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November 05, 2012

(Pre Sandy Sunset)

Our prayers go out the the millions that have been affected (life altering) by this massive storm.

To give you an idea of the Grand Scale Hurricane Sandy was, the outer arms were reaching Michigan before the Eye of the storm made landfall along the east coast.

Winds whipped up 20 plus feet (about 6 meter) waves in Lake Michigan.

Shipping was at a stand still for more than two days in the lower Great Lakes, as ships had plenty of time to find protection.

There is no Title Surge on the Big Lakes, and the waves don't produce the massive swells of Oceans, but the waves are choppy and close together making for situations often more dangerous than the oceans.

I watched video and saw pictures, but would have liked to have seen this in person.

America, Be sure to vote November 6.

For the next couple of weeks, I will be adjusting to the earlier evenings.

I love Daylight savings, but the turn back always catches me off guard.

Karen and I have been fighting some kind of bug.

Not enough to keep us down completely, but something that seems to came and go.

You know, feel lousy one moment and pretty good the next.

This has lingered for a good week now.

Friday brought enough sunshine and cool crisp air, that I was able to get most of the fall yard work taken care of and enjoyed a few early November flowers.

Besides a few annuals still blooming like Snap Dragons and a Red salvia or two hiding under a tree, I still have a few perennials showing off.

Hydrangea, Cimicifuga, Hyssop,
Black and Blue salvia and Malva are still showing some color.

I am sharing a few pictures with you today.

Check out the Malva pictures at the bottom, on Friday there were leaves, by Saturday a deer had discovered the plant and stripped off most of the leaves.

I'm also sharing a couple of photos of a juvenile Cooper's hawk that has taken up residence in my yard (or so it seems).

This is becoming an annual event around here.

Notice the yellow colored eyes.

An adult has red colored eyes, more rusty color to its breast and is more stealthy.

Young hawks land and perch in the
open spaces or until the get the hiding part of it.

For more temperate regions, if you haven't given your lawn one last good mow, do so now.

Lower the blade (not to scalp) enough to give your grass a good tight cut.

Grass that is too long will mat and give you a serious thatch problem next spring.

You never want more than 1/2" of thatch on your lawn.

If you still have leaves to contend
with, keep the blade a bit higher the mulch the leaves and then give it a tight cut.

Woody perennials like Hyssop (Agastache) Russian sage (Perovskia) and Butterfly Bush (Buddleia), you should wait till spring to prune back.

Woody plants have a tendency to want to start growing every time there is a warm spell.

(Agastache pictured.)

If you prune them back now, new growth will appear at the bottom where you pruned.

Every time there is a freeze and thaw, juices flow and then freeze.

Expanding plant juices explode, killing off living plant cells.

This weakens your plant and can eventually kill it off.

When you leave the plant intact, new growth will form on the end of the branches.

When this freezes off, the base and crown are still intact and it's okay, you'll be pruning next spring anyway.

Be sure to continue to water as needed.

Remember, many of us have had a dry year.

Trees are considered new for two years and need to be treated as such.

Young trees should be protected with tree wraps.

This deters critters from munching the young tender bark, and helps to keep the tree
trunk cool and helps prevent sun scald (where the tree splits, usually on the south side)

Sun scald is once again a case of freeze and thaw and juices expand and split the tree open.

Any new planting or transplanting need water as well (even if the tops have gone dormant).

Not so much as to drown, but enough to promote healthy root growth.

Roots continue to grow (until the ground freezes.

If you still have fall bulbs to plant, do it.

Bulbs can also be planted up to the time the ground freezes, they simply will bloom a bit later next spring.

It's the first of the month (a few days removed), and time to give your feeders a good cleaning.

If you live where winter is real, give your feeders and bird bath a Good cleaning before it gets too cold.

Soak them in a good cleaning/sanitizing solution.

I like to use hot water and a good Oxygen Bleach (products that have Oxy or Oxi in the name).

Oxygen bleach cleans deep and this is good for wooden feeders.

It is also earth friendly and non toxic to wildlife.

Think Hydrogen Peroxide.

Rinse off all traces of other chemicals like chlorine, before replacing your feeders.

A good spray with rubbing alcohol works in a pinch, but do try giving your feeders a good, deep cleaning.

This is also a good time to clean your nest boxes (bird houses) if you haven't already.

Get your heaters ready.

This is a good time to test your birdbath heaters and get them plugged and working (if you haven't by now).

I am often asked about Solar powered heaters and if the work.

Two things you need to remember on these products.

One: you need lots of sunshine (a rare commodity for many of us in winter).

Two: they work up to 20 degrees Fahrenheit, if you get colder than that, you are wasting your money.

Well, it is time to fly for now.

Before I go, here is your positive thought of the week.

God Bless.

Beauty, truth, friendship, love, creation these are the great values of life. We can't prove them, or explain them, yet they are the most stable things in our lives.

Jesse Herman Holmes

Here is a definition of that in the Bible.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish
but have eternal life.

John 3:16

"Treat the earth well:

It was not given to you by your parents,

It was loaned to you by your children.

We do not inherit the Earth from our

Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children."

Ancient Indian Proverb

Your friend indeed,

Ron Patterson

PS. If you enjoy these letters, please forward them to friends, family and co-workers.

Better yet, have them sign up so they can receive their own letters.

Gardening For Wildlife.

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