not exactly about gardening…

The gardening is on pause for the next few months. The catalogs have started: we got the vegetable seed catalogs last week, and they’ve also got flower seeds for me. I’m planning to start seeds of delphinium, cleome, zinnia, nasturtium, sunflowers and a few other favorites. I am going to buy seedlings of basil, petunias, marigolds and others from a local nursery. I will probably not buy many plants from the flower catalogs, since I already have most of what I can or want to grow from them, after 15 years of buying and planting. For the first time ever I didn’t buy any spring bulbs this last fall, but there are plenty of narcissus and lily bulbs now in the ground from years past. For the last few weeks I’ve been out in our woods making snowshoeing paths. Here are some pictures from those adventures:

I only have two tools: a small bow saw and a pair of nippers.

I only have two tools: a small bow saw and a pair of nippers.

In the mature woods there's no need for trail-making because there is no undergrowth or shrubby stuff

In the mature woods there’s no need for trail-making because there is no undergrowth or shrubby stuff to push through

in some places. there are just a lot of thorny brambles to nip off

in some places. there are just a lot of thorny brambles to nip off

in other places it's impossible to get through without a lot of clearing and pruning.

in other places it’s impossible to get through without a lot of clearing and pruning.

On January first we saw a porcupine in the woods.porcupineThere are so many lovely features in these 115 acres. Here are some of the landmarks:

the old beaver pond

the old beaver pond

a huge boulder that has split into several pieces, covered with moss

a huge boulder that has split into several pieces, covered with moss

we have very few oaks on this property--this is a beautiful red oak

we have very few oaks on this property–this is a beautiful red oak

Along with the major features, there are small blessings I run into at every turn.

a pretty "arrangement" of twig and moss and wild grape

a pretty “arrangement” of twig and moss and wild grapes

a garland of pretty oak leaves draped on an apple tree

a garland of pretty oak leaves draped on an apple tree

In Chinese fashion, I called one of the high spots on the property “dragon bone ridge” (long gu ling). It’s a long “backbone” of rock covered with maple trees and ash trees, with their roots reaching into a deep bed of leaves and dead fallen branches. It slopes down toward the west into hay fields and old apple orchards, and slopes toward the east to a rocky drop-off and then to a brook that drains into the old beaver pond.

dragon bone ridge

dragon bone ridge, looking east

While my home flower garden sleeps, I’ll be spending happy hours making a network of trails for snowshoeing and hiking out in the woods.