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.)

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Photo of the Day - January 5, 2011

I'm going to try and do a photo per day this year. Yes, I'm starting 5 days late. A Facebook discussion on book sorting motivated me to document this stack of books currently sitting on the coffee table. The stack was photographed as is. Yes, we are a little obsessed with food at the moment.

Book Stack

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

A New Year, A New Math

We have made a joint resolution for 2011 that we will buy no new "stuff" this year, and we have included plants in our definition of stuff. So this year's garden math will be focused on subtraction instead of addition, division instead of multiplication.

The front beds really will benefit from being thinned, and I think that if I am forced to work with what I have, I will be more judicious in my plantings. I must confess that sometimes I've taken somewhat of a "Throw it all in and see what sticks" approach. A little planning certainly is not a bad thing.

I'll close with one of the last sunrises of 2010.

Sunrise 12-29-10

It was a keeper!