Autumn Aliens

We visited a farm in wp-image-1536863450jpg.jpgPennsylvania to pick some pumpkins and gourds to bring home.   My son was intrigued by their funny shapes and bright colors.  They reminded me of the silly monsters he draws – cute alien creatures with round or oval bodies filled in by swirls or dots and topped with one to three eyes; each creature has a name like,  Dingle, Yugi, Ygug, Hithy, Hicamawiks, Hallywak and Dotty-Spot.  They make us laugh.

These alien-like squashes make us smile, too.  Any names come to mind for them?  I will ask my son, he will have some ideas.

Can you guess which ones he named, Backhoe, Emerald,  and Pouty?

answers: (no peeking!)

Backhoe is the creamy, white gourd with the curved neck on the very top of the hay bale. Emerald is the bright green one in between the bumpy faint, pastel blue pumpkin and the orange pumpkin. It’s underneath Backhoe, a little to the right. Pouty is the crazy, pale blue pumpkin with the frown next to the green and the white gourds. He’s the closest to you!    😉

A Portrait of Our Dog

My son’s portrait of our dog, CJ

The piles of fallen leaves and cool crisp air make autumn our dog’s favorite time in the garden.  CJ is a Shiba Inu with a thick under coat of fur and a fluffy curly tail.  Summer growing season is too hot for him, but the fall is perfect.  These days he is full of extra energy when we are outside.  He will stand alert with head down and eyes at my feet, waiting for me to kick the leaves up into the air so he can catch one in his mouth.

We got him in an animal shelter almost 8 years ago.  He is now 10 years old and still smiling.

Saving Fall Leaves for the Garden

The wind swirls and scoops up leaves from the neighborhood and dumps them into our tiny front yard.  The yard is covered with brown leaves when  the only tree in it,  a Bradford Pear, still has its green leaves.  Every fall we collect at least 4 tall bags of  these extra leaves.

We are grateful for the extra leaves because we save them for our garden plot.  We keep our compost healthy by adding the extra leaves to our compost bin. The brown carbon rich leaves balance the green nitrogen rich kitchen waste in our composter.  We add a dense layer of  minerals and nutrients to our garden plot by mulching the garden soil with the leaves.   We provide winter protection for tender plants in our garden by surrounding them with the leaves.  When our fig tree was smaller,  we protected it from the cold winter winds by covering it with  leaves and a  burlap blanket.

My son jumping into a pile of our extra leaves.

This fall, gathering and chopping our leaves became easier due to our new  electric leaf blowing-vacuum- mulchinator.  We do not have a grass lawn in our front yard, but perennials and bushes.  It is tedious to comb out the leaves from our Nandina, Hydrangea and Azalea bushes and flower beds.  Instead of raking the leaves into piles and chopping them with a lawn mower, we gently vacuumed up the leaves and created mulch at the same time.  Our new garden toy is gentle on our plants and saves time.  Fantastic!

We did not vacuum up all the leaves immediately.  We saved some for my son and dog.  My son likes jumping from our front door steps into a mound of leaves then pretending he is a bird sleeping  in a nest.    My dog likes to catch, in his mouth, bunches of leaves tossed up in the air.

How do you collect and use or play in your fall leaves ?