Sunday, March 9, 2014

Bare Grass

Today the sun was bright but the wind from the North was cold.  Bright sunlight tricked me into venturing out lightly dressed.  Some considerable distance  had been walked before I was aware that appendages were starting to ache from the cold.  This view shows a hillside facing Southwest.  Wind blew much of the snow away then inclination allowed the sunlight to melt the remaining white cover. Standing here I was comfortably warm in this micro-climate.

My wilderness garden is located on flat land in the shadow of deciduous trees.  Filtered sunlight has made no impact on the snow cover here.  Two compost piles are partially cleared of snow but the garlic is still covered.  Compared with last year, this is a good thing.  Then early warmth drew the plants from the ground and bitter cold froze them brittle.  Last year's harvest was scant.  This year's enduring snow cover keeps me inactive while my garlic lies protected under a generous blanket of insulation. 

This is what a pond scraped in deep gravel looks like during Winter.  In milder seasons, when the springs are running, the pond remains full.  When frozen ground shuts the springs down, our pond drains.  This clear area received runoff during one of our recent warm days.  Hemlocks shade this area and at this time of year walking here is like stepping into a walk in freezer.  It was here that my fingers began to ache signaling my inadequate preparations for today's walk.  The only available option was to continue quickly.

Trees growing just above bedrock develop shallow roots.  Constantly wet thin soil promotes growth but the trees are frequently wind thrown.  When we first found this land I viewed the trees as permanent residents.  Sadly, that is not the case.  These two rocks have been buried for decades.  Why fake looking safety green is the color of the first growth on the stones seems to me to be a contradiction.  Dignified  dark green moss would be a better look.

Those few exposed dark arbutus leaves absorbed a great deal of warmth from the sunlight compared with their recent appearance here.  Two of our five plants lie fully exposed.  Becky saw Australia lying close to Africa.  We really need to stop reading fossil books that describe a time when the land masses were close together.  We see our arbutus Australia fitting neatly into Africa.  We really need to get outside to work in the warm soil.

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