29 December 2007

Dressed for Winter Rains

One thing my gardening teachers have impressed upon me is the oh-so-wrongness of uncovered, bare soil for the winter. Since I never seem to get around to a cover crop, I've developed a second-best method-- to dress my beds for winter in a blanket of chopped leaves and straw. The earthworms love it. Hence the sticks on top....because if the chickens are out of the pen, they head straight for these beds to scratch off the covers and devour those fat earthworms. So lately, I'm adding a stick covering just in case of rogue chicken attack!

Waiting for Bluebirds to Return

The bluebird house stands a little lonely this time of year. We cleaned it out -- including an empty wasp nest which was built in late summer. I had wondered why the bluebirds left early...and also why the downy woodpecker kept sticking his head in the house later...I didn't know they ate wasps!

Colors of Winter (with acorns)

And to think I once thought of winter as gray! It was an art teacher who taught me to see the colors within colors. Then two long years of winters in Estonia as a Peace Corps volunteer gave me LOTS of time to practice seeing the colors of winter. Now those colors are some of my favorites of the whole year. This photo is the ground under a post oak, covered as always with acorns and sticks, and this time of year, in lovely colors of moss, grass and acorns.