Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Autumn at Red Gate Farm

Fall decorating is pretty low key around here.  For the price of a few packs of seeds I usually have a bounty of items to choose from to decorate inside and out....

The main entrance to our house is the "back door".  Like a true farmhouse, nobody comes in our front door.  You'd actually have to walk past this entrance and to the right, to get to the front door.  The front door that is never used, except by salesman or the FedEx guy.

This year I decided to add a little more than a pumpkin or two.  Although with two large labs... you have to keep an eye on the pumpkins, least they cart them off for a little snack.  I added in some orange, red and yellow flowers... even a corn stalk.

Of course there is one Cinderella pumpkin.... I think these are my all time favorites.

And for the first time, I added some corn stalks from the garden.  I selected the shortest stalks and pulled them up, bound them and attached them with wire.  Hopefully the winds of the past week are finished and the stalks will stay in place.  Most of our corn is still producing so I was sure to select just the very short ones that would never mature.

I think the new orange, deep orange and red million bells looks great with all of the purple I have going on in my garden and around the back door.  The purple October Skies Aster is putting on it's annual show in the background.

I bought one plant when we moved to Red Gate Farm.  I now have it in 4 or 5 places... it seeds itself like crazy but is a great plant at this time of year.  I keep it corralled with peony hoops or other support since it tends to flop by the time it gets this big each year.

I like the combo of white, purple and orange.... maybe a bit more Halloween than Autumn.

And my idea for the pumpkins on my vintage metal chairs?

The aqua chair and dark orange pumpkin is my favorite. Of course anything aqua right now seems to be my favorite....

I think it looks fun and  fabulous... although maybe the pumpkins should be a wee bit larger...

Like some of these from last year...

Or even two years ago.... but the pumpkin fairy hasn't been visiting Red Gate Farm this year.  I may have to settle for the handful I've harvested.

Of course, my ultimate goal would be this.... truck and all.

Enjoying the golden light of early Autumn, in the garden.

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Saturday, September 24, 2011

Welcoming a new season.....

 I'm having a hard time believing that Fall officially arrived yesterday. 

We've had a stretch of warm and muggy weather the last few days.  On the first day of Fall, it was 68 degrees at 5:30 am.... I hear that it was just as warm the night before.  This may not sound like warm night time temps to some of you but around here we don't see that much in August let alone the start of Fall and the end of September! 

Fortunately, I started some of my fall decorating last weekend... while it was cloudy, rainy and cooler.

Believe it or not, here at our little farmhouse-cottage, we don't have a mantle... or a fireplace.  I'm not really clear on what they used for heat back in 1920 but it certainly wasn't the furnace we have now... or the gas stove in the living room!

Although I may be "mantle less", I do have a few spots around the house that I like to change out for seasons... or holidays.  The corner of the buffet in the dining room changes out frequently.

For fall I used my new mercury glass pumpkins.  You can put lights inside, making a warm glow in the evenings.  The little pitcher has orange and silver on it.  I like the way it looks with the mercury glass.  I'd been eyeing it a local antique store for months.  Finally it went to the clearance room last winter... I picked it up for a whopping $2.75.  An orange, home grown zinnia nestles inside....

My all time favorite decorating spot is the top of my little cabinet in the kitchen.  It sits just under our chalk board.... a chalk board made out of the original medicine cabinet from our house here at Red Gate Farm.  I usually use my milk glass here since the whole cabinet is full of it, my collection of milk glass that is.  That little pumpkin sitting in the vase?  Well it's an antique paper mache jack-o-lantern... if you turn it around it has a jack-o-lantern face with cut outs and you can just see the little wire handle it has on the top.  It's probably from the 30's.  My mom found two at a garage sale for .50 cents each... on eBay or antique stores this same pumpkin goes for $80 - $100!  I'm sure glad my mom shared!!!  And he does "double-duty" since I just turn him around, face out, come October 1st.

Even the little corner kitchen shelves my husband built to encase the over the range microwave get changed up.  This year I used all my Akro-Agate planters... or slag glass.  This is the same type of glass that marbles were, and in some places still are, made of.  One of my last white, dinner plate dahlias just fits into the large green vase.

And a top the fridge?  Well I definitely don't leave it bare....

This Metlox orange pitcher held milk, fresh from the cow, on my dad's table when he was a child.  I found the sugar bowl and platter at a flea market and garage sale.  They also are Metlox.  This display will also do double duty with a few items added in October for Halloween.

So the inside of the house feels a bit fallish, if not a bit warmish... but of course, this warm, wet and muggy weather won't be here for long... not in the Pacific Northwest... but it will be good for the pumpkin patch!

Looking forward to a season full of fresh apple cider, hot tea, bright sunny days, cold crisp nights, a hint of wood smoke in the air and perhaps a slice of pumpkin bread,

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Thursday, September 22, 2011


I bet you thought I was talking about a little green guy like this?

Well..... I do have a couple of green frogs, but they're the metal kind... not the squishy, slimy kind....  I've amassed quite a collection of frogs over the last few years, flower frogs that is.  It started with a couple of metal ones... plain metal ones that belonged to my grandmother.  Next thing I knew I had collected quite a few...

I found a black glass one that I like to use for my Halloween decorating... along with a few other vintage black glass items...

I just recently came across this creamy white ceramic one at a local antique store for under $2.00... of course it was coming home.

This very unusual one was found at a thrift store last week.  I've never seen one quite like this... it reminds me of corn or pie with all of it's bumps and it's pale, golden yellow color.  It was $.99... not too bad since it came with a metal one too!

This is one of my favorites.  It has a place in my kitchen, year round.  It gets moved around a bit depending on the season but it's always somewhere in my my kitchen.  It's a very, very heavy one... perhaps it's lead?  It weights quite a bit for it's size.  I've never seen another flower frog shaped like an actual flower!

And what do I do with them you ask?  Well they can be used for flower arrangements... of course!  This pink glass one didn't come with this vase... I found them at different times and places but they fit together nicely.  This summer I found another small pink depression glass frog to keep the bigger pink one company.

Some even styles make good pen or pencil holders....

I like my newest frog, the corn inspired one, with a few other fall decorations on my table.

Of course the plain metal ones make wonderful picture... or vintage postcard holders.  Vintage Niagara Falls postcards that is...

So my frog collections grows a little bigger each year....

Maybe next will be one of these fabulous, wire princely looking ones??? 

Vintage Lot of Flower Frogs
 And I bet won't even have to kiss a frog to find it.....

Celebrating the final day of summer... in the rain.... Pacific Northwest style,

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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Plotting, Planning and Planting

At this time of year I like to take a hard look at my gardens.  It's a good time to decide what worked and what didn't.  What did well... What I really liked... What do I want to change for next year... What do I want to move from one garden spot to another.... What did I see this year that I'd like to incorporate for next year.

I think this time is the best time to plan for the next gardening season.  While I can still see my fading flowers, both annuals and perennials.

One of my plans for next year includes a redo of shade garden I have.  Finally the hydrangea is doing better which means I may need to move some hostas around, as well as this little green basket that I fill with bicopa and impatiens.  It's one of the few gardens I can see from my living room window and it needs a little sprucing up next year.

Now is also a good time to count and figure how many impatiens I planted... decide how many seeds I need to buy for next year.  My white impatiens did very well this year, they went from this....

to this... on the east side of the house.

And this cute little zinnia... I forget the name... (maybe cherry swizzle?) but it wasn't quite what I expected.  I grew it with my cutting zinnias in my veg garden but it was so low growing and bushy that it isn't a good cut flower.  Next year I may still plant these seeds but I will put them in pots instead... or the garden along the coop since they aren't a good cutting flower.

And this spring I decided to get another Limelight Hydrangea for one of the front flower beds.  They do well in full sun and my original one is so beautiful that I wanted to balance it out with a second.

It'll take a bit to catch up to the other... but that's ok.  I even like the colors as it fades from bright, lime green to a faded pastel like beige and rose pink.

Last year I planted these double calibrochia or million bells in my window boxes... I'm glad I decided to use them again this year.  They've done fantastic from May all the way through to September.  I'm happy I made note of it last year in my garden journal so that I remembered to have it return to the garden this year.

Another addition this year was that I chose to add more sunflowers in my cutting garden.... almost a whole row of them... all shapes... sizes...

and of course, colors!  This is my first year of growing these reddish variety.  They will definitely make the list for next year as well.

For the biggest surprise?  Well it was the Wave Petunias that I grew from seed.  They had a bit of a slow start but wow, once they got going they took off like wild fire.  I planted three varieties... a pink, a white with a pale purple center and a plain lavender. 

They all did well and I will be sure to plant them again next year... just a bit earlier than the end of March. They are a pelleted seed and take quite a while to germinate.  Believe it or not but this is just three of my Wave seedlings!

So in my usual daydreaming fashion and before the gardening year is over... I've already started plotting, planning....

and dreaming of next year.

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