This unannounced hiatus was due to getting totally busy writing my dissertation and taking up a new job, as well as all the paperwork involved in taking a new job, being a grad student, etc. etc.
It's finally Christmas break, the dissertation is this close to being finished, and I have some time to myself once again.
Of course in all this busy-ness, the garden has been neglected. There are still leaves to rake and shrubs to trim, weeds to pull -- and it's raining, raining, raining. Bleah.