Monday, November 29, 2010

Busy As A Hibernating Rabbit

I just decided, instead of merely being a blogging, published, author, I'm now a self proclaimed Harvard Creativity Specialist. Oops. Did I say Harvard? I meant Hard-Yard. (The ground is frozen solid. What's a gardener to do?)

I'm currently cutting back all the extra growth on the apple trees, tying up raspberry vines and this next week I will be wrapping the climbing roses with evergreen tree branches so they'll survive the winter. It's also a good time to buy heirloom seeds, on-line, for planting in spring.

I am still mourning all the bulbs I lost this last spring, thanks to them rotting in the ground with all that rain we had last March, April and May. I especially miss my dahlias (bulbs that I dig up each winter and replant in spring). There's just something very sad about losing plants that I put so much energy into nourishing; year after year.  

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

All Of Western Washington: Covered In Snow

It snowed much earlier this year than any year I can remember. From childhood, I recall the first flakes of snow for the year would often fall while my family celebrated thanksgiving at Grandma's house but it seldom stuck to the roads and we wouldn't have any heavy snow until January or February. 

Last Sunday (4 days ago) snow fell in an unusually heavy manner. The temperature also dropped rapidly. It's been 15 degrees C here at night pretty much since. 

To care for the outdoor animals, I've been hauling hot water out to the chicken coup. I also lock the hens up at night, out of the wind inside their roosting area, where there's a heat lamp. The grateful rabbit was moved into a smaller cage with them, when he usually lives on the south side of our house. 

For the wild birds, I've been setting out a warm pan of water but it freezes over in a few hours time. I imagine it's very hard for the finches to find drinking water that's not frozen. The birds continue to visit the feeders that I've moved up onto the back porch, to keep the seed dry.

Sitting by my own heater, I'm reminiscing of the day I took this photo, last April: (double click to enlarge it).

It's difficult to imagine that tulip and daffodil bulbs (below ground) could survive the harsh cold but season after season we know they do come back; they are alive under all that snow. The pond now is mostly iced over. I can still see the koi swimming slowly below the thin sheet. I feel so thankful that spring will come again (in five more months)!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Fall Garden Tips (Planting Bulbs & Fall Craft Project)

It's been raining a great deal here lately, in Western Washington, but today we had clear skies. So I pulled on my garden boots and went out to plant more tulip and crocus bulbs.

I absolutely feel as though it is impossible to plant too many crocuses. Every February, they are the first flower to bloom after a harsh winter (sometimes while snow is still on the ground). When I see these dainty little flowers pop out through the frozen Earth, my heart just swells with glee. Crocuses feel like a promise to me.

They remind me that spring and warmer weather are coming. Tulips bloom a little bit later in spring, so planting their bulbs side-by-side with crocus bulbs works really well for keeping a particular garden spot in bloom longer.

Pictured right, is just a fun fall-time craft project that I made and it serves as a wonderful reminder of a very fun day I enjoyed when my sister Kelly and I drove to Leavenworth (over the mountain) to celebrate my birthday. This rock was painted to commemorate the fun.

To make it, I collected a fallen gold-colored leaf in Leavenworth. I had purchased a book so I flattened the leaf inside its pages and when I got home I slathered paint on that leaf and pressed it to this rock. The result is a lasting reminder of a most wonderful day.