Friday, November 30, 2012

First Real Snow, First Real Cold

Friday, November 30, 2012

A cold morning here on the mountain, 2°, windless, bright with a nice moon reflecting off last night's 5" of fresh snow. This is the first real snow of the season and the coldest night so far. Karl the Wonder Dog took an abbreviated walk this morning and gave me a strange look as we reentered the house. He doesn't like cold  and already I am less impressed too.

The snow started yesterday about 2:30  as I was in the woods trying to finish the brush chipping and get the chipper put away for the season. At times the snow blew at weird angles but it wasn't until after six o'clock that it really began to fall. The mountains are now covered and there's no doubt that the ski industry is already happier than last year when snow flakes were hard to find and the snowmobiling industry really never even started.

An eruption of evening grosbeaks finally appeared yesterday, over a month late from their typical appearances, The Dolgo crab apples that they usually eat are long since gone, as they were food for the robins while they made up their mind where to spend the winter. Robins used to leave by Thanksgiving but last year they were here most of the winter. All the bird visitors seem to be off schedule a little but I expect the snow and cold we feel today will bring them out for us to see.

I now have about 15 piles of wood chips throughout the back woods and along the woods roads and new trails I have been making. These will dehydrate a bit and be ready for spring when I'll use them to mulch the daylilies in the growing fields. At the same time, they will serve as hiding places for woods mice and the nasty voles that never hibernate and always seek out the roots of my favorite shrubs and perennials.

As winter becomes obvious at your house, consider feeding the birds if you have not given that hobby a try yet. We enjoy seeing different birds throughout the winter and don't think winter would be winter without keeping the bird feeders full and trying to capture pictures of birds we have not seen before. Bird food is expensive now with black oil sunflower going for $23 a 40 pound bag and still $19 when on sale. I always use cracked corn on platform feeders and on the ground for the ground feeding birds and I have old onion bags filled with suet for woodpeckers, chickadees and nuthatches. I never clean up the echinaceas in the fall as the small birds like goldfinches love their seeds. Black thistle seed is expensive now so echinacea is a good substitute.  If you need some help learning more about birds native to your local area, try the Cornell University Lab of Ornithology.

Karl is already asking to go out again and the fire needs another log. Have a great day, watch the slippery roads this morning, and take a good look at your gardens this morning. Another outdoor gardening season has come to an end.

Writing from the mountain above Peacham Pond where the town snow truck has been by and two log trucks just headed down to pick up a load of saw logs.

George Africa
The Vermont Gardener
Vermont Flower Farm
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