Monday, October 31, 2011

The Breath Of Life

The spirits of the earth were invited in to the little house of Hale Mana. They were pleased with what they saw and moved in on a breath of wind. The little house stirred with rustling, quiet ticks, gurgling. The resident of the house would not be alone. Hale Mana came to life.

The spirits toiled through the first summer settling in and arranging things. Their sweat poured down marking this place as their own.

For now there is life. The spirits of the earth welcomed, made their presence known. Time relents temporarily while continuing on. Only one number of time need switch and the little house could be emptied. Just as the season of vegetation is marked with beginning and end.

There is a little scratching sound in the wall behind my head, a quiet squeaking as I close my eyes to sleep.

I am not alone in Hale Mana. The spirits of the earth are with me.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

A Sculptural Assist

Once it got growing the Lush took it away faster than I was able to roll it into place. We have had three mild freezes and the first snow now. The Lush was fading away. I didn't want to wait through several heavy snows and a couple of gale force blizzards for the Lush to be laid low and I was able to see it again.

Today I chopped down the Lush to reveal the Creation once again. It will take a little settling of contents and some decomposition for a full reveal, but the wait will be much shorter now. I will have something strong to look at during the barren months of winter.

The Creation is a bit different now than the pictures from the link above. More stones were added and others rearranged. A faint outline is discernible in the stubble.

Over the winter I can contemplate how best to plant or not around it so it is not completely obliterated during the season of vegetation.

Added: I knew there was a more recent finished picture of the Creation some where.

Saturday, October 29, 2011


The seasons have turned full circle.

What could be a better sign of that than the first snow of the winter.

And what could be a better sign that my period of tragic underemployment is over than me heading off to work in the snow on a Saturday.

And just as I figured it was only snowing up here. By the time I got to town the sun was out. The roads were dry. It was like driving to another climate zone.

Friday, October 28, 2011

The Last Bits Of Color

In the Forest

High on the low spot the forest trees are near bare. There is another chance I could wake to a dusting of snow. If not this time, it will be snow soon.

As the forest clears out, the distance you can see in, like the night, lengthens.

Once this maple is completely barren I will have more of the heart to remove it. Its trunk grows out of the base of the much larger tulip tree and its tall spindly nature constantly threatens to slap the cabin in high winds.

I get close for one last look at the vibrant colors of the Kousa Dogwood. I hope it does this every year right off my front porch. Imagine that as the tree grows larger with time.

The last bits of color in the forest fall to the ground. I will spend the next couple of weeks gathering it up, moving it around and tucking it in for the winter in the more civilized gardens of my clients. In the forest, Gardey don't rake or blow no leaves. Nature has had millenia to perfect her techniques of disposal. Why should I mess with that in the forest?

Thursday, October 27, 2011

In Search Of Gardens

Once again I find myself with the task of scouting out possible gardens for a garden tour. And once again I am seeing things never seen before, places I have only heard about and never found the time to visit, places that are right in my own backyard.

There are perils and rewards for nudging yourself out of your own mundane routine.

Four years of gardening in the wilderness and the garden to be is still in a conceptual phase as tiny trees and shrubberies settle in and begin to grow while competing with the wild things. I visit mature gardens and lament the slow pace of my own efforts. If only I could devout all my time to gardening on the mountaintop.

Such wide paths. I must have wide walkable paths.

Easier said than done on my steep and undulating terrain. I have the space for nice wide paths. I just don't have the flat.

A wealth of ideas and the chance to meet happy fellow gardeners rewards my efforts.

I lived on a lush tropical island for a long time filled with botanical splendors. Gardens grew at a pace unimaginable here. It was an island far away from my horticultural peers as well. It is a good thing I can't and don't spend all my time on the mountain top gardening in solitude.

In search of gardens I am finding a new happiness I haven't known so much before in all the fellow gardeners I meet along the garden path.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Dung Piles Up

The ever increasing heaps of horse dung are starting to scare me. There's chicken and goat poop in there too, mostly as an amendment with the straw bedding that gets cleaned out of the Coop deVille and The Goatel Carolina.

It is piling up faster than it is decomposing and I want some finished product by the first of March. I think I need to pick a pile and work it. I have been negligent in my turning of the compost. I can also see those wire cages are truly non-functional for turning compost. I should have read a book first.

Oh well. Decomposition happens no matter what.

I have plenty enough dung I think to be able to spread it far and wide. There should be more than enough for the roadside vegetable garden and plenty left over for flowers. And the dung keeps coming.

Just think how lovely all my flowers and other planting will look when they are all covered in dung.

October 26th is eleven days past our average annual first frost date. There has been frost, but it was brief and very spotty. Even the tomatoes and peppers are only halfheartedly froze. I have zinnias still wanting to bloom. That may come to an end this weekend. There's snow in the diagnosis.

I need to get busy and start working those piles of dung. Just think what fun it will be to have steaming heaps of horse dung on cold and snowy winter days.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


Of Maple

In the sunshine

Of a warm autumn day.

Then I spied a tiny seedling. Should it fall out of the ground now or next spring? By the time I go back the lone leaf will probably be gone, the tiny seedling impossible to find, the decision to wait will have been made.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Hints Of Asheville

I can see downtown from the parking lot. And is that a UFO in the upper right corner?

The fifth annual garden bloggers fling is coming to Asheville, NC in 2012, a city that recently earned the great distinction of being labeled a Cesspool of Sin by one of our own state senators. It is sure to be a good time.

The planning has begun in earnest and as soon as the ducks are all wired up, the dates for Asheville 2012 The Fling and the hotel will be announced. Hopefully that will be within a week or so.

Making an itinerary of fabulous garden sites to see was oh so easy. It actually required some minor editing. Now all the foot work needs to be done to see if what we want is what you get.

Announcing an itinerary can wait until next year. It is very subject to adjustments at this point.

Three days of garden touring will be planned with plenty of time incorporated to explore our trendy cesspool, socialize and talk garden blogging. Short social overflow events are planned before and after the official touring dates.

In a city filled with art

And gardeners not afraid to walk on the wild side

In a city of four seasons

Asheville 2012 The Fling, you won't want to miss.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

A Simple Task Gone Horribly Awry

I don't want to look at an ugly propane tank the rest of my natural born days. I'm not overly fond of the satellite dish either, but I have to live with that if I want to send and receive messages from the heavens.

It seemed simple enough. I bought seven boxwoods, Buxus microphylla var. koreana 'Wintergreen' to hide what I could, the propane tank, in a yet to be grown and determined Pearl Fryar topiary. How can a simple boxwood have such a long drawn out name?

A half hour planting job turned into a five hour ordeal when I cut one of the buried cables to the satellite internet. I won't bore you with the details. The repair was extraordinarily tedious before the last two boxwoods could be tucked into the ground.

I left an opening for the gas man. Now I'm thinking a small gate could go in there. And by the time I might get around to that I will have forgotten that the cables for the satellite internet are buried right along the entire length of the boxwoods.

Look at the nice late season color developing on the Kousa Dogwood planted by the front porch.

Boxwood and Dogwood. The mundane structure of the garden to be slowly keeps getting added.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Back To Cataloochee

I take too many pictures. Or maybe I just show too many pictures on the blog. Between having visitors, visiting Cataloochee and work kind work there were too many pictures to fit in one post and not enough time to do it.

So back to Cataloochee we go for another visit during the fall season of the elk rut.

An old barn makes for a good place to rest in the shade. We were alerted to this bull elk's presence by the number of cars parked along the road.

Our guests had never been here. Even though we had been told the main herd of elk was a bit further down the road,

You must stop at Palmer Chapel first and have a look at the river that runs in front of it.

We found the elk resting in the woods no problem. A crowd was gathered. The crowd crept into the forest to get closer and to get a better look. It's a mob mentality getting closer than is wise. Dozens of people lined through the forest hemming in the herd on one side. I followed the mob, me bad, to get this picture of another bull elk.

The elk appeared unperturbed and seemed used to all this nonsense.

Another bull elk was perturbed however by the other bull elk I had just taken the picture of being so close to his girls. This was the bugler and he chased the other one off with a few words and a slow approach making his concerns about the situation known.

Then we headed on down the road to see the other preserved houses in Cataloochee from a time gone by.

The Caldwell House

The Woody House

The Palmer place

With four white windows on a yellow wall.

We are sure to go back to Cataloochee again. Perhaps the spring would be a good time. I have not seen Cataloochee in the spring.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Wolfpen Mountain

At the end of Lickstone Ridge