Sunday, November 2, 2008
A crisp morning here on the mountain. The crows are noisy and their message is confusing. I think perhaps they are calling friends to a breakfast at the compost pile. It is amazing how far into the woods I find food scraps that they drop. This morning's offering is a few egg shells and a bowl of apple parings from last night's Apple Crisp. That's a fall delight for sure and anything goes well with the "crisp" bite of the fall air.
There has been "sleeping trouble" here at Vermont Flower Farm of late and last night made three nights in a row that Karl the Wonder Dog sounded his animal security barks at a time when I really wanted to be dreaming. It wasn't the three bears this time. I woke at about 12:30 to the sound of deer hooves walking up or down the path from the drive to the house. At that time of night (morning), it sounded like the Budweiser Clydesdales on a paved road.
Eighteen years ago I built a wooden walkway of pressure treated decking boards and although it has lasted well, I'd never do it again. I had seen several configurations in garden magazines at the time and they looked very nice, landscaped right to the edge. A chop saw made cutting angles easy and articles suggested ways to add a serpentine look without too much carpentry skill. I thought there was some merit in the ease of construction and future care. The downside, I find, is that over time the walks develop a slippery coating of algae and moss that creates a challenge that aging ankles and legs don't need in the winter. Last year I took three headers, each time landing in either the lilac bush or the Alberta Spruce. Strange safety nets that worked!
The noise of the deer woke Karl from the front room and in nanoseconds he was at our bed shouting barks of "Go-Away, Go-Away" that took a while to register with the deer. By then we were wide awake again, hoping that slumber would return. There is a price for any good security system!
As fall weather brings it's first snow, I always make a ride to the same place where I have cultivated a nice stand of winterberry. If my timing is right and I haven't allowed too many 15 degree nights to get ahead of me, I pick a nice bucket full of winterberry for the house. This is the native variety found along Vermont streams, ponds or in bogs. It grows to 9 feet tall and in good years offers a profusion of berries. The key is to getting to them early. Successive cold nights eventually wear down the anti freeze in the berries and when you bring branches inside, the temperature change turns them mushy in a week. If you plan it right, you have a nice display through Thanksgiving. There are several hybrids on the market now and other than needing a companion variety to set berries, they are a nice addition. Color through the fall and another seed crop for birds and small creatures.
Writing from the mountain above Peacham Pond where a large flock of Canada Geese is moving overhead. The sky is clear, the air pressure high and the geese are at several thousand feet but there are so many, their voices are clear even here inside the house.
With kind fall wishes,
The (sleepy) Vermont Gardener
Vermont Flower Farm