Monday, October 05, 2015

Putting the bed to bed 2015 (with a look at the club's inaugural boatbuilding project and an odd bird)

Haven't written much about the garden this year, too many other things going on, I guess, but I did have my usual selection of fresh produce. For the second year in a row, the cukes got off to a fine start, then got some sort of mildew and that was it; I suspect that whatever it was is in the soil, so I may give the cukes a break next year and try something else in that corner. The beets never really got going either, not sure why but there weren't enough to bother with. Everything else did fine - there was chard all summer, with enough to freeze at the end (that was last weekend's kitchen project) -

and the "Dragonetti's Mystery Heirloom Pack" did nicely again; Dragonetti's Garden Supply over on the other side of the Paerdegat sells little packs of assorted heirloom tomato seedling- the hitch is that they don't tell you what kind they are, but I haven't gotten one I didn't like yet (is there such a thing as a bad homegrown tomato?), and it's actually kind of fun being surprised. This year's were all orange and flavorful and meaty, delicious caprese material with the basil, which also did very well. This was back in August. 
It wasn't looking like good boating weather this weekend, perfect time to go out to get the rest of what was left. It actually ended up being nicer than the forecast had shown, and there were a couple of folks who came out and did get out in boats, but I stuck with my original plan, would've still been a bit splashy out there and I was all in cotton, so no spontaneous going paddling.

Here's what was left here in early October -- insufficent beets to even bother with, a pepper plant, some peaked-looking tomato plants, some nice lush basil, the permanent onions (which have stealthily been taking up more and more space) and of course a family of blue hippos (thanks Larry! :D).

I owe the other Sebago gardeners for the fact that there was this much left - September was a very dry month and I just didn't have time to get out as much as needed, and at times I was sure Pestopalooza would have to be either cancelled or carried out with store-bought basil, but the Sebago gardeners saved me  - thanks, other Sebago gardeners! 

 There were a few cherry tomatoes left. I'd tried having 3 full-sized-tomato plants last year but decided to go back to cherries for one, just for the instant/continuous gratification factor - the big ones are lovely but you have to wait for them to ripen - cherries can go all summer and look, even on into October! 

 Bag o' basil

 Onions! I thinned them and pushed them back into the corner. I'd pretty much decided before I started in on this that in addition to Pestopalooza, this year I will have onion soup-a-palooza. Didn't quite get to that today, but soon, they're all sliced up and ready for caramelizing. We have been having some good onion soup weather lately. 

 Hot peppers - there are more on the plant so I left that in, hopefully they'll keep ripening. 

 Green and almost-ripe tomatoes - will probably use these in green tomato rice, haven't made that lately and TQ and I like that very much.

 Finished with the gardening, I finished my tea at one of the picnic tables, looking out at the basin and watching an egret having a nice leisurely late-morning preen on the neighboring docks. 

 Also peeked into the boat shed to see how the Point Comfort 23 is coming along. Boatbuilding is a new thing at the club this year - individuals at the club have built some beautiful craft, but with the boatbuilding shed completed, Jim Luton is leading interested club members through the process of building this traditional boat, which, when completed, will be used in place of the 13' Boston Whaler that we currently use as a committee and safety boat. You can read more about the Point Comfort 23 and how she was selected as Sebago's inaugural boatbuilding project at Jim's blog, Small Craft Warning. I wish I could have gotten involved in this but things just haven't work out for me to be able to so far - just too many other fun things to do (and a need for the occasional quiet day at home to recover from all the fun things). Have still been enjoying watching her take shape! 

Sun came out shortly before I left - 

I'd hitched a ride to the club with friends who were stopping by there before heading out for birding, then took the bus home. I'd just missed a bus, so I walked for a bit, as it had turned quite pleasant; as I was walking, I saw a most unusual thing to see in Canarsie! A flock of sparrows flew by, and as they did a startling flash of blue caught my eye. Turned out to be a budgie who'd been accepted into a flock of sparrows (click for detail, as usual). I posted this on Facebook with a note wondering whether a budgie can survive a NY winter - the Quaker parakeets do fine but they build those big communal nests; this guy or maybe gal) had clearly found a friendly flock, but I was curious about how it would do with the cold. 

Fortunately Mary, one of the same birder friends who'd given me a ride to the club in the morning, saw this and answered,

"The funny thing about Budgies is that when they escape, they quite often link up with House Sparrows. I heard that the reason is they, like House Sparrows, are not from here, have no migration path, no where to go, and nothing much to do. Don't worry too much. Seed eaters (budgies, sparrows, etc) can survive the winter. It's the insectivores who run out of food. Birds, whether migratory or not, can die from the cold, but it's mainly because of inadequate nutrition. If the food source either runs out or becomes unavailable (like the river freezes or the insects huddle down), the birds will not be able to survive. Seed eaters are better able to winter over."

So that was an interesting thing to learn, and it was fun seeing this bird - boy, this is not a shade of blue you usually see on a bird around here, it was quite startling to see it flash by! 

Then home for Pestopalooza 2015, and now I've got my winter pesto supply all stashed away in the freezer. Nice to have that all wrapped up (or bagged up, as the case actually is). And to have had another nice day at the club.


clairesgarden said...

its nice to have your own produce no matter how much or how little, your doing a great job to get what you do. good idea to try something else if one thing isn't working.. and its difficult to rotate in such a small space.

bonnie said...

Yes, I've been doing the same layout for years now. Maybe some fungicide to the soil and then a break from the cucumbers that this mildew loves so much. I missed my tzatziki!

Terri Jackson said...

What a great photo capture of the little Budgie! I hope the little guy/gal makes it through the winter, what an amazing thing to see. I love the little grape tomatoes also, they are always so happy to be growing. I had several volunteers this year who grew quite nicely with no help from me at all. I hope you have a beautiful fall.