Winter at last

Hanging around in the barnyard this morning with Casey I heard then saw a chattery pilated woodpecker. I tried to get a photo when it landed close by and started pecking at a willow tree, but when I moved it flew off, protesting loudly. It seemed warm outside this morning because we had not a breath of wind. Peaceful. Here was the view Northwest from over Casey’s back:Christmas eve 007I walked around the yard taking pictures, and here is my favorite, of a rudbeckia still pretty even in winter:Christmas eve 026And the pink diamond hydrangea is pretty, too:Christmas eve 023The stray cat, Norman, has taken to the indoor life quite easily–the cold weather convinced him. We think he must have been someone’s kitten since he is so calm and well-behaved inside. Here he is in front of the woodstove.Christmas eve 045

Snowflake hiding under D's bass case.

Snowflake hiding under D’s bass case.

Outside, Casey still patiently endures his solitary life–we are still working on finding him a friend. He likes to stand where he can see the beef cows. He’s doing fine, but he’ll be glad to have horse company.

Have you tried match.com?

Have you tried match.com?

Here he is noticing the neighbor walking his dog–excitement! He went over to check them out.Christmas eve 016

Let me just go check to make sure they are not a threat!

Let me just go check to make sure they are not a threat!

Everything is pretty with a frosting of light snow. Merry Christmas everyone!Christmas eve 010Christmas eve 021Christmas eve 039

accidental gardening

Yesterday around 4 pm, when it was still–barely–light outside, I said, “I wonder if there are any of those big buckets in the potting shed that I can use to haul water down to the barn for Casey.” D said, “Yes, there are two with those bulbs in them.” What?? I thought I had planted all of my bulbs. In the course of refurbishing beds and transplanting perennials and contracting the gardens a little, I had dug up lots of narcissus, which are by now in every square inch of my gardens. Most of the time I manage to get them re-planted somewhere right away, but these had been set aside and forgotten. On with the boots, trudging through the dusk to the potting shed, and sure enough, there were two buckets half full of clumps of narcissus, masses of bulbs that needed to be separated and re-planted anyway. It has not been super cold yet, so I think they are fine. I brought them into the house, examined them, transferred all of them to one bucket, poured some dirt over them, and put them into the unheated room upstairs we call “the attic”, where I store my dahlias, because it stays around 50 degrees all winter. Next Spring I’ll plant them. I thought of planting them in pots now for forced indoor bulbs but I don’t really have the time, especially now when grades are due.

Here is the Casey who started it all–he could drink from the spring-fed stream that runs through his pasture, but seemed unwilling to leave the back of the barn in the blizzard yesterday. So I brought him some water–from the house, in buckets, because the water system in the barn is not working right now. Exercise! dec 23 006

Here is the view from the back of the barn this morning:dec 23 007Casey’s only company these days since his buddy Gigi died is the herd of beef cows across the fence. I am working on finding another equine companion.

beef cows across the fence

beef cows across the fence

I like this photo, of the view outside one of the windows in the horse barn.

I like this photo, of the view outside one of the windows in the horse barn.

Here is Casey's stall. It's bedded with lots of hay, and stays there all winter--in the spring it gets cleaned out and makes good mulch for the garden.

Here is Casey’s stall. It’s bedded with lots of hay, and stays there all winter–in the spring it gets cleaned out and makes good mulch for the garden.

Thanks for the fertilizer, Casey! Here he is eating, and turning horse food into great garden compost!dec 23 001

winter solstice

It’s snowing like mad out there right now–I am in my office grading student work. I took these pictures a few days ago when we had just a dusting–hopefully today and tomorrow we will get a real blanket of snow.

the view from the front porch

the view from the front porch

Christmas cactus inside

Christmas cactus inside

 

December 17 thoughts

I can’t believe how long it’s been since I last wrote a blog post. My horse blog has been soaking up a lot of energy, and of course the garden has pretty much been sleeping. Here’s what I’m doing a lot of now:

January catalogs!

January catalogs!

The great gardening catalog season is here. I did manage to plant all of my tulip and daffodil bulbs and dig up many of my dahlia tubers. We have a dozen or so amaryllis in the bay window, hopefully blooming in a month or so. The Christmas cactus is blooming. But gardening is in abeyance. I found a book I liked the look of in the gardening section of our bookstore, a memoir about gardening by Page Dickey called “Embroidered Ground”  — maybe I’ll look into more garden memoirs to read over the winter. sunset smallerHere is a peaceful view from the front yard, at sunset. Work is hectic now–this is final exam week–I gave two exams today, and will be doing lots of grading in the next few weeks. Tonight is the Potsdam Community Band rehearsal. It will be nice to come home to a quiet house after all the bustle and sound of the day.

I haven’t figured out what I’ll write about over the winter in this garden blog. I feel like I need a theme or a “project”–maybe a series of gardening memoir reviews? I can also join the “wordless Wednesday” club and take photos every Wednesday of the winter garden. Stay tuned.