perennial

i think i considered myself a gardener long before i did much gardening. my mother has always put in nice flower and kitchen gardens and told me stories about the gardens of her childhood, tended by her parents. some of my relatives are master gardeners (it's a thing), so i guess it's just part of … Continue reading perennial

phoebes

i heard a report on the radio recently that populations of flycatchers are down in the northeast US. i was a little alarmed, but i felt good that we've had a very successful nesting pair of phoebes for several years here on the mountain. one year they made a nest on an outcrop on the … Continue reading phoebes

scurf

horse ownership is a benign masochism. horses are large, dangerous, dirty beasts with a bite force that rivals many large carnivores and a kick that can easily break bones. they are prone to all kinds of bizarre ailments with charmingly medieval names (fistulous withers? girth gall? founder? strangles? rain rot?) and are alarmingly fragile for … Continue reading scurf

sprung

our early spring dragged on for months with brief intervals of winter. now it is mid-april and suddenly, real spring is upon us. the early robins, which were coming to the bird feeders and glumly eating seed from the ground (something i've never seen them do), have moved off to the meadows and forest to … Continue reading sprung

blizzard

winter storm stella is winding down as i write. we have about two feet of new snow: nice, light, fluffy powder, but blown into every crack and crevice it can blow into by a swirling northeast wind. the horses look like snow monsters, like candy-colored tanks with long, jagged, ivory icicles hanging from their manes, … Continue reading blizzard

freeze/thaw/freeze

it's early march, so the cold, bony death's-hand fingers of winter are rightly squeezed inexorably around us. this is usual stuff. but for two weeks, we had spring. i mean, 70ºF spring. snowdrops spring. mud season spring. that's serious stuff. one day, the grackles were back. a couple of days later, a bemused red-winged blackbird was … Continue reading freeze/thaw/freeze

victory garden

it has been many years since i planned and planted a vegetable garden. we have always had something in the way of a garden, even if it was just small one. a few years ago, we had a wet, rainy summer that rotted almost everything. mildews and invertebrates and plain old standing water put the … Continue reading victory garden

roses

i am not a good listener. it's not that i'm not interested or sympathetic; it's because i can't really do two things at once and my brain never stops working (just ask my insomnia). so, as someone is talking to me, i'm having rapid-fire reactions that makes me a. lose the train of the story … Continue reading roses

the feeder report

the birds have been sparse this winter. not that there aren't a metric tonne of chickadees at the feeders every day, but there isn't a lot of variety out there. a half dozen blue jays, the occasional nuthatch (white bellied and red), two sizes of woodpecker (hairy and downy), a few too many mourning doves, … Continue reading the feeder report

insulation

winter is the season when every part of your life comes into sharp focus. every flaw in your life, every small thing that you've brushed aside, saved for later, or fixed "good enough" comes back to bite with cold, sharp little teeth. you plan for the worst and still come up lacking. snowflakes become avalanches, … Continue reading insulation