Facets of a Muse

Examining the guiding genius of writers everywhere

Harvest winding down #gardening #minnesota


L to R: zucchini, Mariachi peppers, brussels sprouts, kale. In back, cucumbers and tomatoes

I can’t believe it’s September already. Didn’t we just have the Fourth of July? The autumnal equinox is due in a couple weeks. Ugh. That means there will be even fewer hours of daylight. And it’s the official start of fall. Not that anyone told the mosquitoes they should shut down operations. I think we have a new batch; bloodthirsty little buggers!

We’ve been enjoying some great stuff from the garden. The green beans are done, the zucchini is testing my tolerance, and the tomatoes … Oh, the poor tomatoes! They have almost completely succumbed to the blight. The cucumber is hanging on, but production is waning. And as you can see in the pictures, I haven’t weeded for a long time.

Another angle. The kale looks great!

I picked the onions, since they were ready and for some reason a number of them had started to rot (gee, could it be due to all the rain we’ve been having?). I started digging out the potatoes last night, and have half a wheelbarrow full with about a quarter of them left to dig. Many are misshapen, with bumps and nodules and weirdly alien protuberances. That tells me there is some mineral lacking in the soil, and I suspect calcium is the culprit.

Potatoes front L, weeds front R, bare aisle where onions were

And here is a closer-up view of my poor tomato plants, along with my cilantro happily blooming with tiny white flowers.

Cilantro and tomatoes, with kale in the background. Oh, and weeds!

The other night as I was heading to the garden my husband showed me a surprise: the first eggs from this batch of chickens!

One of the chickens was camera-shy; we have seven chickens total. We have no idea which chickens started laying. Once all seven start laying, we won’t have to worry about egg shortages. In the winter, though, our chickens have always slowed down the egg production, so we’ll see how many keep laying through the cold months.

Another sign of fall:

Monarch butterflies!

Can you see them? It was hard to get a good picture from the house, but I didn’t want to go outside and scare them away. Monarch butterflies gathered on one of our trees. I don’t know when they left, but it was so cool to see! In case you aren’t aware, monarch butterflies migrate south. It’s one reason people are encouraged to have areas set aside for wildflowers, so the butterflies have something to keep them going on their trip.

I have an empty nest this weekend–yippee! I am going to focus on writing, damn it. Revisions, then moving on. Oh, and more homework, but maybe not until later next week. Our Sisters in Crime chapter has also put out a call for short story submissions for our next anthology, so part of my brain is working on that as well. Something twisty for that one.

Enjoy your weekend, and may the trees not start changing colors quite yet!

And your point is what, exactly?

Author: Julie Holmes, author

A fiction writer since elementary school (many years ago), and NaNoWriMo annual participant for over a decade, I have been published in small press magazines such as "Fighting Chance" and "The Galactic Citizen". I write adult mystery with a touch of romance, mystery with extrasensory elements, contemporary fantasy, and epic fantasy, and I'm represented by the fabulous Cynthia Zigmund of Second City Publishing Services. My debut novel, "Murder in Plane Sight", has been released by Camel Press (an imprint of Coffeetown Press/Epicenter Press). In real life, I am a technical writer and empty-nester with a wonderful hubby, one cat (what writer doesn't have cats??), one dog, five chickens, and more chipmunks, squirrels, and rabbits than any garden should have to deal with. My garden, our hobby farm, and Nature's annual seasons are some of my muses.

24 thoughts on “Harvest winding down #gardening #minnesota

  1. What a lovely garden, Julie! And it’s so nice to have fresh things, isn’t it? You have fresh eggs, too, which is fabulous. Your ‘photo of the butterflies reminds me of the time my daughter and I raised Monarchs – it was a great experience!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks, Margot! I love having the garden; there’s nothing quite like garden-fresh produce, or “hey, we’re out of onions. I’ll go out to the garden and get one.” I think the monarchs stopped by last year, but every time I see them, it’s sooo cool, and amazing to think they gather in many places and then head south.

      Have a great weekend!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Your garden is beautiful, Julie, and all your fresh produce makes me want to cook up something
    really tasty. Knowing you, you will have herbs as well.
    Came out in conservatory just now and had to rescue two butterflies who tried to get out
    through the windows. One was a Monarch.


    Liked by 2 people

  3. Your garden still looks pretty good, Julie, and rain does cause blight in plants. We have that problem sometimes too. When it occasionally decides to rain in South Africa it usually floods.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I love cilantro! Is it difficult to grow, Julie? I love the camera shy chicken…I’m that way around cameras, too. Your garden is beautiful. Enjoy the weekend!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. What a wonderful garden, Julie. I know that took a lot of work.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Ah, Zoey. She makes me smile every time. Such spunk. Your garden is/has been amazing! Ours is typically pathetic, but we did get a lot of good lettuce and tomatoes this year. One of our hens is molting. That didn’t happen last year. I walked out there and it was like a fowl crime scene (hyuck, hyuck) with feathers everywhere. I had to count heads to be sure one of the hawks that’s been hanging around hadn’t gotten one. But they’re all acting normal enough. Despite the number of feathers on the ground, it was hard to tell a difference. Having chickens is such a blast, though. I’m glad we took the plunge. And some day a cat…

    Liked by 2 people

    • Wait, A cat? Nope, have to get at least two so they can keep each other company when their people aren’t around (see what I did there? 😀 ) Yep, our chickens molted once a year, too, and usually stopped laying eggs about then until they were refeathered and pretty again. I wasn’t expecting the chickens to start laying quite yet, but I’m glad, even though I know they’ll slow down or stop once the cold weather comes.

      Have a great weekend, Betsy!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I can’t believe how fast this year is zooming by! I feel like i just planted my garden. How beautiful to see the monarchs as they migrate.Have a great writing weekend and a fantastic week!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Uh-oh. Zoey looks kind of miffed in that photo! 🙂

    I am in awe of your garden, despite the fact that not everything turned out the way you wanted. And how did I not realize you had chickens? Chickens!! Did I miss that, or did my head get too cluttered, and I forgot? Ratchet my awe up another level.

    And, as weird as I am, this line really stood out for me. You were talking about the potatoes, but:
    Many are misshapen, with bumps and nodules and weirdly alien protuberances.

    Could be a cryptid visited in the night, or they got a shot of UFO juice, I’m going to have to talk to Mr. E. about this one, LOL!

    Wishing you an awesome week, Julie, Loved all the photos and the news. Happy writing!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ha! I have to admit I did think about you when I wrote that, but I couldn’t come up with anything more clever. 😀 I know there is a calcium deficiency in the garden, because the tomato plants will grow weird, with twisted, curly leaves and stems. I add calcium when I plant the tomatoes, and that helps. The problem is calcium takes a while to be available to the plants. I found a calcium amendment that seems to work pretty well. This year the potatoes were been more misshapen then usual. I’ll have to start adding it when I plant potatoes next time.

      I like the idea of a cryptid visit. It would be way more interesting than the coyotes we have now 😮

      Have a wonderful week, Mae!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I loved having chickens. A freshly laid egg is nothing like the ones in the store. My grandmother used to heat the corn for the chickens in the winter. I was told she felt sorry for them but must wonder if it had to do with egg production.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hmm. I’ve never heard about heating the corn for the chickens. I wonder if it helped egg production. There is a definite difference between the fresh eggs and store-bought eggs. I like not having to buy eggs and knowing our eggs are so much fresher.

      Have a great week!


  10. Your garden is wonderful, Julie. I’m down to kale, chard, artichokes, and basil. I just wasn’t here enough this summer, and it never seemed to warm up. Now the rain is early. *Sigh* Enjoy the empty nest, and I hope you get lots of writing done. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh wow, you grow artichokes? I’ve thought about trying those. Yes, this summer was a cooler one here, too, which didn’t seem to bother too many things. I have kale, brussels sprouts, beets, and a few kohlrabi left besides the tomatoes and peppers. It’ll be a wet week this week, so who knows when I’ll get back out there. In the meantime, hubs made some spaghetti sauce with some of the tomatoes 😀

      Have a great week, Diana!

      Liked by 1 person

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