Friday, October 07, 2005


It's October and even though we have had our share of travel this year, we can't resist a trip to Hermann, Missouri, for their annual celebration.

Hermann is a quaint little German town along the Missouri river. There are numerous wineries in that region. It is a delightful weekend especially if the weather and trees cooperate. We planned this mini trip with another couple several months ago because of the Monday holiday. It appears we will be a bit early for the color this year but the weather sounds perfect.

Our favorite winery is Robller winery. We especially like their Norton wine. They will have wine tasting and blues and jazz all weekend. The owners are personable and available to talk about their wine operation. Their vineyard will be popular.

The Norton grape has a long American history. It is believed the first Norton vine was grown in Virginia. Missouri vineyards took it as their own and perfected its growth. It thrives in the warm midwest summers. It contains an unusually large content of resveratrol, believed to be the solution of the "French Paradox." That reason aside, we think it is a very good red wine and plan to bring home a case for the holidays.... but not before sampling a few bottles and kicking back.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

It's starting!

Fall is my favorite time of the year. The weather is still warm during the day and the nights are perfect for a campfire, but the best part of fall is the color. Orange and yellow with a bits of red and green are beautiful up close or distant splashes . Today I saw the first sign. "They" say a wet year isn't as colorful--we'll see.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Plants in or Plants out?

It is a dilemma tonight. All the houseplants are out. The forecast is lows in the 30s. Weather Bug is not helping. There is no warning sound on our weather radio to bring in plants.

OK, I've made the decision. It's plants in! Better get to work.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Downy Gentian

There was a surprise on the counter when I returned home from work today. Dan found a new wildflower in the pasture—new to me anyway.

We looked through our wildflower books over dessert. The Readers Digest North American Wildlife book came through with Downy Gentian.

The top listing when I searched the internet was the
KSU Konza Prairie site . It tells me the downy gentian blooms late in the season and even withstanding early frosts. Gentian honors an ancient Greek king named "Gentius" who is said to have treated bubonic plague victims with European yellow gentian. Pollinating insects are attracted to gentians by the fragrant nectar in the flowers and will actually pry open the petals in order to get inside.

I am looking forward to finding these beauties myself.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Wild Poinsettia or Fire on the Mountain

October 1st is the start of the Christmas season at the post office. Watch your mailbox for those holiday catalogs. Also, when you order, ask for USPS delivery--we are the least expensive and fastest.

Several years ago, while delivering a parcel to the door of a customer, I noticed a plant that looked exactly like a poinsettia. I mentioned it to the customer and he said he would give me some seeds. At that time he warned me that they may be prolific.

Fast forward to today--I have Wild Poinsettias aks Fire on the Mountain aks Spurge family all over the place. They love the north side of our house. I even have a couple growing out of a fig tree container that I moved out for the summer.

Even though they might be aggressive, I have enjoyed the plant primarily because it seems I have poinsettias around all summer. There will be lots of seeds and I will, as my mail route customer, pass them on. Email me at lhanney (at)starband(dot) net with your address and you will have your own Fires on the Mountain next summer.