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So, it’s that time of the year when the bright green chlorophyll leaves the leaves, showing off their hidden colors for a brief glorious few days.  That means part of my days is gathering the resultant litter to use as mulch for the roses, so they will survive the winter.  Leaves make good mulch for many reasons.  They’re free, so they fit my budget.  They get blended with grass clippings, weeds, & kitchen waste throughout the summer to make compost, which makes fertilizer for roses and other plants, which means said fertilizer fits my budget.  No one tries to steal them, well, except for windstorms.  So I go out into the brisk fall weather and gather them up, brown and gold and orange and, my favorite, the red, red maple leaves.  I’m glad that, in my neighborhood, the red maples are close to the last leaves to fall.  For a few days, I have bright, festive mounds of leaves over the roses, adding a top layer after other leaves settle, and filling in where settling or wind has bared too much of a rose.  The red leaves look good under the suddenly-ripening rose hips, which seem to ripen best when we have a few days of very light frost. 

 

And it’s the time of year when herbs and fruit need to be gathered before the first hard frost.  The tomato plants were just starting to get going; got to try to start them earlier next year.  The thyme plant accidentally got pulled out of the ground, so now it’s in a pot in the kitchen; the chocolate mint did well this year, so I finally found a place it would establish and do well.  Ditto with the sage.  Spearmint, Wintergreen, Peppermint, Oregano, and Lemon Balm are fine, though the lemon balm is much sparser than in past years—definitely an oddity.  Coneflowers are spreading. 

 

Inside, the mollies still keep breeding; my tiny tank always has babies and selling the adolescents and young adults is helping to keep us in fish food; I’m not making a profit, but still, it’s good to have something that comes close to paying for itself.  And having visited relatives and then returned, I realized that the tanks definitely are humidifying the house, much more than I would have guessed.  Enough to take the edge off for my dry-air sensitive lungs and sinuses.  And the long-fin bristlenose plecos are getting to an age where they might start breeding too, which would be very nice.

 

Time to go buy groceries, so when it’s warmer out later in the week, I can go home and grab a rake…

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