Goodbye Maple, Winter Grass and Wendell Berry

We are getting ready for a snow storm tonight, but the weather has been mild and most of the snow has melted.  Enough so, that the tree people came and cut down out silver maple over the last week.

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This was a big deal for us.  We wanted to keep this wonderful tree, but silver maples are often thought to have weak wood and we did not want it falling on our house or the power lines.  The tree was probably at least 60 years old.  I enjoyed watching these skilled workers with J.M. Tree Service.

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After about 5 hours they left us with the trunk and said they would be back after the weekend to finish.

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On Monday the weather was colder and the stump grinder was frozen.  On Tuesday one man came back and the grinder worker for about a minute only.

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On Thursday the team was back and the grinder did its work.  Now we have a hole full of wood chips.  At some point we need to remove most of the wood chip mulch and put in soil.  Then we plan to plant a new tree a few feet from this hole in April.

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On the north side of the house the blue fescue has been melting the snow.  The little grass in the back middle is a baby from the other two fescue plants.

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Switch grass at Lake Katherine.  We have one switch grass plant in our yard that I really like.

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Big blue stem grass, which is red in winter, at the Lake Katherine prairie.

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My sister-in-law suggested this novel, Jayber Crow, as a good place to start reading Wendell Berry.  I really enjoyed it and would recommend it.

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Just one more picture of the healthy cyclamen that cheers out kitchen.

January is done and here come February!  The days are getting longer….

A Few Of My Favorite Things

Seeing a cardinal on a snowy day, warm woolen mittens, silver white winters that melt into spring….  The snow is melting today, but I don’t think we should start thinking about spring yet.

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I love walking around Lake Katherine.  These past weeks there have been a lot of geese and ducks in the one part of the lake with less ice because of a bubbling fountain.  Many of the geese were standing around on one foot, like the ones in the back.   I think the tree is an alder.

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Tree shadows at Lake Katherine.

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The birdbath shadow tells us it is a little after noon.

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Snow on sedum.

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Snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes. My camera had a hard time focusing for a snowflake pictures.

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Frosty morning.  Hicksii yew in the front and American plum branches behind.

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This was taken through a screen window, but there is bark missing from the chinquapin oak trunk.  Is it normal for it to fall off?  Would an animal eat it?  What animal?  We have never had deer in the yard.

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We finally made an agreement with a tree service to get our silver maple removed.  It is probably at least 60 years old.  We would love to keep it, but don’t want it falling on our house or the utility lines in a storm.  Maybe they will do the job if the snow melts.  Our plan is to plant a replacement of some type in the spring, so we want to give the ground a bit of time to recover.

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Winter sky.  Maybe someone is flying to Florida…

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One day I noticed this pillbug on the outside of the cyclamen planter.  Has it been in the plant all this time?  Did it find the plant in its wanderings and decide to hang out?  Why am I interested in bugs??  Actually, I just learned that it is a crustacean.

Winter:  I don’t like to shovel snow or drive in snow, but I have really enjoyed looking out of my window when I am working and seeing the beautiful white snow covering everything.  I also really like walking in the snow with warm boots!

Snowy Walk in the Woods

Snowy weather returned today.  By tonight there is a wind chill advisory.  The guys just headed out with snow shovels.  But this morning I had a beautiful walk in the woods by the canal.

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This is the new Cal-Sag bike path.  It is much more beautiful when the paved path is covered with snow!  But it should be nice looking again in the spring when the newly planted grass grows along the path.

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It was a pleasure to walk with my daughter in her bright red jacket.

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We looked across the canal at the Worth water reclamation park.  The ducks were swimming in the canal, which is not yet frozen.  A dog walker was heading across the bridge next to the many old willow trees.

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Snowy trees in the woods.  A few geese and gulls flew overhead.  We saw dog tracks, but nothing very wild, though at home it looked like a rabbit tried to get into our yard and was stopped by the rabbit proof fence.

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Looking out from the kitchen window.  The cyclamen continues to bloom.

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Snow falling…  It is good to get snow on the ground before the coming cold weather.

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American plum tree.  This needs to be pruned in late winter.

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Yesterday was my planning day.  I drew up the 2015 garden plans, ordered my transplants and seeds, and looked at the pruning handbook, in preparation for some early spring pruning.

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I reviewed my 2011 plan to see what was going on then when drawing up this 2015 plan.  I try to rotate my vegetables on a somewhat four year basis.  I have two vegetable beds now, but it is pretty crowded and I think I might need to dig up another stretch of lawn this spring.  For now we can rest and enjoy the winter days.

Garden Chocolates and Winter Reflections

Happy New Year!

Here are a few pictures from last week.

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My nieces and nephew gave me these chocolates with a garden theme.  We promptly ate them up, but I got a picture first!

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Winter reflections at Lake Katherine.  The water was not smooth because the beaver had just been swimming in the area.  If I took some time I could get something nicer.  But I thought it was pretty for a gray day.

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We went out to the Seattle area for Christmas and I enjoyed the greener landscape.

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I post this with just a few hours of 2014 left on a cold winter night.  May 2015 be a wonderful new year full of great outdoor activities!