Monday, January 25, 2010

Past the Sweet Gum Forest

Thankful that the storm has finally passed, I pull on some boots and walk past the Sweet Gum forest down to the small stream that follows the edge of the meadow. I hear it rushing before I arrive at its banks. From the vantage point of an old berm, I see the swollen stream racing by, bringing with it leaves and sticks. The temperature has risen to above 60 degrees and the ground has mostly thawed as my boots sink and squish with each step. The dark grey clouds above are racing and the wind is howling, sure to bring the arctic cold back in the days ahead.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Green Gadgets and Bunnies

On my way to work, I was listening to NPR on WHYY radio station 90.9 and they were discussing a new book called Green Gadgets for Dummies – You can listen for yourself by just clicking below:

After the bunny invasion of our garden last year, John and I proactively purchased online a solar powered electric fence to surround both our vegetable and flower gardens. Our friends Margaret and Mike recommended the company and have had much success with this fence. I feel renewed inspiration and hope for our garden and can’t wait to start planning. Here is the site, if you are interested.

We already are using a solar powered electric fence (as pictured above) to keep the deer out of the blueberry and raspberry field but it is more minimalist.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

A Morning to Behold

A sheer pale veil,
A fog
That caresses and softens
The deer lying in the woods
The leaf dangling
Kissed by frost
The birds' whispering
Above swirling rays
On their way.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Fox trot

A red fox trotted quickly along the border of the meadow, stopping only briefly when a scent caught his attention. He passed on through, crossing over the frozen water basin next door and then out of sight. Glad I caught a glimpse of him this morning.

(This awesome photo comes from

Friday, January 8, 2010

Winter Feast at the Hawthorne

The yard was amass with various birds this week on a very cold blustery day including robins, starlings, mourning doves, wrens, cardinals and red bellied woodpeckers. The temperatures have been persistently in the 20s and 30s with windy conditions since before Christmas. 

A flock of at least 30 robins were feasting excitedly on the ‘Winter King’ Green Hawthorne (Crataegus viridis L.) tree’s brilliant red berries. There was another flock of starlings searching for errant seeds or morsels in the side yard. They suddenly flew into formation though as a red tailed hawk soared over. 

The berries are too hard in the fall for the birds to eat, but soften, perhaps even ripen after being frozen and then edible for the over-wintering birds and other animals. 

The Green Hawthorn is one of my favorite native trees, as it has beautiful silvery grey bark which defoliates as it grows, revealing an inner orange bark. It has delicate white flowers in the spring and its' dark green foliage turns bronze and gold in the fall. Finally, in the winter it is bedecked with these lovely large red berries, which hang like miniature ornaments until the birds arrive and have their feast.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Joyous Camellia

Now that winter has taken its grip, I find joy in the blooming of our Camellia in our solarium. The blooms have been slowly developing for the past couple of months. Although it is a hardy hybrid, I brought it indoors to enjoy the show. I have kept the plant fertilized and well watered and finally this week it has started to bloom spectacularly. It is a broadleaf evergreen shrub native to China with glossy deep green foliage and it flowers through the winter and into spring. “According to the Chinese, the petals reflect the spirit of a lady and the holder of the petals(the calyx) represents the young man entrusted by the lady as her protector. “ It is given by young lovers as a symbol of devotion for one another.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Snowy delights

December has been an active weather month. In the Philadelphia area we had record snow with 24 inches and almost record rain, ending the year with 14 inches above normal. I find that snow brightens the landscape, highlights the beautiful structure of trees, dampens sound and captures the tracks and paths of the animals traveling through. I can't wait for more!