Milkweed, Bees, Caterpillars…and a Dryer Repair

Posted by mrssmythe on October 16, 2017 in Critters, Garden, Seasons, Week in Review |

It certainly feels like Fall today. And, we have our first freeze predicted for tonight.

Meanwhile, the Milkweed has gone to seed…

Have you ever seen these? They’re amazing. I’d never seen pods this big. They were in a nearby neighborhood where I often walk while Ginger has her music lesson.

Milkweed is such an interesting plant. (But then, aren’t all plants interesting?) It’s been used medicinally, as well as for things like pillow stuffing, clothing insulation, and cradle lining. Fascinating stuff.

Meanwhile, I continue to spot caterpillars around the yard. Here is a Hickory Tussock Caterpillar.

I’m glad I didn’t try to pick it up. It’s supposed to be irritating to the skin.

And, this one didn’t even give me a chance to pick him up. He was too fast.

It’s always fun to spot Wooly Bear Caterpillars.

According to this guy, we have a mild winter ahead with a cold end – not at all what we’ve been hearing in the news or from Farmer’s Almanac. Scientists, of course, pooh-pooh the Wooly Bear prediction method anyway (you can read more about that HERE) but it would be fun if it were true…and I do think animals often sense things that are coming far better than we do.

The herbs in the herb garden have mostly finished for the season. Some, like the Lemon Verbena, are still in flower and play host to what bees remain.

Also current hangouts for the bees – the Zinnias…

and the Clematis.

The little salvia annuals I picked up at the garden center in late July have finally gotten around to blooming.

I’m so glad. I wasn’t sure they were going to get a chance before it froze. I’ve been grateful for their spots of jaunty color along the front walk where things have been rather bare since the Bleeding Heart called it quits for the season.

And, not garden related, but certainly noteworthy…CPT A fixed my dryer!

Here you see the heating coil doing what it is supposed to do (but hadn’t been doing for the past three weeks). CPT A had to order several rounds of parts and ended up replacing some other bits that looked worn, too, but in the end he managed to save our dryer and get everything back up and running for about $15. He’s definitely my hero this week!

In the meantime, I’ve been hanging everything to dry on lines in the basement. Surprisingly, I’ve been much better at keeping up with the laundry without the dryer. I think it was knowing nothing could be washed last minute. It forced me to be more attentive. The girls grumbled a bit about the rough towels (terry cloth really does feel better fresh out of the dryer), but otherwise, we managed quite well, and I think I’m going to try and line dry on a regular basis now. I kind of liked hanging everything up with clothespins. I felt happily industrious, and I’ve always liked the way clothes look hanging on a line. I can’t explain it. I know it sounds weird. You’ll have to make allowances for me.

From the dining room table, getting ready to head into the kitchen to check on a loaf of Anadama Bread (a new recipe from an old cook book),

Mrs. Smythe


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  • Jane says:

    As you know, I hang outside almost all the time. We don’t mind scratchy towels at all. I usually hang shirts and blouses on plastic hangers, takes up less room and they can go directly in the closet. Frank and Tim even put up one long line for sheets. I love watching them blow in the breeze🙂

    • mrssmythe says:

      I heard of a travel writer who loved to photograph laundry lines around the world. She loved the way they looked. I like the way they look too. ALSO – I had a friend whose mother hung laundry on hangers to dry along the stair railing at their home. As a kid, I thought it was weird. Now, I just think she was clever.

  • Sarah Bro says:

    Air dried clothes usually smell pretty good, too! Do you remember the L.I. Wilder book “The Long Winter,” where Ma put the clothes out in the frosty air and then brought them in frozen dry? They sprinkled water on them and rolled them up to iron later.

  • TeaLady says:

    You are so fortunate to host so many interesting caterpillars! I rarely see them in my garden.

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