Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Goodbye Indian Summer - See ya' next year!

Tomorrow or the next day, all my flowers will be gone - frozen - wilted - It is supposed to snow. I know Utah is known for it's snow, but I like it best when it blossoms.

I had to put my sandals in the further-most part of my closet until next year and my shadow will seldom come out during the long, shadowy months of winter.

And the water fountain is snugly capped - no more cool drinks on a hot day. Actually, I forgot to uncap it this year, so there were no cool drinks on any hot day - at least not at this fountain.

This weathered old tree stump doesn't care about winter. This came from the Big Horn Mountains in Wyoming. My brother in Law, Wayne Ostler lugged it off the mountain for me. I'm sure he doesn't think it was worth it, but look how great it is. I think it was worth it. Of course, I wasn't lugging it - I mean I was attempting to help but . . . The egg looking rock in the background is from some other hike in Utah - I can't remember now. Cool huh!

The sunflowers are profuse at my house - everywhere they are not supposed to be. Jamie and I planted a sunflower garden the first year we moved into our house in Eagle Mountain. She was supposed to be getting some credit in her Young Womens - I've forgotten what it's called - you know, earned honors thingy. Anyway, she wasn't all that thrilled with it after the first month. So I ended up doing most of the labor. I don't think she should have gotten full credit on that one. Anyway, now we have an absolute steady supply of all kinds of sunflowers EVERYWHERE! Jim now HATES sunflowers. I still absolutely love them - thanks to the birds!

My back yard - still green (and the back fence is now painted). See, it's coming along! I xero-scaped this with a lot of sweat equity - salvaging boards, rocks, bricks and plants. Still, I think it is nice - no formality here, but comfortable for me.

The watermelons in my garden grew from stray seeds from ???? I didn't ever plant watermelons - but we had a bumper crop anyway. The last ones didn't get to ripen, but we had a WHOLE bunch that did! This one is growing amongst the potatoes.

And this is my hops! My sister bought this for me for my birthday two years ago. The vines are quite huge - so if you need any, let me know. I have no idea what to do with them, but they LOOK great! According to "THE SHORT HISTORY OF HOPS" by Coopsmaps.com which I found on the internet, they say: "
"Hop is a twining vine that grows rapidly in the summer months and enjoys direct sunlight. The young shoots are eaten as a vegetable and the leaves are blanched and used as a soup. But hops are cultivated mainly for the brewing industry. Hops contribute bitterness and aroma to beer, but they were not always part of the brewing process.
From the earliest days of beer in 4th cent BC Mesopotamia to Medieval times, beer was seasoned with different additives. Wild rosemary, coriander, ginger, anise seed, juniper berries, even wood bark was added to flavor the beer. Hops were known to early civilizations - they grew wild among the willows in Roman times. The Romans noted it grew like a "wolf among sheep" and referred to it as Lupus salictarius, which means the "good wolf." From this colorful origin, hops took its botanical name of humulus lupulus. The Jews provide the first written account of the use of hops in beer during captivity in Babylon. They record a sicera ex lupulis confectuam (strong drink made from hops). They also believed this drink alleviated leprosy."

There you go - no leprosy at our house this year!


This is the caster bean which grows on the giant caster bean plant (see below). According to W.P. Armstrong (http://waynesword.palomar.edu/plmar99.htm) this:

"The spiny seed pod or capsule is composed of three sections or carpels which split apart at maturity. Each section (carpel) contains a single seed, and as the carpel dries and splits open, the seed is often ejected with considerable force. Walking among large castor shrubs on a hot summer day can be quite an experience, with the sound of exploding carpels and seeds flying through the air and bouncing off road signs, sidewalks, and your head."

Well, I didn't notice anyone getting hit by my caster beans, but they do say they are quite poisonous. In fact the source said:

"They are unquestionably among the most deadly seeds on earth, and it is their irresistible appearance that makes them so dangerous."

Hmmmm. . . . I live in a neighborhood with a lot of children. I'm finding this out NOW! That said, we use (mankind) the caster bean plant for paint, nylon, motor oil, jojoba oil (wax), flavorings, elixirs, flavorings, medicine (I thought they were poisonous), and last but not least, the deadly poison, ricin.
So, I hope you enjoyed the last 2008 trip around my yard. I have now cleaned out my garden and put the caster bean seeds safely (I hope) away in the landfill. The watermelons are eaten, all but one - and - Tomorrow it snows . . . .

I'll get ready for next spring. We'll see what plants I can come up with then.


  1. I loved the trip around your backyard. We live in townhouses and my backyard is probably ten square feet full of rocks. Your backyard is heavenly.

  2. Oh what lovely pictures. Did you figure out your macro shots on your new camera?

    You are ahead of me. My yard isn't put to bed yet. I want to be around when one of the caster beans explodes. That is hilarious!! Did you hear one ? I loved this post. You have done an amazing job on your yard with your own two little hands.


  3. I'm glad I stumbled upon your blog Margaret! Your back yard looks amazing. It looks nothing like the last time I saw it, but I see the foundation of what you were doing in the finished product.

    I think castor oil has also been used for brake fluid as well - also poisonous.


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