Friday, January 31, 2014

No Sign Of The Daffodils

We went looking.

Searched the far corners, sniffed and examined the ground.

Nothing. No daffodils, no bluebells, no crocus, not even many snowdrops. I imagine the ground is still froze.

There is a warm spell coming up, a string of days and nights well above freezing and packing rain. The snow will melt. The ground will thaw. That could force them up. But rumor has it next weekend we might get a foot of snow.

Maybe it's best they wait just a bit longer.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Red Twigs In The Snow

The deeper into winter we go, the more important every bit of interest in the garden becomes. Objets de play an important role, especially now while I wait for the evergreens to grow.

There are deciduous shrubs that can help too. The baby Red Twig Dogwoods are currently still twigs. I look forward to the time when they have gained a more mature size and create more of a display against the snow. I planted a dozen throughout the garden.

The colors of the cozy cabin even add to the winter interest. I might have lost track of the flow at some point. It isn't jarring enough to spin me to action though. Painting is a tedious process. The front porch may appear patriotic, but beneath it all my queer flag is flying. I have all the colors of the rainbow in there. Blue doors and decks, a haint ain't blue spruce pine pale green basement patio ceiling, a pale yellow window and eave trim, red columns and girders, white windows and purple wire baskets with shiny silver balls.

It's a confederate gray cabin touched by the subtle colors of the rainbow. It's appropriate to the occupant.

Adding to it all are the monumental arrangement of rocks. I might get trapped inside, but as long as the snow isn't too deep, my eye is still drawn into the garden.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

A Forced March

The sun was shining bright. There was no wind at all, not even much traffic on the scenic byway. Yes, it was only eighteen degrees. Too bad.

They have been cooped up and conked out for far too long. It was time for a long walk.

Miss Collar is not near as much of a cold wimp as the siblings. She has been out walking with me alone when the siblings refused to step outside. She was happy to go for a stroll.

So off we went.

Into the cold

Past the patch, over the river, into the woods we strode.

To grandmother's house we go. Where I booted them out once more.

But it was cold out. Even I didn't want to linger. And we all marched back home.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Come Wake Me When It's Over

My processes are slowing down. I'm ready to hibernate.

Monday, January 27, 2014

There Is Hope For Spring

It may be a bit delayed compared to last year and about to be buried again tomorrow, by how much we shall see

But it will come

In the places that warm first. It will come.

Powered by the sun and enhanced with dung

It will come.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

There Was A Heat Wave

It was well over forty degrees.

Some of the snow melted.

Then it's back to the ice box on Tuesday.

Saturday, January 25, 2014


Friday, January 24, 2014

My Tropical Period

The morning low was minus -6. I wasn't expecting it to get quite that low, but it did.

Less than a decade ago the notion of a Siberolina was unthinkable. It never would have entered my head. Then things changed.

There was a very long tropical period in my life. I finally got around to getting it framed. That period is over, but the mana of twenty years of island life is very much a part of who I am.

And I gave it up for this?

I gave nothing up. Those twenty years were lived in an extraordinarily beautiful place. I moved on to live a new experience in an extraordinarily beautiful place. With seasons.

There is a a lot to like about seasons. Four times a year the garden changes in extraordinary ways. I am here to witness that power.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

The Big Chill

But for the wind, this could be tolerable.

This second arctic air mass is going for quantity over record setting lows. After a brief and slight warm up on Sunday, all of next week is showing highs at or below freezing.

This is going to test my pipes, my endurance and my camellias.

I'll be doing a lot of gazing.

Hopefully it will break by the first of February. It's time to get back to work. Napping all the time is exhausting.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

A Really Good Snow

This was the heaviest snowfall of the season. Six inches by my reckoning. And that ain't much by historical standards. It was pretty though. The skies were crystal clear and there was barely a wind. Perfect for shoveling snow off the top of the drive.

Here are some scenes from a really good snow.

Love this picture.

Tomato Futures.

It was a gorgeous day and without any wind the cold was bearable, for me at least. Three kitties were coaxed out at the peak of warmth, something just shy of freezing, for all of ten minutes. Two of them are bouncing off the furniture right now. Even cats will nap for only so long.

It ain't over. A second wave of arctic air is set to arrive tomorrow. There may be a bit more snow. It has already clouded up and started to spit snow tonight. That's not in the diagnosis.

Next week is looking equally frigid. It's gonna be a long chill.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

A Blue Sky Morning

I woke to blue skies and 37 degrees. There was no sign of a polar vortex arriving in the night.

This is going to make a fine basement patio very soon. I have been plotting the delivery of a load of gravel for the floor base.

Things deteriorated rapidly from there. Before I was done with my coffee it was spitting snow on passing clouds. The temperature had already started to drop.

I decided to take a stroll before things got really bad.

I have to check on the furnace next door every so often when it gets cold cold. The water exhaust line freezes solid and floods the furnace. Even keeping it set at 45 degrees, the furnace still has to run to maintain that temperature. The water exhaust gets directed to a bucket inside the mechanical room and that has to be emptied before it over flows. It is amazing how much water that furnace produces.

Here it comes.

The snowdrops before burial.

It wasn't long before the arctic air mass arrived in force.

I do believe this will be the biggest snow of the season. It has been coming down steady since 11am.

Will there be blue skies when I wake up in the morning? I know it won't be 37 degrees. It is 9 right now.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Before The Incoming Vortex

Half of the garden becoming  made an appearance before the incoming polar vortex. The suggested low keeps getting lower. The suggested amount of snow isn't much and getting smaller. There is no suggestion this will be pleasant.

The direction a slope faces in the mountains is critical to snow melt. My melt line is distinctly delineated by the valley like crease in the middle of the garden. This is the idea of micro climates made visible. Which plants can better handle more freeze thaws and which are better suited to staying cold and dormant with fewer extreme swings?

If I kill something in one half of the garden I can always try it on the other side.

I had some time after a short day of work to do some more chop and drop in the sunny utility meadow. I'm almost done in there. I'll be moving on to the ridge top garden soon.

What I have been itching to start is my new short stone retaining wall for the lower switchback path. The ground can't be frozen though if I want to set the stones right. That isn't likely to happen now until at least next week. The polar vortex round two is gonna be cold.

I made sure the three half civilized varmints spent the day outside. It was actually a lovely day. Once the vortex arrives they won't be going outside if they can help it.

This was a little surprise. I found some crocus breaking ground. There was some talk of Bulbarella giving me a sack of the earliest blooming crocus she found in a catalog. She gave them to me since she figured she'd never be here in time to see them.

Now I of course have no recollection of where I plant bulbs. I know there are regular crocus and fall blooming crocus in there. If these are the super early ones, well it will be a surprise. I have not seen any other crocus yet. I looked.  I haven't even seen the snowdrops over here yet. I don't think they will be blooming until after the vortex has passed.

I finally figured out that this mystery grass is Andropogon virginicus, Broom Sedge or Yellow Bluestem. It holds its dried flower stems exceptionally well. It is much more noticeable dead than alive. I saw it first years ago in the wildflower end of the roadside vegetable garden. It has been spreading itself from there. I need to learn to ID its seedling stage so I can leave it when it shows up in a good location. It will make a fine texture in the winter garden.

Half a day of half the garden is all I got before it disappears again tomorrow. It is January. It is to be expected. It is to be expected until the first of March. At that point one can hope for more sunny and less bone chilling days.