Friday, January 18, 2008

Taxing Snowfalls

Friday, January 18, 2008

A snowy morning here on the mountain. The temperature has been a constant 26 since about 5:30 AM and the snow has fallen in and out of misty fine snow that almost looks like fog varying to thick, heavy flakes. At some point the storm is supposed to pass and by late afternoon the sun will appear. Then the temperatures will begin dropping until a projected minus 20 degrees come Sunday night. The birds are just appearing at the feeder. I thought their delay might be weather related until a sonic hawk shot past the window after a mourning dove. I'm glad I didn't witness the conclusion.

It's been quite a week here at the flowerless farm. Karl the wonder dog is usually a strong, Superman-like being with great auditory attention to man or beast of any number of legs or wings. Unfortunately, just like Superman's susceptibility to kryptonite, Karl the wonder dog can fall sick to the perils of inappropriate consumptory behavior. That translates to eating something he shouldn't have.

Karl, in his canine opinion, is "this" man's best friend. No matter how late I return home from work at night, he shoots like a gazelle running on ball bearings to the back door to greet me. Monday night's greeting was different. His ears and tail were drooping and his speed was reduced to an obviously painful "drag-the-body" movement. Gail said he was sick and she was concerned.

We had supper and kept an eye on Karl but he seemed to be heading to a land we didn't like to think about. His breathing varied and his nose was Sahara-like. By almost 9 Gail said enough is enough and she called our vet.

We've always treated our animals as ourselves and excepting the fact they aren't on our CIGNA health plan, they get the very best. Trouble was our super vet had been replaced for the evening by an associate on call and this meant we had to travel down past McIndoe Falls, Vermont, in a snow storm, some 38 miles south of here. We ended up at almost 10 PM at the Ryegate Small Animal Hospital where Jill had all the lights on and was ready for one sick dog.

The details since then are less important than the fact that Karl is slowly regaining some of his "wonderful" traits and probably in another week he will have remastered his unpopularity with me. Right now I continue to love him a lot and still feel very sorry for his courtship with death.

Having animals is a tremendous responsibility and we can't forget that. Kind of like making the decision to manage a business. Vermont Flower Farm is another of our pets and right now I am well into the annual IRS/tax shuffle. I promised to write something about taxes at our other site Vermont Gardens and I have to get on with that. In the meantime I want to continue with thoughts of daylilies.

Daylilies are flowers that do well in Vermont and they are low maintenance if planted correctly. They come in many colors and bloom time, so much so as to make gardeners smile. They also work so well in combination with other perennials and annuals that you can paint a garden picture with a shovel and a few bucks.

I have said before that Gail likes older daylilies but really she likes most any daylily excepting those with the fatter edges that some associate with the term "chicken fat". That's about as good a description as you can get but it needs a little work in today's marketing world.

The purple daylily pictured above is Grape Velvet. This is an example of what Gail likes: a good grower in a scape range of 26"-28" with a decent bud count and an ease of matching with other colors. Some would say "no great shakes" but the number of gardeners who want to buy one always keeps us thinking about production levels. It's very popular!

The golden daylily pictured next is Golden Whistle, It's a Gilbert Wild daylily from 1983. It blooms a well substanced, fragrant flower on a 34"-36" scape. I put it in the category of those 5"-6" diameter flowers that do well planted in a border distant from the house where you maintain an evening vantage point that needs some eye catchers.

Ethel Barfield Smith is described as "peach banded rose" which is fitting for this 30" tall flower that's been around for over 30 years. I picked it out of a gathering of potted daylilies at a northern Vermont nursery a couple years ago as a present for Gail. She really doesn't like it but I know that Winnie and Michelle who work with us have both commented positively on it. Maybe I'll fix Gail's goose and give each of them a piece of it this spring!

Way at the top where I started all this rambling is El Desperado, another great daylily. I like this one because the dark stamens stand out so well against the two tones. Some don't care for the dark mustard color but to me the purple-wine throat enhances this later blooming flower.

If you get a chance, take a look at the American Hemerocallis Society site. You'll find lots of resources and plenty of ideas to get you excited about trying this plant. Oh yes, and if you are traveling through Vermont along the Connecticut River and you need a great vet, give Jill a call at the Ryegate Small Animal Hospital, 54 Moore Lane, Ryegate, Vt 05042 802-633-3660. Our usual vet is Stan Pekala, Danville Animal Hospital, Danville, Vt 802-684-2284

Writing from the mountain above Peacham Pond where large snowflakes add to the snow that blankets our dayilies, and spoiled blue jays share cracked corn and bird stories at breakfast.

George Africa
The Vermont Gardener
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