end of semester, beginning of winter

I just looked at a few photos I took of the garden in mid-November. Here are some nice ones:

a late bloom on the honeysuckle vine reaches up into a pretty sky. But the hummingbirds have all left for southern regions.

a late bloom on the honeysuckle vine reaches up into a pretty sky. But the hummingbirds have all left for southern regions.

A fallen leaf curls cozily in a "rain chime" which will soon be full of ice.

A fallen leaf curls cozily in a “rain chime” which will soon be full of ice.

a small maple on the south side of the house made a breath-taking display this year.

a small maple on the south side of the house made a breath-taking display this year.

Mr Fluff's beautiful orange coat catches the yellow November sunshine

Mr Fluff’s beautiful orange coat catches the yellow November sunshine.

Yesterday, feeling that I was neglecting my blog unforgivably, I took the camera on a tour of the garden and snapped some pictures. I had it in my pocket as I went out to check on the horses, so I also got some horse pasture photos.

As the two horses ate their grain, I got this picture of them with a manure pile in the foreground. This manure composts in the barnyard for two years and then goes, wheelbarrow by wheelbarrow, onto the flower and vegetable beds.

As the two horses ate their grain, I got this picture of them with a manure pile in the foreground. This manure composts in the barnyard for two years and then goes, wheelbarrow by wheelbarrow, onto the flower and vegetable beds. On the right here is the year-old manure, and to the left a smaller pile of this year’s manure.

This is the new bed we built this summer. It does not have much planted in it yet since it's filled with fairly recently composted materials--manure, hay, kitchen compost. We filled it once, it cooked down, and then filled it again.

This is the new bed we built this summer. It does not have much planted in it yet since it’s filled with fairly recently composted materials–manure, hay, kitchen compost. We filled it once, it cooked down, and then filled it again. It’s “decorated” with dead tree branches, and anchored with a gigantic rock there in the corner which took a lot of muscle to place.

Mr Fluff accompanied me on my walk and seemed to get into every shot!

Mr Fluff accompanied me on my walk and seemed to get into every shot!

The winterberry bushes are doing OK in the front yard. I think they would prefer a wetter soil. Still, it gives a splash of color and good food for winter birds. And yes, there is Mr Fluff in the background!

The winterberry bushes are doing OK in the front yard. I think they would prefer a wetter soil. Still, it gives a splash of color and good food for winter birds. And yes, there is Mr Fluff in the background!

a sign of the times: we brought home a tree-farm fir tree last weekend. Happy Holidays!

a sign of the times: we brought home a tree-farm fir tree last weekend. Happy Holidays!

a non-post post!

December 3, Saturday. I’m in my office grading papers today. I can’t even post a photograph because I have neglected my camera as well as my garden. The garden has been on its own since classes started in late August. It looks scrappy and snaggle-toothed. The only bright spots right now are the red red berries of the winterberry bushes, and a few stubborn dark purple johnny-jump-ups. Otherwise the lovely mutes colors of late fall predominate: dark green of pine trees and spruce, grey of tree branches, deep brown of exposed garden soil and wet fallen leaves. It’s been raining and only a few patches of snow remain in the woods. But things are not all quiet: red squirrels leap around the tree branches, chase each other on the ground, and shrill at us or the cats if we get too close. Daring blue jays steal from the catfood dishes on the front porch and raid the compost pile, chickadees hang upside-down from sunflower heads, piliated woodpeckers swoop through the air and laugh wildly as they go. The calves born last March and April are being taken to a different farm for another year of grazing and growing, so the air is full of the calls of lowing mama cows missing their young ones. ¬†After the grades are done I will post again about the garden and winter woods walks I plan to take!