Saturday, February 17, 2007

A Time For Learning

Saturday, February 17, 2007

18 degrees here on the mountain. The wind is blowing in big gusts and the light snow seems to be flowing parallel to the earth instead of falling from the skies. There's a gray-white cloud above Peacham Pond and as I look down that way I can see the sun's rays slowing rising, orange and obvious. I just came in with Karl the wonder dog and he was not impressed with the thermometer reading which was apparently inaccurate in dog degrees. I'm inclined to agree that the wind is not kind some days as it affects temperature.

The platform feeder is absent of birds right now which seemed strange until I noticed that the wood smoke from the stove is being pushed down from the chimney and almost surrounds the feeder at times in a blue haze. There's lots of controversy about fuels and pollutants and in Vermont this is approaching the issue of outdoor furnaces. These are multi-fuel burning furnaces which are located away from buildings and stoked with large logs once every one to four days depending on their size. They hitch into your domestic heating system and have circulators to move the water through the furnace and back into your home, garage, barn, greenhouse or other outbuildings. Each one has a metal chimney and that's where the rub apparently comes. They reduce volumes of fuel and emit clouds of smoke. In the realm of fuel choices, the jury is still out but I think there is merit to be considered.

A neighbor high on the hill installed one last year and I thought nothing of it until I started smelling burnt household trash. This sends me into craziness because of the multitude of serious pollutants involved but there is no enforcement on this. I could be wrong and the problem could have issued forth from one of the other three houses up that way but the point of pollution remains. When you have an interest in the environment and an ongoing commitment to find out where autism comes from, these little mysteries are as critical and the larger ones media-blasted to us every day.

I've added a feature to both this blog and Vermont Gardens that I think will be interesting to some readers. I've added a little Yahoo Flickr badge on the right side of the page just below my profile. The badge has pictures I've taken over the years here at Vermont Flower Farm. Many of the pictures appear on our Vermont Flower Farm website as Virtual Tours but some are pictures not publicized before. On a rotating basis a picture enlarges but you can click any place on the Flickr badge to get to the site that houses the picture inventory. It's an easy learning curve to negotiate and I think you will enjoy it. Comments are always welcome.

The time seemed right to add more pictures to The Vermont Gardener because late winter and early spring is when gardeners tire of white ground and the sounds of snow plows and fuel trucks. This is a time for learning when trips to the library or bookstore find us returning with stacks of new ideas and ways to spend a couple bucks. There is a perpetual question involved with this annual quest for learning which has lots of answers, none of which are right or wrong.

"Why do people garden?" is a common question and a good one for introspection. Perhaps some time soon I'll offer some personal thoughts but in the meantime blogs, magazines, newspapers and educational radio and television shows offer opinions to match against your thoughts. On a wintery day with blowing snow, look out the window for a minute, let your eyes and mind cruise your garden spaces, and ask yourself "Why do I garden?" If you reach a conclusion, add a comment for us. I'm sure others will welcome your thoughts and your bravery!!

From the mountain above Peacham Pond where blue jays and grosbeaks have landed at the feeder and the smell of Gail's apple pancakes and maple syrup has me winding up this "good morning" wish.

George Africa


Blackswamp_Girl said...

I keep trying to figure this one out, myself. Do I garden because I am an artist? Do I garden because I enjoy homegrown foods? Do I garden out of a sense of environmental responsibility? ... Do I have to pick just one reason above others?

I'm Ms. Molly J. said...

Love the blog, look forward to reading more.