Sunday, January 19, 2014

Endurance Event

Winter started early this year, and it has been relentless. By this point, I usually can count on both hands the number of times that I've had challenging drives to work. In contrast, this year I think I can count on one hand the number of times I've had an easy commute since December 1st.  

What's been remarkable is not so much the quantity of snow, but how much it has blown around, causing drifting problems on the roads two or three days after it has fallen. This is a reflection of how cold it's been when the snow fell, resulting in dry snow that doesn't stay out.

The good news is that the snow should be doing a nice job of insulating the garden beds, so the plants should come through the winter with little damage. At least that's what we are telling ourselves now!

In the meantime, my gardening thoughts are focused indoors. The white amaryllis has begun to bloom.

Another indoor gardening project is my sprouter. I just got this sprouter from Gardens Alive, and the current crops are a lentil mix and arugula.  The lentils were very easy to work with; the teeny arugula seeds are a different story. The final verdict will be based on the taste. 

And later today I will pull out the seed catalogs and start planning the veggie garden for this spring. Sooner or later, this winter will come to an end!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Something New is Unfolding

The buds on the amaryllis bulb are slowly unfolding, and so is a new beginning for this blog. Like a seed buried in the ground, this blog has laid dormant for too long. I'm going to add some water and light and bring it back to life.  

I took the first amaryllis photo with my iPad.  It may be the first and last photo that I take with the iPad, but I thought that I would try this first post just using the Blogger app on the iPad.  I love my iPad but I'm not a fan of it for photography. It's just to awkward to use to get a great photo.  Next time I will try to bring in an iPhone photo or perhaps one from my new camera. 

I am a fan of Amaryllis. I ended up with two bulbs this year. This one was an impulse purchase from Countryside, the night of their wine tasting event. A week after I planted it, we received one as a parting gift at a friend's 90th birthday party. That bulb is moving a bit slower, which means I should have blooms for the rest of this long winter. 

And look at this, I can import photos from the iPhone! Here's the bud about a week ago.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Winter in the Woods

We took a walk in the woods yesterday to flag more buckthorn and honeysuckle to be cleared. It only takes a few minutes in the woods and I can start spotting the invasive brush in amongst the dogwoods and hazelnuts. The wildflowers in this area have responded well to the brush clearing that we've done previously so it's rewarding to spend some time up here. The next great sign of recovery will be to see the oaks starting to regenerate. We're getting some seedling oaks just outside the established woods, but so far none inside. We need some young'uns to start growing so there are replacements on hand for the older trees such as this one.

Winter Woods

I love the resilience of the oaks. Several of the oaks up here have multiple trunks, indicating that they may have been cut down at some point and then resprouted. The tree in the next photo has three trunks. And if you look closely, you'll see a little orange fleck near the base of the tree. Another buckthorn slated for removal!

Winter Woods

So I'll keep on flagging the invasives and keep checking the forest floor for more encouraging news in spring.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Winter & Light

I've always enjoyed living with four distinct seasons, even though I do a fair amount of grousing about the cold and snow in the wintertime. (Of course, I never complain about the heat and humidity in the summer...) I like to think that I have a good appreciation of the winter landscape. The last several days, though, have been very cloudy. We've had some fresh snowfall; very minor accumulations but enough to keep everything looking clean. But I'm realizing that without the sun, the winter beauty does not pop.

I grabbed a quick photo this afternoon when I got home from work. It may not be the most beautiful photo of winter, but I think this one nails today on the head. I feel like this is what it looked like all day today - rather dull and monochromatic.

Winter Milkweed

This is common milkweed, Asclepias syriaca. Even though most consider it to be a weed, I have to admit that I'm fascinated by the seed pods of this plant. I also think the flowers are rather nice as well. Now, if it just wasn't so darn hot when those flowers bloom!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Abundance in January

Yes, it's January, and true gardeners are blessed by a special abundance this month - Seed Catalogs!

January Harvest - Seed Catalogs

I think you can tell from the photo which catalog is my favorite. Seed Savers Exchange each year has a cover that's worthy of framing. The rest of the catalog is pretty darned good, too. I've been known to call it "veggie porn." (Hope that doesn't get my blog blacklisted.)

The hard part is deciding what to order. As in, I know I don't have the time to plant everything that I'd like to order from their catalog. I need to dedicate some serious time to planning this January.

And then stick to the plan when I go to the Farmer's Market in May and start to chat with the plant vendors.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

A Scene in the Winter Garden

The tomato plant that grew on the obelisk is long since gone, first taken out by frost and then removed by me. The leaves are gone on the Arrowwood Viburnum. But the sky was a brilliant blue this morning, and the blue obelisk reached for its blue counterpart.

I tried several times during the summer months to get a good photo of this obelisk, but the color always came out on the green side. Funny that on a bitter cold but sunny winter day, I got the shot that I wanted.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Photo of the Day - January 6, 2011

Last spring we ordered 25 day old chicks from Farm & Fleet. Within a month, we had 9 more "refugee" birds join our flock. The birds grew and grew, and three of those refugees grew into roosters. In November, two of the birds disappeared, the victim of an unknown predator. In mid December, the three roosters and seven hens were taken to the processor. So 22 hens remain and they are busy laying eggs. Today's photo shows the 16 eggs that were in the nest boxes today. And yes, they taste wonderful!

Today's Eggs

(and yes, that's why Storey's Guide to Chickens is one of the books in yesterday's post.)