Friday, October 15, 2010

First Snow

First snow tonight. Wet stuff, after another day of heavy rains and flood warnings. Not too much -- so far. I think of the first snow of the season being October 17th, plus or minus. I'd been guessing it would come on the 19th this year. So much for that.

Aside: we have enough wood. Not yet stacked though. Oh well.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Abigail's Addition

Our not-so-small house is getting bigger...

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Furry Neighbor

Have I mentioned there's a groundhog living in the Big Pile Of Rocks? (Now I have.)

It's so far not eaten the been seedlings -- I have no faith that will last. It did investigate the future herb bed (which already has oregano and thyme, thanks to Mom's amazing gardens), and we've seen it doing so, as well as disappearing 'round the corners of the house. Its tail is noticeably short, which suggests something about both the pack-o-dogs that goes running by most days and about the groundhog.

About the pack-o-dogs: one of our nifty neighbors trains and boards dogs. She exercises them by running several miles UP the hills and then down to her home. About 4 are leashed and about 8 aren't, and they are generally excellent, civilized, normal dogs and she is very clearly Alpha Leader to them. So I have never had cause to worry about either my own dog or my children when they come by. The ground hog, of course, should worry.

I rather like having a groundhog neighbor, except I don't feel like sharing the garden. There's so much other grasses and plantains and such around for it... but I suspect it's tricky to train a groundhog.

I do have fencing, if I could find the time...

Monday, April 12, 2010


Daffodils, up and in bloom. Scilla, also. Lilac buds are leafing out.

Wish I knew more about which trees were which. There's a project for this year... or next.

Seen (and sometimes heard): Dark-eyed Juncos, Black-capped Chickadees, Tufted Titmice, White-breasted Nuthatches, Song Sparrows, American Robins, Mourning doves, Common Raven, Blue Jays, Eastern Phoebe (at our house, this one is known as "squeaky phoebe"). Possibly saw a Fox Sparrow.
Heard: My ear is woefully absent-minded. At my sister's, I heard (at least a month ago), someone saying "witter witter WET feet". At home, I'm hearing something like "maids maids kettle-ettle-ettle" (local dialect of song sparrow?).
Haven't been paying close attention, and we were away for a week.

Saw Eastern Newts and snails in High Pond. Three Gray squirrels this spring; two to four Red Squirrels (the end of the tail of one is patterned like a turkey feather!). Several Eastern Chipmunks.

My favorite spring observation so far: Kids playing in mud. (Me too.) We're building "gunk walls" to direct the water away from Pine Castle. The water comes from our spring, crosses under the road (in theory; there is a culvert again this year at least), seeps in more or less and eventually meets the creek. Pine Castle is a now topless white pine on a large mound, which makes for a good fort. Maybe photos sometime.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

finding the borders after and under late winter detritus

About 3 inches of daffodils are up. Most of the snow is gone. So I couldn't resist being outside a bit today; I know it's too early but... or maybe it isn't.

Anyway, I raked some, just dumping slightly-mulched the leaves into either one of the garden-beds-to-make* or under the white lilac and excessive roses**. They don't need the mulch at this time of year, but I figure those beds need more soil eventually and this should slow down some of the silly spread-themselves forbs. Wish I knew more about what's native or not.

I pulled old stems and leaves and bits of gravel and some persistent spreading ground cover off the rocks that edge the flower beds (the ones with shrubs and perennials along the road). I cut away old daffodil leaves, sedum plants, peony stems. I'm not much of one for annuals unless they self-seed. I have mixed feelings about sedum and some of the geraniums, 'cause they spread so. And the snow-on-the-mountain! If only it would be well-behaved ... but it tries to take over and isn't even as useful as mint. I planted bee balm with it last year, that should teach it . Let 'em duke it out. The bee balm (non-native varieties, though I tried to find those) is nice for the Ruby-throated hummingbird when the lavendar (er, lilac?) lilac isn't blooming.

The daffodils come up through years of gravel dumped via snow (carried in snow shoved onto these beds by the plow) mixed with whatever I toss in the previous fall (generally their own old stems and leaves). Once I tried to move them. I dug down at least six inches and never found the bulbs. I figured they must be alright enough then, and put the dirt back.

I am a very haphazard gardener. And lazy... no, no, I mean efficient. (Thus choosing perennials.) Well...

* We're gradually, year-by-year, adding beds for vegetables or herbs or whatever. Some are raised beds; this area will be more terraced with river rock "walls".

** Moved from my Mom's; some are transplants of her old roadside roses, which we "pruned by the plow" every year. Some are just random things she moved or divided. I do not pamper roses (indeed, I barely give them any attention), so mine are thorny, leggy, sometimes buggy, and smell wonderful.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

ooh, that smell

When we got home late this afternoon, the air was full of the taste of crisped maple sugar. I guess either Highland or Hillsboro (or both) were boiling off today.


Monday, March 15, 2010

Yesterday through the window

The lilacs have buds! Well, the white lilac anyway; it's the one with slightly better drainage and gets somewhat less snow plowed into it. The purple lilac is older, but has lost quite a bit to snowplowing (the shove of the snow more than the plowblade). (Oddly, the road and lilac have not moved in the over 13 years I've lived here. Go figure.)

I also saw a Dark-eyed Junco on the hydrangea. I haven't seen many of them this year. Was I not feeding enough, the right stuff? Was the snow just too deep for under-shrub feeding in the visible places?

The creek behind the house is running slightly high and cheerfully loud, and bit blueish with spring meltout. Oh, there's plenty of sagging snow and spots of ice over the mud still, and I'm sure we'll get some more before spring is solidly here, but this feels so welcome.

On my way to one of my clients' today, I saw a pair of Canada geese! They appeared to be playing the goose version of tag, as they swam in this semi-seasonal pond near a plowed field off Route 116. (This is the same field where I got my car stuck one day last year, because I'd turned off the road to look more closely at what turned out to be statues of swans. Ahem.) The Canada goose may be a year-rounder, maybe, out on Lake Champlain, but I don't see it up here in the winter, so that's a sign of spring for me. On the way home, I saw another waterfowl, possibly a Common Merganser, but I didn't have the chance to be sure. Either way, spring birds are a delight.

Oh, and in clicking through for the links (so you can see more about these birds), I found this painter, Catherine Hamilton. Love her touch with watercolors.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Little Shaker

This morning I chose to sip my coffee in the rocking chair by the living room windows, instead of my usual spot in the nook in the comfy chair. I don't know why, exactly. It was a good choice, though. A little shake of the apple tree branches, and I saw more wet snow fell down.

The snow from yesterday's 2-foot-ish snowfall was already off most branches: the warming temperature yesterday afternoon and occasional winds and the branches' own flexibility sloughing to the ground. And the apple was getting a little help from a ruffed grouse.

LittleBirder came over and I helped him see this little wild chicken-cousin: buffy and brown patterns against wet branch patterns the color charcoal on a overcast dawn gray background. Easier, of course, when it moved! I don't know what it was finding on the branch. All the apples have fallen from that tree. Maybe some small insects?