Monday, March 30, 2015

One Step Backwards

Yesterday weather conditions drew us out of doors and this garden area was cleaned up.  Overnight new snow fell and now the sky is filled with low threatening clouds.  Winds are from the south.  NOAA predicts that this new snow will be gone today.  We shall see.

Wild turkey tracks are everywhere.  Initially, I saw these footprints as the steps for the turkey trot.  Later we saw the bird feeding on clear ground at the base of the shade garden wall.  Our first concern focused on the fact that the bird was alone.  We usually see wild turkeys in large groups.  What happened to the rest of the group is an obvious question.  An opportunity to watch this bird for a long time as it fed revealed just how thin it is.  When it moved it seemed to stagger.  My displeasure with this winter seem really weak when compared with its impact on the wild life.

These prints were made before the storm ended.  Fresh snow partially fills the tracks making identification shaky.  Two large footprints side by side point to rabbit.  If its pace was slow, then the front feet could have found ground one after the other some distance apart.

We recently saw our first road kill of the season.  Skunk scent fills the air now so we know that they are out and about.  I find it terribly sad that an animal manages to survive a harsh winter only to be ended by a car during its first walk about.

These early lettuce plants were started with no plans that they would ever be planted out.  They should see some time outside on the wall when weather permits.  Some of these leaves are large enough to take now.  The primary reason for planting them early was that we had to see something green.  Oh my, they surely look good.

The covered tray on the heating pad contains tomato seeds freshly planted.  Here again we are early but there is a workable plan.  Twelve of these tomato plants will be reset in one gallon pots.  Days outside on the wall will be followed with nights in the basement.  If cold weather threatens, days will find them in the basement.  This early start is intended to get us ripe tomatoes ahead of the late blight.  Additionally, soil was found under my fingernails yesterday.  My potting soil smelled great in spite of spending a long winter in a plastic garbage can.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Take What The Day Offers

An overnight freeze created a hard surface on the snow cover.  We went outside early so that a walk about on hard snow was possible.  If we avoided holes in the snow created by animals or dark leaves, no joint jarring drops into the snow pack were part of the experience.  By afternoon ever strengthening sunlight and a cloudless sky softened the surface of exposed ground.  This area near the house lies in full sun and gets more heat reflected from the white house siding.  This was a chance to start garden cleanup.  Working gently to avoid damaging frozen plant parts, dried leaves were pulled clear.  It is impossible to overstate the impact on my mind and spirit  that resulted from this simple task.

These hens and chicks are self planted in the gaps in the stone wall leading up from the basement.  Still partially trapped in the ice of melting snow, these colorful plants appear alive and well.  If any plant can display strength of spirit, these certainly do.

Bluets grow like a weed in the proper conditions.  We have tried several times to introduce them here but they do not flourish.  This clump is growing at the edge of the stone wall forming the shade garden.  One rogue deer has the nasty habit of feeding in the shade garden.  It took out the center of the bluets but left young growth at the outer edge.  Our wire cages remain held fast by the snow so there is nothing that we can do other than yell at the deer.  Like talking to a group of eighth graders at lunch time, our voices here have little impact.  A physical approach is usually necessary to move the deer away.

This spot has enjoyed several seasons of growth with no interference from us.  The daylilies should have been removed from above the daffodils planted here.  We have allowed these plants to go their own way but when the ground truly softens the daylilies will be removed.

This catnip was found growing wild here when we first explored this land.  It resists our attempts to tame it and simply grows in locations of its choosing.  The extra potency of this freshly dried catnip has made Becky's knitted and stuffed cat toys wildly popular.  She has often received reports that Fluffy opened the package containing the mailed toy without human help.

This perennial flax was deeply buried in snow removed from the driveway.  Sand was thrown with the snow and the dark color hastened the snow melt.  New green growth under the snow must impress any who see it.  I do see a weed well into the crown of the flax and that is annoying since it will always be impossible to remove completely.  So far it looks like this flax will be magnificent this year in spite of it.

Fierce winds removed much of the snow cover from the shade garden as it fell.  This area cleared early and open ground pulled the deer in to feed.  A wire cage was found that could be moved here to protect these Dutch iris.  Deer do not usually eat these plants before they bud so protection is in order.  This day helps us believe that spring flowers will soon be ours.