Sunday, December 1, 2019

Missed Thanksgiving

Our home is placed between the glacial kame terrace visible in the background and the rather gentle final drop to the river.  Meltwater from the disappearing glacier cut a narrow ravine at the end of this field that we call our lawn.  Various wildlife use this gentler sloped valley to move from the river flat toward higher fields.  That is the path that these turkeys are using on their march to Hillman's manure coated fields.  Our resident deer also use this well traveled path heading in the same direction as the turkeys.  Just how these animals survive winter with both the cold and snow covered food is amazing.  That makes me feel rather pathetic by comparison.  I have to go now.  My hot tea is ready.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Ready For Spring

Many of the early spring flowers head into winter with their flower buds already formed.  To me this seems to be a huge contradiction.  One quite naturally assumes that flowers are frail and tender so how can their buds endure an entire cold and snow filled season?  On the other hand open early blossoms need a head start to complete their development.

Arbutus has held me in its spell for years.  Writings far more than a century old proclaim this plant's absolute resistance to being transplanted but pictured is a moved plant that has lived here for many years.  Two different bud clusters are growing from the point where the stem end sends out leaves.  Also in plain sight is a nearly totally dead leaf.  Evergreen does not mean forever and the mystery of the life cycle of Arbutus leaves remains unknown.

Magnolia suggests a flowering tree that might be expected to grow in Georgia rather than New York.  Miller Nurseries, now gone, ran a great business that provided me with plants for a very long time.  This Magnolia is one of their special plants.  Those fuzzy gray buds will open into beautiful early white and pink flowers.  Here again the buds must survive winter.  They handle our cold but the deer eat them when most of their food is buried under snow.  A four foot high fence surrounds the tree but the deer simply eat higher buds.  Lower cages are spread out next to the fence to deny the deer a close approach.  We hope that this new twist will save more buds because the early blossoms are truly spirit lifting.

Pinxter is a native plant here as is Arbutus.  This bush has been here for many years but yearly trimming by the deer has kept it rather small.  Here again wire cages are piled to keep the deer away.  Some may find this combination of cold stone near mostly bare branches unworthy of a second look but it is one of our treasures.  When the air turns bitter cold and snow covers the ground, we will tramp about to check on our early flower buds.