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Fall Chores
October 13, 2014

Let me explain.

We are on overload around here.

Besides our daily tasks, appointments have piled on.

Yolanda has some enzyme issues with here blood.

So we have an ultrasound done and discover she has gull stones.

Now we visit the surgeon and surgery is in early November.

Add to that, regular appointments with eye doctor, neurologist, gynecologist, dentist, and her case doctor at Mary Free Bed.

Some still to come.

Karen is dealing full time with her aging mother (she's 90).

Early signs of dementia and a stubborn gal make things worse.

She refuses assisted living and doesn't want 'Angel Care' to come in.

Mom calls here 6-10 times a day.

To top it off, mom will have a heart procedure done the 24th of this month.

This all has put major stress on our household.

And, toss in Karen's Fibromyalgia that kicks in this time of year (shorter days, less sunshine, and dampness).

God reminded me to seek him first, and that has helped.

However, if you are a praying person, I will ask that you keep us in your prayers.

We all know stress is a damaging thing.

Thanks for allowing me to rant, and for your prayers in advance.

Check it out.

October 9 monarchs.

Two of them at the same time, different locations (pictured below).

I have never seen them this late in the year.

Nothing like a subtle blessing to bring a smile.

Autumn is in full swing now.

At least for the northern regions it is.

That means spectacular color displays.

Fall mums, and even native plants like Asters and Chocolate Eupatorium pictured in my yard from this past week.

(Chocolate Eupatorium pictured).

Flowers don't have to stop, just because your exotics are no longer blooming.

God's color palette is in all its glory in much of North America.

The Great Lakes region has been breath taking this year.

I encourage you to get out and enjoy it.

While fall has a beautiful time, its pulchritude is short lived.

There are pumpkins, and fall festivals to everywhere.

This is also the time to get serious about fall cleanup.

Yes, while the weather still allows you and me to get outside with some comfort.

I enjoy the cool crisp days, with the warmth of the sun beating on me.

To me, this is Autumn.

(Close up of Eupatorium flowers.)

Whether you have had a killing frost or not, the growing season is pretty much over.

Well, our southern friends can still enjoy some blooms and slow growing vegetables.

Plant growth comes to a screeching halt or grows at a snails pace, once the length of day is shorter than 12 hours.

In my part of Michigan, frosts and freezes have done their job over the weekend.

Now comes clean up.

Cutting back and pulling annuals that served me well.

Some perennials I will cut back, while others I will leave, as the seeds continue to feed birds and small mammals.

No longer is my yard put to bed nice and tidy.

I suggest you do some of the same.

As mentioned before, you do want to cut back diseased plants.

Toss the debris in the trash, and pick up as much of the fungus riddled leaves as possible.

Fungus over winters.

If your plants have a virus, like 'Aster Yellow', You might just as well dig and remove all of the plant and figure on planting something else.

At best, you might control or contain the virus, but you will never get rid of it.

Again, into the trash, and not the compost heap.

When you are cutting and pruning, be sure to dip your cutting blades or at least spray them with rubbing alcohol.

A 10% mixture of chlorine bleach will sanitize too, just don't leave metal in the bleach water for any length of time for corrosion to take place.

When pruning living branches, use Bi-pass pruners (cut like scissors).

Dead and dying material, you can use Bi-pass (I do), or you can use anvil type pruners.

Anvil have one sharp blade and a blunt surface to crush off the dead material.

Using anvils on living material only crushes the branch or stem, this promotes a weak spot and an invitation for diseases.

(Agastache and Fennel.)

Step outside on a quiet night and listen.

This time of year you may very well hear the peeps and chirps of migrating birds.

Most birds fly at night to avoid predators, and make sounds to keep in contact with the flock.

I've been hearing them on a regular basis for several nights now.

A reminder for you......

If you haven't cleaned out your nest boxes, get it done now.

Bird Feeders should be up and placed in locations where they offer protection, yet allow easy access for you when the snow begins to fly.

Remember, birds are establishing feeding territories as you read this.

Even in the deep south.

As colder nights approach, is your birdbath heater in working order.

Now is the time to check it out, and possibly get a new one.

I purchased a new one last week.

Pay a few dollars more and get one that is thermostatically controlled and comes with a 3-4 year warranty.

Again, place it close enough for you to get at, and for birds to feel safe.

By offering a good, quality feed or blend, you are more apt to get a wide variety of birds.

Time has pretty much run out for transplanting in northern regions.

You still can, but mulch well.

Roots need to grow and establish themselves before the ground freezes.

September and early October is a good time for this, as the soil is still warm.

Again, my friends further south can take your time.

Zones 3-6, dig up tender bulbs if you haven't

Wash and air dry before you store them.

Notice the glad bulb (corm).

Glads replenish and grow new corms, and need a healthy 8-12 week growing time after bloom to grow a new corm for next year.

A slight twist, and the new corm is removed from the old.

If they didn't put in the time, they won't do a thing for you next year.

Warmer zones, can keep them in the ground over winter.

True, you may get away with it in Zones 5-6, but do you want to lose your glads if we have an extreme winter?

Amaryllis bulbs, I am a bit late at digging, but I replant late, I'm good to go.

Amaryllis need 12 weeks of dormancy to really bloom well for you.

I replant mine in February, I have color when i need it.

Christmas offers plenty of color and I'm too busy to monkey with bulbs at that time.

I think that is enough for now.

Well, it is time to fly for now.

Hopefully I have better material for you next week.

Until then......

Here is your positive thought for the week.

God Bless.

"Do not go where the path may lead,
Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Be your own person, make your own way.

Not bad advice.

Now here is the word of God.

You make known to me the path of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence,
with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

Psalm 16:11

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths.

Proverbs 3:5-6

"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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