Sun Sunday, Mar 29 2015 

It is amazing how far one’s spirits lift with a little bit of sun, actually a Whole Day of sun, combined with temperatures sufficiently far above freezing to let the instinctual brain stop pondering the whole ‘too cold, could be hazardous’ issue, and No Wind…

There will be a few flowers for Easter, granted they will be some over-ambitious crocus near a southern stone foundation and not the swathe of daffodils that might be taken to a church.  But still something!  I uncovered, the snow having melted, a few of said crocus today. Most have had the good sense to still be waiting, one poor bulb had tried to flower (the sun was right you see) resulting in a limp, watery flower. I hope it can perk up.

In other news, the horse made a trip to the north hedgerow today. Poor guy, the drifts he has to plow through are still hock deep and he didn’t get anything from it; but hopefully, he feels less trapped.

Not Esperanza Friday, Mar 27 2015 


Quick! What is wrong with this bridge? (Hint, look at the right abutment).

I just wrapped a historical resource/mitigation report for this structure. You know, it turns out government agencies keep remarkably poor records of some things?

(for the requisite weather complaint: this was taken on the second day of spring and it was so cold the camera froze up briefly!)

Finally! Wednesday, Mar 25 2015 

It is always pleasant, indeed fulfilling, to do work outside. The combination of cold, snow, and wind (and other factors) has meant that I have done very little outside since November.

So getting out there and beginning a much delayed job of pruning the apple trees? Wonderful. I also got the yew pruned. More importantly, I managed to corral the multiflora rose.  Or, A multiflora rose. This particular one had taken over an area next to one of the small cottages. An area where I would like to plant an apple tree. I finally, simply, cut it down. (of course, it is still sitting there on the snow drift) Multiflora rose can easily get to twenty feet in length/height and several inches in diameter; the thorns can go through leather gloves, canvas jackets, and denim. It is a very common plant in New England; technically an invasive, it was originally planted by state highway departments and agricultural agencies to create impenetrable hedgerows and for erosion control on highways. Birds love it, both for the impenetrable tangle it creates and the berries it bears. It can take over an untended meadow within a decade, creating an area devoid of any other plant or animal life.

It has its uses, the flowers (while small) are moderately fragrant and are held in lovely clumps. The berries are small, but elegant, the birds love it. Few other plants will make as good a natural fence. You can Not walk through mature Multiflora rose. You probably can’t drive through it, without a tank.

Be that as it may. I want an apple tree there. Thankfully, it came off the building without damaging it. Still a far ways to go, but then, the apple tree isn’t here yet and the snow is still two feet deep there!

Still life Monday, Mar 23 2015 


With humor:

First full day of spring Saturday, Mar 21 2015 


And I think the state had taken the plows off their trucks already, at least judging by the drive into work this morning.

Thankfully, it was only a minor three inches and had melted by this evening. So I suppose spring is coming, but it is certainly taking its time.

Pong… Thursday, Mar 19 2015 

Old country houses….with porches….and crawl spaces….and skunks…..

Usually, spring is heralded by our hibernating skunks waking up and perambulating, in need of a bath perhaps. Eau de skunk actually isn’t that bad (subject to personal opinion!).

However. Eau de decomposing skunk? We think that it must be under the porch and has finally…Thawed. We can’t get under the porch. We did check the crawl space under the house though. Always fun. the only scent there was good clean earth, no spiders, no skeletons, no anything creepy or smelly. (no water either)

So on the negative side: Eau de decomposing skunk for an undetermined time.

The plus side is that my explorations in the crawl space uncovered a bit of wiring that needed repair. Nice to catch that.

March wind Wednesday, Mar 18 2015 

When the wind came down

The trees walked the woods

Before the break of day

And barred the way of spring

With gates of shattered oak

Held to the earth by twisted elm

Their locks of blasted pine.

Sharp as the hunting spear

The sun’s blade splintered

A thousand shards of ice

Spinning across the snow


(a fragment…)


Crocus Monday, Mar 16 2015 

As requested, from last year (April 9th, 2014) when c. vernus were at the height of their bloom. By that date in early April the species crocus were largely past. This year, considering the snow still out there, who knows when they will flower; in comparison, the snow is currently at the lower fence line as seen in the photo. Spring, though, is fast. Even with that snow out there, it is possible that the c. vernus will be in bloom only a week or so later than last year. We shall see!


*There is some major foreshortening in this photo, each section of fence is between 12-18 feet, and the photo is taken from about 20 feet away from the fence.

Linkbait Sunday, Mar 15 2015 

Following on from an excellent presentation at our Land Trust’s annual meeting* by Dr. Kimberly Stoner from the Ct Ag. experiment station on native bees. I can’t wait for our crocus border! It always attracts the bees and now I know why. (early food source for overwintering bumble bee queens amongst others…and there are many different bumble bee species)

One of the best places for information:

Take particular note of the publications menu, a lot of information in it.

*In the interest of full disclosure, I am the Land Conservation Commission Chair on the board for the land trust.

It’s raining Saturday, Mar 14 2015 

And somewhere beneath all those feet of snow, those spring bulbs must be growing.

Gardening is a lot of patience, a lot of hope, for an uncertain reward. In some ways, it is the most honest of many modern individual pursuits. It is an uncertain balance between enjoying the immediate moment: the sunrise, the day lily; and the enjoyment of the potential future: the young tree, the gradual change of the seasons. It is also the past. The trees that have grown and died, the lawns that have risen and fallen.

I am currently reading a rather fun book on the history of tulips (and Tulipmania of course). It is interesting to consider the connection between an Ottoman emir some five hundred years ago, a Dutch merchant, and a gardener today. All hunting that perfect flower and that perfect land. That is a very human connection despite the very different people, very different times, and very different worlds.

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