I finally got out to the garden today to attend to the broken sunflowers from Tropical Storm Hanna. I ended up removing them all and throwing them in the woods. I saved some of the heads for the seeds, which I plan to both plant next year and eat. I also saved the few remaining living flowers to make a couple of bouquets. It’s funny, but up until now I never picked one to bring into my house because they were so pretty outside where they were. Growing sunflowers has been very rewarding this year because they made my garden look so sunny and happy and also required little care. I will certainly be growing them in the same spot next year, right along the back of the garden fence. Now I’m also thinking of where else the cheery flowers will look good next year.
After pulling out the sunflowers, I got my fall/winter garden seeds in. A little later than I had originally planned, but I’m counting on global warming to keep my garden producing into late November! I planted more carrots and lettuce, turnips, broccoli and spinach. I’ve never grown anything in the fall or winter, so it’s kind of experimental this year and I’ll be happy with whatever I get.
Finally, after the ripping out and the planting, I picked a big bowl full of tomatoes. The storm knocked a bunch of the tomatoes off of the vines, so these ended up in the woods. I plan to can these tomatoes after they ripen up a little bit more. Maybe this time I’ll make my spaghetti sauce and can that instead of the crushed tomatoes.
While I was out in the garden, Ed was busily working on designing the mantel for the fireplace. Our fireplace is in the part of the great room in our house that’s more formal, with the coffered ceiling and the fancier furniture. The fireplace is made of red bricks with a blue slate hearthstone, and the walls are painted a creamy off-white. Because it’s in a fancier part of our house, the mantel is going to be large and detailed. It will most definitely be made of wood, as Ed likes to make everything out of wood, and painted the same white as the trim. He’s been looking through books and I went back to all of the magazine pages that I started to tear out when we first decided to build a house. It was nice to reminisce as I saw the pictures that we used to model our bathroom after, the kitchen islands that I liked, and the paint colors that we selected and vetoed. I also enjoyed looking at the ideas that we haven’t yet gotten to, including mudroom benches and pegs on the wall, the pantry shelving, the wall decorations, and of course the dreams of a big maroon barn out back and children’s bedrooms. Ed’s been drawing and planning, and today he drew a full-size model on plywood of what the mantel will look like. It’s colonial and traditional, of course, with columns, moulding, and fancy carvings. I can’t wait to hang our stockings on it this Christmas!