Monday, October 19, 2009

Early Fall Colors

Suddenly last week it went from feeling like early fall to feeling like winter! And on Saturday, while it was a chilly 39 degrees and raining at my house, snow was falling only 25 miles away on Skyline Drive in the Blue Ridge moutains!

Last Monday i finally decided to turn the heat on in the house because it was chilly and getting chillier...but there was no heat! The pilot light in the furnace was still lit, but the furnace wasn't responding to the thermostat. I diagnosed that the thermostat needed replacing. A technician came out the next day and confirmed my diagnosis, but also said the heat exchanger in the furnace was shot, and he refused to turn the furnace back on because he said it could fail at any time and there was a danger of carbon monoxide poisoning. Sigh.

Next day they came and installed a new furnace...that was one huge unplanned-for expense! But at least i didn't have to wait days and days for them to do the work. There's still a bit of finishing up to do...such as moving the thermostat so that i can see it! It's a programmable thermostat with an LED display...and it's too high up on the wall for me to see it without standing on the couch.

I have a few pictures from the warm sunny days in early October that i should post before it's too late (also have a summer flower and food post that never got up...maybe i'll wait 'til November for that one? *g*)

A dwarf solidago cultivar (goldenrod) looking happy in the mostly-shade bed.
A wild aster blooming happily in the gravel next to the driveway.

This is a new (to me) aster cultivar, Bluebird. I've seen its wild relatives along the roadsides. It's amazing to me how covered with blooms this plant is, and how many native pollinators were busily (bizzzily) buzzing around it on a chilly October day.

A close-up of Bluebird aster and busy pollinators.

A wild goldenrod next to a dogwood in fall color with ripening "berries." The dogwood was a gift from the birds.
Another dogwood, which seeded itself in front of the f0undation looking out my bedroom window through its leaves in summer and early fall. That cats have been very attentive since the squirrels have been stripping the tree of its berries.

Virginia Red Cedar (which is not really a cedar, it's a juniper: Juniperus virginiana) growing in the perennial bed in the front. The birds keep depositing seeds which become little cedars, which i keep removing or mowing down...except i finally left this one because it was nicely placed. It's probably 12 feet tall now and has about a five foot spread, which means it's taking over some space where tulips and day lilies used to grow. But it's home to at least one nest of mockingbirds, shelter for doves and other birds, and provider of these luscious berries...which among other things add a fantastic flavor to lamb...or gin.
I just made this dish Saturday it's a cold weather dish...but it's made with the last of the summer vegetables from the Farmer's Market--yellow squash, red onion, yellow and green peppers, garlic, herbes de Provence, and mushrooms (forgot that i had shiitakes in the fridge, so these are store-bought white mushrooms). The whole house smelled heavenly of onions and herbs.
The last of the tomatoes. I didn't have much luck with tomatoes all season, and then suddenly the silly plant was covered with fruit. I figured i'd better bring them in because we may get frost any day now, and even if we don't, it's too chilly for them to do any ripening on the vine.


  1. That looks like a lovely dish! We did not have much luck with tomatoes either.

  2. I've just installed iStripper, so I can have the hottest virtual strippers on my desktop.