots, celery, onion, white wine, and spices for my lunch. I finished it off in the oven with the leftover potato gratin I did a few days ago. I was amazed at how good it turned out to be.

My chicken leg with carrots and celery and leftover potatoes. Boy, it was spicy and good!

After, I had some leeks in vinaigrette, then a piece of tomme noire, followed by an applesauce muffin for dessert. Yum!

This morning's low temperature was 4.3ºC (around 38ºF), and it's overcast. There's a decent north wind blowing and it feels colder than it really is. Wind chill, I guess. I got bundled up and ventured out in the early light with Callie.

She has no patience for snoozing and demands to go out for her walk at first light. Realize, of course, that dogs see light differently from the way you and I do. First light for a dog is still the black of night for us humans. Well, not quite, but when you have sleep in your eyes it sure feels that way. I suppose I could just get up and let her out and climb back to bed, but once I'm up, I might as well go all the way.

Now we're back and she's eaten and had her treats. But there's something new this morning. Callie discovered the suet ball that I hang on the balcony railing in the winter (I know, it's not winter yet) for the birds. Actually, it's the birds she's discovered. She is standing at the door barking at the suet ball. The bird that was feeding there has long since gone. But that suet ball is still there. Must. Bark. At. Suet.

My internet surfing is done for this morning. I have to go play now. Bye.


  1. I wish you'd fix a lunch like that for us--it looks so good.

    I didn't know dogs woke up before first light. Callie is good for keeping you in shape and helping getting those chores done.

  2. I love the look of your place (have mentioned that once or twice I dare say) but I am all romance with it and autumn too, forgetting that there is a LOT of work that goes into it. Raking, mowing, picking up the apples over and over... so I am glad I can look at it and enjoy it and I wish I was there to help with the work but since I am not it's all dreamy my end but I thank you for sharing it and allowing me to enjoy it... Vida x x x

  3. Y'all do have a great looking place. I thought it was cool having itrus trees. How great is it, however, to have hazelnut trees! And an apple tree to boot.
    I like to mow my leaves up as well. Great filler for the compost pile and good mulch for everything else.

  4. Walt - I can well imagine how frustrating it is that Callie barks so much. I don't suppose this will help much but at least it will give you something to try! I have found that when our Scotties barked unnecessarily I would slowly say in a low soft voice 'Quiet is good' and, if the barking continued, in a louder sharp voice 'NO! Barking is BAD'. You have to try and engage with the dog when you do it and make eye contact. Obviously if it works at all then lots of praise. But just shouting 'Be quiet' makes matters worse and never seems to work for us. I admit this would take a long time to work and you will probably say the dog just grew up!! You don't want them to never bark (we would have lost far more than two pieces of furniture if our dog had not barked at burglars downstairs some years ago!!) And our present Scottie is allergic to wasp stings and now actually barks to warn us when there is one about! Then, of course, we PRAISE him for barking!
    Do you think Callie thought the suet ball was a toy ball for her to play with?! Swinging there temptingly! No wonder she barked!
    Sorry this is so long but was feeling particularly sympathetic!
    Loved your photographs as usual and the delicious meals you are cooking! Angela

  5. angela, those are good ideas and I'll work on it. I do talk to her a lot so we're ahead of the game. She actually saw the bird on the suet ball, and she likes to bark at and chase birds. We need to get her some sheep.

    mpabner, citrus trees are nice, but to have them here you need to bring them in in the winter. Our neighbors do that.

    vida, there's plenty of work, so c'mon over!

  6. I loved your chicken recipe--but since you have really been working hard, you deserve a good lunch like that! It's too bad I'm so far away--I would have helped you eat the chicken. Cheers. Gabby

  7. gabby, it would have been great to have the company. C'mon over and I'll make some more!


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