White and Gold Friday, May 29 2015 

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Gold Iris

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No huffing and puffing allowed Thursday, May 28 2015 

Amazing what we will do! Moving the Gay Head lighthouse http://vineyardgazette.com/moving-back-gay-head-light

With live cam!

Land Use Tuesday, May 26 2015 

Absurd ramblings.

I’ve had the pleasure? recently of contemplating land use, conservation, and budgets: working with a company for whom pristine land keeps their costs down but whose vast land resource appears to create in the short term a way to keep user fees down (by selling said land). Since keeping said user fees down is mandated by law….the end result is that as long as all costs associated with the land are paid for by the land, the land is tolerated. (That without the land, the user fees would go through the roof is politically inconvenient and thus ignored, also ignored is that without the land the resource in question would be a good deal scarcer….). It does, however, demonstrate that land can ‘pay its way’. If you own enough that is and the taxes don’t go up.

Then there are the families, maybe all of retirement age, who want to do something else. A hundred odd acres of prime land for sale, some of the nicest I’ve seen. (not in any way connected with this family) Conservation would be nice, cash would be nicer and is necessary. Can one really blame them? I don’t know. I have to admit, looking at those acres; that I would prefer to see them actively managed. We can’t afford a land use pattern split solely between houses and untouched open space.  Not here at least. It doesn’t work either ecologically or financially.

But somehow, we have lost the idea of active land stewardship. Maybe because, aside from a gargantuan scale, the finances don’t work (take care of the land, it takes care of you), maybe it is cultural. Not mind you that we need subsistence farming for the majority, I’ve studied enough history to know that ‘nasty, brutish, and short’ doesn’t have a romantic bone in it. Though it has a lot of bones. But the great British estates (Clearances aside!!) are an interesting model. Except they sort of need an expansionist empire….

I have it. Land conservation requires the space programme! :)

Grapes Sunday, May 24 2015 

White grapes…

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And red grapes….

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Interesting how the pigment is everywhere in the plant. It is also true of crab apples and apples. I don’t know about magnolias, I’ll have to pay more attention.

Odd year Friday, May 22 2015 

It is an odd year out there….the weather service has a frost warning out for tonight (actually relatively common for this time of year). What makes it odd is the fact that there is also a big, gorgeous iris (antique gold) blooming. The hay has seed heads well formed, and the peonies, clematis, poppies, June lilies (blooming already) are all ready to go.  The season is in a big hurry to get somewhere.

But I always find late spring a little disconcerting. All of last’s year hopes, all of last year’s work is revealed. Something that is damaged or isn’t what you wanted? Not easily fixed now. Next year, next year. There is an awful lot of faith in a garden.

Stubborn Trees Wednesday, May 20 2015 

It is remarkable how some trees will manage to grow and adapt!

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Surprisingly, these two maples aren’t that old: c. 1940 at the earliest.

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This Black Birch is particularly interesting; the horizontal section is the original stem, when the stone it was growing over rotated (or it rotated the stone) the tree was forced to change direction by ninety degrees. It is possible that the extreme angle of the elbow was encouraged by cutting or other damage, since the surrounding area was logged.

Monday, May 18 2015 

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Framing by apple tree. Or, where we will not be planting a tree anytime soon!

It is remarkable how green things are, even without any rain (we are severely short for this area, spring drought seems to be a recurring pattern, which is making me ponder long term planting locations). The suddenness of the new growth is always surprising.

21 Years this weekend Saturday, May 16 2015 

He’s thirty now, doing pretty well (daily pills aside!) for Ancient in Thoroughbred years.

Twenty one years ago we picked him up out of a cow pasture in the Catskills. Aside from a few years in Ontario, he has been here ever since.

RobN’Run, by Grey Legion by Secretariat out of Robyn Banks by No Robbery

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And on the other side Thursday, May 14 2015 

of the house….

I have featured the apple trees for a few posts. They are on the west side of the house; but on the east side:

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Cercis canadensis, also known as Redbud.

A bit over the top Monday, May 11 2015 

Pink!

Last year the apple and crab-apple trees in this area failed almost completely. This year not so much

Intermezzo: the skunk just walked past…oh my God!

Windows now closed.

Anyway, lovely smelling apple trees here:

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You can see, bottom right, a bit of white? That is a new apple tree, one of the two Golden Delicious that we just planted. The non-blooming one actually, finally, has a few blossoms and is a Prairie Spy. Up by the kitchen there is a Spigold. To the left is the Wolf River. Not visible is the big old McIntosh. Also not visible is the white crabapple.

The little bit of pink is an azalea.

For scale that building is a perfectly good story and a half.

Where IS that skunk?!

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