Articles (Blog)
Posted on September 20, 2021 8:00 AM by Gerry Trout
 
We saw this patch of New York Ironweed at the edge of the parking lot at the Murphy Ingles.
 
We've seen it all around town, and on the highways, all the way up the Blue Ridge Parkway.  It's easy to spot, because when it blooms it stands erect, about 3-9 feet tall, and the flowers are this electric purple color.  My Wildflowers in Color book says:  Each plant consists of many heads of purple or rose-purple flowers, there being 20 or more small, tubular blossoms in each cluster.  The aggregate of flower heads tends to appear flat-topped.
 
Be on the lookout in your travels.  They are so pretty!!!
 
HAPPY ALMOST FALL!!!
 
Posted on September 19, 2021 7:00 AM by Gerry Trout
 
I am happy to say that I did NOT take this picture.  But one of our friends did, and he took it here in the neighborhood.  Yikes!!!
 
This is a copperhead, and I'm showing you this picture to help you know how to identify it from a distance.  See the Hershey kisses along the length?  That is typical coloration for copperheads.  They are quite aggressive, so you only have a second to identify it.  I've seen other descriptions, but the Hershey kisses really paints a memorable picture.  
 
There aren't hundreds in our neighborhood, but there are some;  so be careful when you walk in the woods, or down the trail.  Also, be aware when you're working in the yard or garden.  
 
HAPPY GARDENING!!!
 
 
Posted on September 18, 2021 8:00 AM by Gerry Trout
 
Look how beautiful Jim and Nancy's hydrangeas are.  
 
To tell the truth, these are the ones the deer have not gotten to.  They net the entire bush to keep the deer at bay, but I think these must have been out of their reach.   Aren't they gorgeous.  
 
OK, here's the story about hydrangeas.  If the soil is acid, the flowers are blue.  If the soil is alkaline, the flowers are pink.  And if the soil is neutral, the flowers are white.  Since these are purple, I'm guessing that the soil is in flux between acid and alkaline, but not completely neutral.  Anyway, these purple ones are the best.
 
I remember hydrangeas in Nanny's back yard, and a story about Granddaddy hammering rusty nails into the ground to turn the flowers blue.  Whatever he did, it worked.  Those blossoms were as blue as the sky.  I've also heard sweet stories about little girls playing bride with Nanny's hydrangea flowers.  
 
I bet all Southern girls have sweet memories involving hydrangeas.
 
HAPPY GARDENING!!! 
Posted on September 17, 2021 8:00 AM by Gerry Trout
 
LOOK!!  The Devil's Walking Stick berries have gone purple.  They are so pretty at this stage.  
 
Look for them in your travels, before the birds eat them all.  
 
HAPPY GARDENING!!!
Posted on September 16, 2021 8:00 AM by Gerry Trout
Categories: Crafts
 
Ever wonder where all our great decorations come from?  They are mostly made right here in Five Forks.  Here is a work in progress.  Jon is cutting out bats.  They will go on the haybale in October.
 
Most of the fun decorations are made by Patty in her garage.  Oh wait...in Bill's garage.  She calls it Folk Art;  he calls it taking up space.  Anyway, she loves using power tools to create stuff.  So most of the Jack O'Lanterns, Scarecrows, Snowmen, etc.  are Patty's creations.  I help paint them.  We work well together.
 
This time I designed the haybale for Halloween, and decided it needs bats.  So I drew the patterns, and Jon cut out and painted the bats.  
 
I love wielding a spray can to paint graffiti, but power tools scare me.  I will leave that job to the professionals, (read: the fearless,) like Patty and Jon.  
 
HAPPY CRAFTING Y'ALL!!!
 
 
Posted on September 15, 2021 8:00 AM by Gerry Trout
 
Look at these beautiful eggplants that I picked yesterday.  I don't know what that one on the right is doing, but it is interesting.  
 
We love to grow these Japanese long eggplants.  Their variety name is Ping Tung, from Ping Tung, Taiwan.  I got the seeds from Baker Creek Seed Catalog
 
When I've grown the bigger eggplants, I never know when to pick them, and they usually stay on the plant too long, and then they aren't as tasty.  These are easy to tell when to pick.  You let them get about 8-12 inches long, then cut them and cook them.  
 
Jon slices them the long way into 3 slabs, then cooks them on the grill, with lots of smoky spices.  Then we add them to flatbread pizza.  Yummy.  Another good way to eat them is Rollatini.  Again, you cut them lengthwise into slabs and roast in the oven.  Then you fill them with ricotta and Parmesan and spices and roll them up and bake in tomato sauce.  Again, YUM!!!
 
I wish I could send you some of these fabulous eggplants.  Maybe the Asian Market has some.  It's that time of year!!
 
HAPPY GARDENING!!!
 
 
Posted on September 14, 2021 8:00 AM by Gerry Trout
Categories: A story to share
 
This is Gizmo, and he loves to chase and catch flies, and anything else that moves.  He's using the sewing machine as a ladder to get to the critters.
 
When I was little, I was a climber too.  I wasn't after flies.  I was after cookies, and Momma kept them on the top shelf.  That was not a good plan, though, because I could just climb up on the kitchen counter to reach them.  Until the Sunday afternoon that I fell into the sink...hmmmm.  That didn't turn out too well, except that she never put the cookies out of my reach again.  I could always get to them, without having to climb.  
 
Well, I am still short, and I don't mind climbing to get what I'm after.  Home Depot, Walmart, wherever...  At home I use a kitchen stool to get stuff from the top cabinets.  You will be glad to know that I NEVER use a swivel chair as a climbing tool.  
 
I'm like Gizmo, I use steady things to help me climb.  
 
HAPPY TUESDAY!!!
 
 
Posted on September 13, 2021 8:00 AM by Gerry Trout
Categories: A story to share
 
The HOA got us a new haybale, and Patty and I went down on Friday, and transformed it into "Folk Art."   We tickle ourselves!!!  
 
This is just a temporary picture until Fall actually happens;  we couldn't just leave it undecorated for nearly two weeks.
 
Then we'll go all out for Autumn:  Scarecrows, pumpkins, and Halloween, and a surprise.
 
HAPPY DAYS IN FIVE FORKS!!!
Posted on September 12, 2021 8:00 AM by Gerry Trout
 
A couple weeks ago I told you about male and female squash blossoms.  
 
Well, I was out in the garden this morning and saw this beautiful example of a female squash blossom.  Actually, there are a few in this picture.  I thought it was such a good example, I had to take the picture.  We're going to have a few more butternut squashes.  
 
Check out the recipe section for a couple good butternut recipes.
 
HAPPY  GARDENING!!!
 
 
Posted on September 11, 2021 8:00 AM by Gerry Trout

 
Well, it was time to take out the leeks.  They've been there for 2 years.  
 
I planted seeds a couple years ago, and the first year we ate lots of leeks, and the second year they bloomed.  I showed you pix of the flowers a few months ago.  Then they went to seed.  Each of those little flowers produced 2 or 3 seeds. So you can see that I harvested thousands of seeds.   Now I just have to wait for them to dry, and I can store them to plant next spring.  I'll be happy to share if you want to plant leeks.  
 
In the meantime, at the base of each of those flower stalks is a bulblet or two.  I pulled them off, and replanted them.  They are already sprouting.  I think this is the right time of year to plant bulblets, so they can establish themselves before winter sets in.  Then I will mulch them with a couple inches of straw, to keep them warm through the winter.  
 
And next spring we will start all over again:  leek soup, scalloped potatoes with leeks, leeks in everything.  Hey, they are FREE!!!
 
And the year after that we'll get to see the blossoms!!  We love leeks.
 
HAPPY GARDENING!!!
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