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While we have had a taste of pretty cool weather, it has warmed back up. I have gone from fire in the fireplace and even the heat on for a few days, to open windows and the fan running. The predicted storms and rain missed me this weekend, but we did have some heavy winds which have almost cleared the leaves off the trees. I rake and mulch, but it seems to be a never-ending battle these days. It looks like I have a great week of weather to hopefully finish the task. I try to put all the leaves in several big piles,

then use my leaf sucker/mulcher,

to make shredded leaves. I use the shredded leaves in my vegetable beds as mulch, but then use it as mulch in walkways and in the backyard.

This whole week I have had to water quite a bit. I am not watering daily, but I think some of my plants wished I were. I have started pulling out summer plants and have cut back a lot of spent perennials but my tropical hibiscus and mandevilla are still blooming their hearts out. I had 9 blooms on one hibiscus yesterday. They aren't going until a frost does them in.

Some of my Sunpatiens have died back, but most are still blooming, as are the cuphea and the geraniums.

I keep buying more pansies and violas, but haven't gotten any planted yet--I just keep watering. Maybe if I get all the leaves done, I can get the bulbs planted and then the pansies and winter color!

My cool season vegetables are doing great, with tons of lettuce harvested weekly. I am still getting a few tomatoes--one really good one this week on a Cherokee purple.

I just left a few in pots, but pulled all the ones in the raised bed to make room for the cool season vegetables.

Two of my friends drove to the Mizell camellia nursery the weekend before and brought me back some new camellias. I can't wait to plant them, but I have to figure out where.

They called me from the nursery and I ended up buying three without even being there. Good thing I didn't go or I would have bought even more!

The weeks seem to be flying by. We did get to celebrate two more birthdays this week, with a dinner for Randy.

Since he is the egg man, we got him a twirling chicken whirligig. Clay had a cold, so we delayed his birthday celebration until later in the week, but had a fine meal together.

I am writing a story on a community outreach garden in Pulaski County this week, and got to visit and see a fabulous garden.

I just love the dedication of the Master Gardener volunteers. The story will be in the paper next Saturday.

The holidays are going to be different this year, with no large gatherings, but I am blessed that my kids are close by and we get to visit regularly. I know others are not as fortunate. One day this virus will be gone and we will get back to normal--but I think it will still be a new normal. Stay safe and wear a mask! I seem to buy new ones each week!

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