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Posts Tagged ‘fall’

Earlier today, I was cleaning up part of my summer garden. I’ve still got several rows to clean up and cover crop, but the area feels so empty now.

Good thing the winter garden is basically thriving!

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The chard in this bed is growing nicely. Bugs have attacked the chard in another bed.

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Unlike the past few years, the turnip greens are thriving this year.

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Turnip greens in front, kale in back.

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The savoy cabbage may produce, if I can keep the bugs away.

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Speaking of bugs, aphids have attacked the collard greens.

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The bugs must not like mustard greens.

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I always overplant lettuce, so I picked a lot for lunch today.

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One good thing about being a tad behind in garden chores: things reseed themselves! Witness the arugula above and the kale below.

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I love being able to grow food most of the year. And while I’ll miss my summer veggies, I’m looking forward to fresh steamed greens!

What’s growing in your garden?

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Historically, fall has not been one of my favorite seasons. The main reason being that fall ushers in shorter days, and I need lots of sunlight.

But, that being said, there’s plenty to love about fall: cooling temperatures after a sweltering summer, college football (Duke is 1-0!), and beautiful foliage on the trees. All those reds, oranges and yellows brighten my mood.

But my favorite thing about fall is green — specifically, the greens that grow in my garden.

Growing a fall garden in North Carolina seems a bit counter-intuitive. In order for cool-season crops to mature, one must plant them in the blistering heat of August.

So about a month ago, I pulled out my seed packets and got to work. As is my practice, I threw out way too many seeds, figuring I could always thin the plants along the way.

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The beds above, with arugula, chard and collards, are already ready to be thinned.

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So are the mustard greens and lettuce above. I’m envisioning a meal of micro-greens!

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The picture above is part of a bed planted two weeks ago. The cabbage is emerging, but no such luck with the spinach.

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Here’s the rest of that garden bed. The kale and turnip greens are toward the back; the bald spots up front are where more chard and beets were seeded.

My soil is not the most fertile, so I’m not surprised the spinach didn’t take. But the chard normally does well. I was confused! But lately I’ve noticed Socks the cat sleeping in the front areas of that bed, squishing any seedlings that had a chance to sprout. Mystery solved!

I’ve got about 10 more beds (3x3s, 3x6s and 3x12s) to plant, so hopefully I can get more chard and spinach growing there. And hopefully I can find another, more suitable napping spot for Socks.

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One of the benefits of training for my Camino is allowing myself the time to visit the numerous parks and trails near my home.

In past years, I would have spent the Friday after Thanksgiving either working at a part-time job or putting up Christmas decorations while watching football (go LSU!). But this year, I opted to drive an hour west for a hike around Lake Brandt in Greensboro, NC.

A former Camino pilgrim suggested the hike, and what a recommendation!  Miles of hiking and mountain biking trails mostly meandering around the lake.    I’m not quite sure how many miles we hiked, since we got lost a few times.  Or, to say it more charitably, we chose to take alternate routes.

So in the spirit of Thanksgiving just past,  I continue to be grateful for all the public parks to which I have access.  And I am grateful for the gifts of this particular hike:

1. The sound of leaves crunch, crunch, crunching under my feet as I walked.

2.  The sun’s ever-changing reflection on the lake.

3.  The wind providing a gentle breeze just when I needed it.

4.  The forested pathways winding up and down gentle hills.

5. On Owl’s Roost Trail, the fallen trees providing artwork and a reminder that destruction is followed by renewal.

6.  Seeing families out enjoying the sunshine.  I especially enjoyed watching the kids riding their bikes or skateboards.  One industrious boy was using his dog’s strength to pull him along.

7. Meeting kind people along the way.

8.  Arriving back to the car just as the sun set.  Perfect timing!

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Yesterday, I was doubly inspired to take a long walk. It was warm and sunny, with a light breeze: the perfect temperature to be outside.  And I was going to see “The Way,” the Martin Sheen/Emilio Estevez movie about a pilgrimage on the Camino de Santiago.

I took a little bit different route this time, getting my distance up to 8 1/2 miles. I was happy to see that many of the trees are starting to show off their fall colors:

I found a creek along the way.  If this weren’t private property, I would have been tempted to investigate:

Then I went by the Eno River,  and took a moment to enjoy the view:

Then it was off to rolling hills, and grassy fields. One of the things I love about living in the Triangle area of North Carolina is the proximity to open spaces.  You can be in the city, then drive 10, 20 miles and hit wide open spaces.    Of course, this area is still growing in population, so those open spaces will move farther out as developers buy up the land.

But that’s for another day.  I’m going to enjoy the view as long as I have it!

My notes from this walk:

1.  Lots of hawks!  Hawk is one of my power animals, so I was happy to see them.

2.  I love that I am allowing myself to take the time to do long walks, and that I have designated Sundays for this time.  There’s plenty to do at home: part of my garden still needs to be put to bed, and I can’t seem to stay ahead of the cleaning chores.  (Don’t ask about the last time I washed my windows!)

I still end up doing some housework, but these long walks allow me to commune with nature (and God) in a very deep way.  They rejuvenate me before beginning another work week.

3.  I read somewhere that one way to prevent blisters is to use duct tape on your feet.  So when I stopped by my house for a potty break, I pulled out the duct tape.   It did indeed help buffer where my feet rub against my aging orthotics.  I hope to remember to tape my feet from the get-go next Sunday.

Who knew duct tape could help you survive a terrorist attack and prevent blisters!


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Yesterday was a beautiful fall day here in North Carolina. And what better way to enjoy the weather than by walking for several hours?

So I grabbed my trusty iPhone, logged into Nike+GPS, and meandered around my neighborhood for 6 1/2 miles. Then it was time for lunch!

Along the way, I looked for fall color. Unfortunately, the leaves haven’t really turned yet. This is about the best I could find:

While I was walking, I realized several things:

1.  I love trees!  I really, really do.  I can’t imagine living in a desert.

2. I really need two walking sticks.  Using just one left me feeling unbalanced.

3.  There are some interesting street names in my area.  I’d love to live on this spicy street:

4. I need new orthotics.  Unfortunately, the person who made mine has gone out of business.

5.  Last, but definitely not least: there’s a skunk in my neighborhood.

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