Autumn

The weather here in NE Wisconsin was absolutely beautiful for a few days and I took advantage of that and got out on the bike for a while. But that’s changing fast. They’re now talking about a possibility of snow for us by next week. Sigh…

Jalapeno peppers still growing outside in mid October? Yep. Actually they’re doing better now than they did all summer. I didn’t get more than a dozen or so peppers of both plants during the summer but now the dopey things are covered with flowers and baby fruits. Go figure…

But that being said we have no right to complain. The fall weather has been pretty darned nice. We still haven’t had a hard freeze. We’ve had a few mornings when there was frost on the ground but not enough to really cause any damage. We still have flowers growing around the house and I have two jalapeno pepper plants that are still in flower for heaven’s sake.

Some of the flowers that have survived this fall so far are a bit surprising, like the alyssum. This little cluster of flowers popped up in the spring all by themselves, which surprised me a great deal. But I was very pleased to see them because I love those tiny little flowers, not just because they’re beautiful but because some types of alyssum are amazingly fragrant.

Getting out on the backroads and trails on the bike this fall has been great fun. I’m really going to miss being out there every day once winter hits. It’s been especially interesting out there because I’ve been seeing a lot of reptiles and amphibians out there, far more than usual. I’ve seen dozens of snakes, usually grass snakes and the like. We have two of those little beauties living in the backyard. Unfortunately they’re fast little buggers and my attempts to get them on camera haven’t been very successful. I’ve seen quite a few of them out in the wild as well. Unfortunately I’ve also seen quite a few of them flattened on the roads as well because some of them have a habit of sunning themselves on the roadway.

I’ve seen quite a few turtles out there too, including Fred, who is a regular sight down near the stone bridge that goes over the river.

Almost any sunny day I’d find Fred sunning himself on his favorite spot. He’s a cute little guy, maybe about six inches across with beautiful markings. I’ve managed to get about six or seven fairly decent photos of him.

Most of the migrating birds are gone now. I’ve seen a few cranes still hanging around but those will be gone soon. Ducks and geese are mostly gone. I’ve seen very few birds coming to the feeder in the yard as well. I haven’t had to refill in it some time now. But this time of year the seed eating birds are finding more than enough to eat out there in the wild.

Let’s see, what else? MrsGF and I are sketching out plans for major changes to the gardens now that those big trees are down. Now that the area back there is getting full sun it opens up a lot of options. We want to move two of the raised vegetable beds over to that area because they’re now getting shaded out by a fast growing maple where they are now. The area where the beds are now may become occupied by a garden shed because we need the storage space. We want to put a large decorative raised bed where the stump from the ash tree is located, one that matches the existing bed we have now that surrounds the little maple.

That’s not going to be a cheap project, though. If we do everything we’ve been thinking of it’s probably going to end up costing us in the neighborhood of $5K when it’s all said and done.

We’re still waiting for the garage door company to get the new doors in so they can replace the 30+ year old garage doors and openers. They’re in pretty rough shape and I don’t think they’ll last the winter.

Let’s wrap this up with a siamese cat because why not?

Meg, we’re not sure how old she is but she’s at least 16, maybe 17, and an absolute sweetheart. This foot rubbing thing is fairly new with her but I’m told it isn’t uncommon with kitties. She’s turned into quite the lap cat. If there is a lap anywhere in the house, she will find it and sit on it. She has this thing now where when she’s on my lap she likes to climb up on my chest and rub her face in my beard which is cute but that cat’s claws are like little razors and when she gets relaxed she starts doing this kneading thing it gets a bit interesting.

Oh, almost forgot, the new vacuum thingie. It’s a Shark self emptying robotic vacuum. Normally I wouldn’t have bought one of these but I got the dopey thing on some kind of sale on Amazon for less than half the normal retail price. It was marked down to $200 or so from $500, and I admit that it was sort of an impulse buy.

Now we had a robot vacuum before, one of the early Roomba machines, and it was utterly horrible in every single way. It was incredibly noisy. It couldn’t deal with even 1/4″ tall thresholds between rooms, couldn’t deal with, well, it couldn’t deal with anything, really. It fell down the basement stairs twice. It would just stop dead in its tracks for no apparent reason. And even worse it was damn near worthless at actually cleaning anything.

This one is actually surprisingly good. It maps the rooms as it cleans so it can develop a more efficient pattern of movement. It doesn’t just scurry around at random. It’s been able to negotiate even the rather steep threshold between the dining room and living room. It wanders back to its dock and recharges itself when it needs to and when the battery is topped off it picks up where it left off. And best of all it empties itself! The bin on the dock has to be dumped every couple of weeks or so but that’s no big deal. It hasn’t fallen down the basement stairs yet. And best of all it does a pretty darned nice job cleaning the floors.

I’m not quite sure what in the world it’s doing under the sofa, though. It seems to spend an inordinate amount of time under there when it’s cleaning. Since it has wifi I suspect it’s looking at porn while it’s under there.

Anyway we’ve had this thing for a couple of weeks now and we’ll see how it goes. So far we like it. Even the cat doesn’t mind it.