January 25th, 2009
A couple of years ago I managed to get organized enough to photograph my potager through several months. The changes from month to month documented in the photos were a bit like watching some low-tech, time-lapse photography. I enjoy looking at the changes as long as I try not to think about the fact that I’ve gotten older between each shot.
Here’s another low-tech time lapse. It seems that time is passing even faster than month to month. We’re skipping from season to season now.
This was part of our backyard in May. I know it’s May even without looking at the photo file information because the Lady Banks rose is in full bloom.
This monster rose only blooms in May, when it is covered with tiny yellow roses. The rest of the year it spends plotting world domination. The only reason it hasn’t grown over into your back yard is that I hack at it regularly with great big pruners.
The two trees are Zelkovas, a close relative of the American elm. Zelkovas are fast growers and have proven to be resistant to Dutch elm disease. They were the first things that I planted when we built the house eight years ago.
Although they were as spindly as any newly-planted tree when they first were plunked into the ground, they grew quickly. Now, they provide shade in the heat of the day, so that even in the summer months it is tolerable to sit outside in the Adirondack chairs.
The Zelkovas also provide beautiful color in the fall. They put on quite a brilliant show and are among the last of the trees to lose their leaves.
Oops, there go another few months.
Now here it is winter and this is the backyard in January. It was about four degrees outside the other morning when I went to let the chickens out and snapped this photo.
This weekend I’m huddled inside, looking at seed catalogs and thinking about another year in the garden. I’ll have another year of gardening experience under my belt, more entries into my garden journal and a few good stories to tell from 2008.
I’ll try not to fret about the birthday coming up that ends in the number nine or the fact that my son, Ben, won’t see the end of the summer garden because he’ll be off to college by then.
The passing of time is inevitable. But I will try to remember it can be beautiful and rewarding too.
December 13th, 2008
I know I’m not alone when I say that I detest the winter season. It has only gotten worse in the past few years. In fact, since I have enthusiastically embraced the green living lifestyle, my contempt for winter has become a bit of an obsession. I may have to become one of those silver-haired snowbirds.
The thermostats are turned down and we have resorted to means other than our heat pumps to keep warm. It doesn’t always work, I should add.
I have gotten so cold that I have resorted to wearing those incredibly lightweight but warm Patagonia capilene long underwear most days. While mall shopping a few weeks ago I was tickled to find cashmere fingerless gloves that I can wear while typing. I bought two pair. And Brookstone had Tempurpedic slippers that I tuck my feet into at my desk. They pretty much park there because they are too clumsy to walk around in.
But winter is not without its rewards.
Last month, in the middle of winter on a particularly frigid day, I had the electrician here swapping out one set of programmable thermostats for ones that I can actually understand how to program. As we were chatting, I glanced out the front door and stopped mid-sentence.
A group of six Eastern Bluebirds was exploring the Purple Martin gourds that I have procrastinated moving in for the winter.
I watched, transfixed, as they moved in and out of the gourds and perched on the support poles. Once I regained my senses, I scrambled for my camera and long lens to take photos. Then I grabbed my Sibley guide to see whether it’s that unusual to see bluebirds here in November.
Apparently, it’s not unheard of for groups of bluebirds to stay northward and nest together rather than heading for warmer quarters. Margaret at A Way to Garden said she has even seen them near her New York home in winter.
Sadly, they didn’t stick around, so I’m still going to have to store those Purple Martin gourds.
In the meantime, I’m keeping a keen eye out for the potential return of Evening Grosbeaks. The Winter King Hawthorns that line the driveway near our house are loaded with the fat, red berries that attracted a flock of them last winter.
I only hope I am looking out the windows when they arrive. It’s my small consolation for having to dress like an Eskimo in my own home.
Posted In: Nature and Wildlife