Monday, January 22, 2018

Seed Catalog Competition

January is the time of year when reading seed catalogs is a big part of our winter days.  Ed's snowy trip to the mailbox is rewarded with an armload of colorful temptation.  Over the years we have made our way to the  top of the "sucker" list where garden and seed companies are concerned.  Ed and I each have our favorites. We swap, share and make wish lists.  Actual orders don't start until later.

However, this year the catalogs have a new form of competition for our attention!   Behold six years of  Plants and Stones printed in books.  Thanks to Amy and Blog2Print,  at least  part of the blog has been brought down from the cloud and is waiting for us to pick up and read anytime anywhere.   I take comfort in that.   I would be the first to admit that my memory is not what it used to be.  I started the blog in the first place to remember what happened in the garden and all of the fun we had here.   I'm sure we will get back to the catalogs soon although plans are in the works for the next four years of books.  2018 is the tenth year of our garden blog.  I never imagined when I started it how much it would change my life!  Having this record in hard copy will allow us to revisit these incredible years regardless of what the future holds.  These have truly been magnificent golden years well worth revisiting.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Snow Can be Beautiful

When we first found this land it provided us with four seasons of outdoor activity each year.  Now in our seventh decade there are some undesirable consequences to playing outside in the bitter cold.  Hands quickly ache and various joints firmly make their displeasure felt.  Even dressing properly can no longer be taken for granted.  I found this scenic wonder when overheating from wearing a heavy coat forced me to return to the house very early in my hike.  This area is seldom visited but was well worth seeing after the storm.

 The falling trees are sumac.  This species is short lived and these have been dead for some time.  Its really a shame that these trees fail so early in life.  Their leaves are reliably bright red each fall.  The seed clusters are also a vibrant red and they serve as bird food.  The unusual angle of these falling branches held a respectable snow load.

A closer look reveals huge sections where the bark has fallen away.  The smooth surface of the branches points to dead wood that has spent several years air drying.  If this wood was in contact with the ground, it would be covered with various life forms that speed the conversion from wood to soil.  These falling trees block a path that in the past saw occasional use.  They will likely be left as is since a new route for the path was used to take these pictures.

Closer to the ground, bark remains solidly attached.  This scar is what remains of a branch that died while the tree was still alive.  I wonder just what rounded the ends of the branch that are now sandpaper smooth?