Today brought one of those fall rains that just settles in your bones. While many of the still brightly colored leaves fell to the ground prematurely, they created a blanket sure to provide quite an early morning scene, so long as the sun re-appears as is the forecast. I had hoped to continue work on our recently acquired hoop house, but a rain soaked ladder is never a good place to be. There was a brief midday reprieve, long enough to clean up the strawberry patch in preparation for winter mulching, but then the rain returned. Having worked in the landscaping field since 1995, I am all too accustomed to "forced holidays," though I am usually able to find something worthwhile to do outside upon returning home. On this day it was raining too hard, however, and I gave in and took refuge in the house. Upon drying out, I was able to make some overdue phone calls. Most exciting among these was a call to Stark Bros. Nursery, located in Louisiana, MO, between St. Louis and Hannibal. They have been in business since moving from Kentucky in 1816, and have introduced into production a number of world famous varieties of fruits, including both the red and golden delicious apple. I ordered three varieties of apple trees, two var. of Asian pears, and three var. of grapes. They should arrive mid-November. There is also garlic that recently arrived from my good friend Nate near Urbana. And the additional blueberry bushes I purchased last week from Anna Nursery, a local wholesaler of hundreds of varieties of native and rare trees and shrubs for the landscape industry since 1925. I have a lot of friends in need of a home. I can only hope that there are drier days to come.