Sunday, May 27, 2007

Rununculus Favorites

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Sunday morning, overcast, 59 degrees and heavy with pre-rain humidity. I wish the sun would get moving here and brighten things up but it will obviously be a slow start this morning. It must be that kind of day because I had a time getting Karl the wonder dog to get out of bed and go for a morning walk with me. He did so with great reluctance and when we returned to the house, he went right back to sleep like everyone else around here. A dog's life isn't bad.

I have a lot to get accomplished today but wanted to mention that the trollius are popping and worth looking for if you stop by. This plant is a member of Rununculus and you might know the background from the buttercups that grow wild in Vermont. Gail has liked them for years and has had a number of varieties which sell so well she never gets many in the ground so she can display them.

The plant will take full sun but fares best with a tad of shade and a soil that maintains some moisture. Once established there is a long bloom period. If you do not let the plant go to seed it will bloom again, but less heavily, long about Labor Day time.

Trollius look best when planted in groups of three or more and I have seen mass plantings which are really special. This is a very good cut flower which will last quite a while if cut when the buds have first shown good color and are still tight. It is a good contrast with the first fern leaf peonies but it is so ice you shouldn't have trouble matching it up with other garden favorites.

Colors range from pale, almost creamy-white yellow to dark orange and everything in between. This plant is not used as much as it should be. One look and I'll bet you agree.

From the mountain above Peacham Pond where something is apparently hatching in the lower field as three crows are peck, peck pecking at last night's newly mowed grass.

Good gardening wishes'

George Africa

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Yellow Transparent Tales

Saturday, May 26, 2007

A beautiful day here at Vermont Flower Farm with a clear sky and bright sun that already has pushed the temperature to 78.3. The humidity does not set well with me knowing what has to be accomplished today but summer in Vermont is short and we have no choice but to acccept each day.

I keep rubbing my eyes hoping that they'll adjust to lack of sleep and the long list of things which absolutely have to happen today. Our daylily friends from Morrisville were here for dinner last night and our conversations on until 11 made a long day lead to a short night's sleep. We might still be talking save for Karl, the wonderdog's disruptive barking at what was probably directed at Mr or Mrs Bear coming through the back woods to check out the gas grill.

Bears are being seen with more and more frequency and I have heard three different stories of encounters this very week. Black bears are a fun animal to see if you have never seen one but caution is critical. These are not friendly cirtters like the ones emulated at Vermont Teddy Bear Company in Shelburne. Many Vermonters have never even seen one before but as a whole the bear population is increasing and the chance of seeing one has become more likely. There is less hunting and more disruptions to their habitat .........and just plain more bears. Multiple births have been common in recent years and that translates to more bears per square mile and more bears in your back yard, even if you live in a Vermont country town or city.

I have to say that they adapt too well to domestic life and a free meal only entices them to come and stay. They carry a little automated address book and enter every place that good food can be found. They refer to it often and return time and again to dine. Trouble is they have a bit of arrogance to them and want us to think they are in control of everything. Anything that has big teeth and claws, lots of hair, a musky odor and weighs more than me (wow!) can control what it pleases.

Speaking of arrogance, Gail reminds me often that I occasionaly display a lack of respect for others in this family by doing things head strong that make no sense. The yellow transparent apple out front is an example. Today it is in full bloom and covered with bumble bees and flower bees. Sadly, there isn't a honey bee to be found. If even half the blossoms turn to apples by summer, the tree will probably fall over. Right now it is an interesting sense factory of sound, fragrance and picture to be enjoyed by all.

Three years ago now the tree was in serious shape. If you leaned against it, it headed south. Although it was over 15 years old, the previous owner had put aluminun foil around the base to discourage mice and voles from winter meals of apple cambium. Not! The foil offered a place for insects and the tree was diseased and had a very limited vascular network that was keeping it alive.

One day Gail and Alex were gone and I decided to "save" the tree or eliminate it and be done with the problem. I put the ladder up towards the top and as I climbed, the tree began to move away from each careful step. For some reason, an internal need to become a bonsai artist kicked in and I began to trim each limb into a Dr. Suess type tree that resembled an absurdly clipped poodle. When I finshed the tree was still weak and the ground was deep in prunings.

When Gail and Alex returned that went from "Hi, what kind of day did you have?" to "What are you, some kind of nut?" all in a blink. They didn't care for my pruning. I could tell by Alex's face that he was thinking one of those "Friends don't let friends prune trees." thoughts but it was over and there was no way except by film that you could turn back the event.

Today the tree is strong and it really needs another pruning. By taking off so much excess, the tree apparently established a renewed root system and it's as strong as an ox now. It no longer looks like a Dr. Suess tree although I rather liked it that way. Customers can't stop by now and ask "What exactly is that thing?" and Gail and Alex are relieved. Admittedly Alex likes to see me grovel in past defeat and he is compelled at times to relive the story for visitors. Without having been here, you have no idea what I did. If you taste a good applesauce with these apples and a couple macs, the events of the past fade.

The thermometer in front of me now reads 88.1. It's rising quickly and I have to get going here. Some of the gardens still need to be cleaned up but the place is shaping up and it deserves a visit soon. The hostas should unfurl today and I expect the first trollius will bloom by Monday. If you're out and about this weekend, stop by. As you pull into the drive, look ahead and to the right of the walk to the house. Nice apple tree!

From the mountain above Peacham Pond where a love struck partridge continues for how many days I can't remember to drum away. He is obviously either unsuccessful finding a mate or he has been so successful that he continues with the very same technique. To me it sounds like the old John Deere Model B 2 banger tractor getting started. Stop by and I'll share the sound with you.

Gardening wishes,

George Africa

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Hostas on the Rise

Sunday, May 20, 2007

A very dark morning here on the mountain.....with a sky so dark that it's difficult to believe that the thermometer, standing at 52.8, could possibly be right. The heavy rains of the past few days have encouraged all the trees to spring forth with new leaf growth in various shades of green. I never thought I'd say I was happy to see leaves but there is a very tall green ash tree by the edge of the foundation garden. The emerald ash borer has been killing trees right and left here in recent years and this tree is too nice to lose. Last year it lost a section at the top and although I couldn't find any "D" shaped borer exit holes, I suspected that was the problem. Once the borers are in your neighborhood there is no hope they will leave. It's not a good thought and some agencies try chemical attacks which to my way of thinking just slow the inevitable. There are so many new insects in the gardens this year that even an entomologist would have to work over time.

The hostas jumped out of the ground this week with all the rain after two weeks of hot, dry weather. I'm trying to learn them from their spring display but this is not an easy task, with leaves rolled tightly and grouped closely. Pacific Blue Edger, pictured above is a very nice hosta at about 12" tall. Whiskey Sour, pictured next, is one I picked up from the New England Hosta Society last June. Its spring display is an eye catcher for sure as is Golden Scepter which comes next. Probably the one that has caught gardeners eyes for years how is Sea Fire. I have to keep buying it in because the interest for it between now and mid July is always strong and greater than the speed with which I can reproduce it.

When the hostas break though the ground I begin a fertilizing regieme which works for me. First I take the hand spreader and lime everything. The soil around here is some of the most acid I have encountered and lime helps us get through another year. Since we water the hostas a lot, there is a degree of lime loss to other parts of the garden. A new soil test would be good but I just don't seem to get to that.

After the lime, I spread on commercial 5-10-10. I don't get carried away as too much fertilizer can do your garden in quickly. The little Scott's hand-held plastic spreader set on opening number 5 does just right. Once in a while it stops spreading as a coagulated piece of fertilizer clogs the exit port but all in all it works fine for this task. Something like $12 at the box stores.

Finally I give each plant a good drink of Epsom salts and water. This is magnesium sulphate and a great addition to stimulate root growth. If you looked around the stairs to the cellar of about any old farmhouse in Vermont you'd likely find a discolored box squirreled away someplace. In the old days when it was cheaper, it was used on all the corn fields but in the home it was used to soak feet in tubs and people in their baths to ease the physical stresses of difficult farm chores.

I like magnesium sulphate because it stimulates root growth, doesn't affect the soil ph long term, is easy to use and and enhances leaf color nicely. A competition rose grower told me about it several years ago. My very unscientific distribution format is one heaping handful in a 5 gallon of bucket of water, stirred a couple-three times until it dissolves and then dumped on liberally to each plant. If you want to experiment, buy a carton in about any store's drug section. It comes in little pint and half gallon milk carton sized boxes. Usually in that format it's in crystal form and the crystals take a while to dissolve. It's also more expensive. I buy from the agriculture stores like Agway, Blue Seal and Oliver Seed. 50 pound bags have run about $16-$18 and that's more than enough to carry me through the year. It can be used on anything you grow and the results are significant.

My last fertilizer is fish/seaweed emulsion. I mix 3 ounces in a 5 gallon bucket and again dump some on each plant. It's $14 to $25 a liquid gallon but worth the price because of the inert minerals which come from the sea. All this mixing and lugging and dumping is not easy but it's a worth it. If you can't get through the task yourself and want a real challenge, find a school kid and try to assure them that this is a good job for them to help with.

Hostas in spring are fun to watch. They grow quickly and after they're up, the warm days encourage the leaves to unfurl and grow in size. As you walk your gardens in spring, keep in mind your younger days when you folded a piece of paper and made snowflakes. When you unfolded the paper, the cuts repeated themselves. In spring look for freshly opened leaves and look for repetitive holes of the same size and shape on the same leaf. This could be the sign of insects or worms eating into your hostas at ground level when they started to rise. Take appropriate action and try to eliminate the culprits early on.

There are thousands of hostas available now and the best have yet to be released to gardeners. We have a good 165-175 different varieties for sale this year from minis to extra large. If you like hostas, stop by any time now and you'll get to see unfolding beauty on the mountain above Peacham Pond.

Have a nice Sunday! Garden walks bring peace and a to-do list at the same time.

George Africa

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Pack and Ship

Thursday, May 17, 2007

A very long day is coming to a close for me and it can't be soon enough. I was in and out of the truck a dozen times since 7 this morning and ended the day with wet feet from hitting too many puddles. Right now it's quiet outside and 42 degrees. The 80 degree weather of last week has been replaced by cold and damp which will continue until next week.

The good news at Vermont Flower Farm is that plant orders continue to arrive by email, website, telephone and the mailbox. So far we have kept up with everything. Gardeners seem very interested in hostas and daylilies but the number of specialty plants has been surprisingly good, almost to the point I'm getting worried about supplies. I'll have to do a good review this weekend.

The daylily pictured above is not a new one. It's named Over There and it was hybridized, named and released by Darrell Apps. It's listed as bright red with a dark red halo and green throat and as a dormant and a rebloomer. I like everything about it but the "rebloomer" part because just saying that sends Gail into a tizzy that doesn't stop for a while.

I have learned that Mr. Apps, previously Prof. Apps, has given retirement a try and is returning to Wisconsin from New Jersey. I "heard" that but it's probably true. His work in the world of daylilies is special and he came to understand how to produce a daylily that bloomed and bloomed. When Over There gets going, it does just that.

Gail doesn't like the word "rebloomer" because she says it suggests that the plant stops blooming for a while and then starts again at some point in the future. People almost think that there is an end-of-bloom on July 10 and on July 25th the plant bursts into flower again. It's not quite like that but plants carrying this description probably bloom more than usual and make the owner very pleased.

Here at Vermont Flower Farm we ship plants that might be smaller than those shipped from the southern states. That's because the weather is different here, it's not as warm and the rain is not as frequent. This picture is of one of four Over There that Gail shipped out today. This is a healthy plant with a strong root system and thick fans. The water droplets look like dots from outer space but they're just part of yesterday's +2.2 inches of rain. Nothing wrong with this plant. Our website has many more to view so if you get a chance, scan our pages and try to pick a few plants. None will rhyme with Over There but we guarantee that they'll grow well and make you pleased.

Writing from the mountain above Peacham Pond where the cold evening temperatures have turned off the frog chorus switch.

Damp gardening wishes,

George Africa

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Tool Time Reminder

Tueday, May 15, 2007

Way past 10 PM and gardening chores never seem to cease. I made a mistake to stretch out to watch the news just after supper and woke up at 9:30 in time to be reminded by Gail that I hadn't dug the hostas for two orders that have to go out tomorrow. Good thing our only neighbors are used to flashlights in the garden and night time expletives when I drop things in the dark.

Tonight's digging involved the last of the Raspberry Sorbet for this year and six American Sweetheart. I always run out of Raspberry Sorbet because it's a later flowering hosta with a great purple color that lasts. I'm going to have to spend some time and buy in a bunch and squirrel it away until I have a better supply. If you don't have one in your collection, buy it up when you see it.

One thing I do on these night time missions is leave tools where I shouldn't. This picture of my old spade fork laying in the Lysimachia nummularis 'aurea' represents poor behavior which I will regret. I know other gardeners are lazy about their tools too. Flat on the ground is a good way to ruin a wooden handled tool in a year or less. If you have to leave tools in the garden, buy the cheaper, plastic coated handles. These are typically guaranteed to last three years which means they will probably last two years but the cost is a little less than a good wooden handled tool.

We haven't had rain for over two weeks and today things changed a little. Although people at work made contrary comments, I think everyone knows how dry it is and how high the forest fire threat is. My man-made (that would be me) bog garden has begun to shrink and the vernal pool which usually is full of water into July has dropped two feet. When I cleaned out the little frog pond near the ligularia display garden I safely removed the various frogs eggs to a bucket and transported them to the vernal pool. I noticed most have hatched but now I have a bigger problem with the water going out of sight earlier than expected. Four days of good rain would make me happy.

Spring chores continue here at Vermont Flower Farm. We had a great planting crew this year and finished up most of the work on Sunday. Gail and I are now digging plants from the garden and I have a lot of hosta dividing to do. With this rain I have to hustle because it's a bunch easier to divide hosta when they're first out of the ground than when they begin to unfurl. Yesterday I got the lower hosta garden limed and fertilized but it is far from what I'd like it to be. I have decided you can tell what kind of a gardener you were last year by the number and assortment of weeds you have growing this year. From this springs perspective, I was too busy last year and I will pay this year.

Writing from the mountain above Peacham Pond where 55 degrees is perfect encouragement for the frog pond chorus which I hope will sing me back to sleep.

Good gardening from the tired gardener!

George Africa

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Happy Mothers Day

Mothers Day
May 13, 2007

Good morning mothers, good morning gardeners! It's a beautiful day at Vermont Flower Farm even though the wind is strong and the 56 degrees on the thermometer in the sun is misleading. Karl the wonder dog and I went for a morning walk while the rest of the house lay quiet with sleepiness. It's Mothers Day and although there's a lot to do, Gail can sleep as long as she wants. Yesterday she and the crew planted over 700 pots and ended the day with sore hands but a sense that the end of planting is near. She deserves a little extra snoozing.

Karl and I walked out back. The turkeys were off the roost earlier than I expected and three hens were scuffing the new piles of leaves I spread across the back field. The soil is very poor there so I gather spring and fall debris and spread it out and allow sheet composting to take place. It works well and gives the turkeys a place to feed. Try as I might, I could not get a tom turkey to talk to me again this morning. The season is on and perhaps hunters are disturbing their daily patterns.

Two male ruby throated hummingbirds are already fighting over the feeders but to date, no females have arrived. The males arrive first but usually by now we see at least one female. Perhaps later today as it is Mothers Day.

Good gardeners develop their eyesight so they can be watchful for insects and plant diseases. I have always been a detail person and although my eyesight isn't as strong as it used to be, I know how to notice things which are out of the ordinary. This morning a yellow crab spider was obvious to me on one of the daffodils planted outside my office window. There are many crab spiders and this one is a female golden rod spider. The two brownish colored bars on her abdomen tell her gender. This spider enjoys anything white or yellow to hide against while eating.

I have read that these spiders lie and wait for a meal and don't spin a web. Whenever I see one I visually check this out and always thought it to be true until this morning. I noticed that Mrs. S. was raising and lowering her right leg and I could see a tiny web across the daffodil.

Daffodils are a great bulb and make springtime in Vermont a lot brighter for us. I am always amazed how many people stop this time of year and want to buy some and actually ask for "daffodil plants", not knowing that they are bulbs. We don't sell bulbs, even in the fall, as by that time we are busy enough with cleaning things up and getting our own bulbs planted. We have thousands in the garden now and daffodils are a favorite.

Gail and Alex enjoy tulips but they have a short life in Vermont and for me, I like to plant things once and have more than just a memory in future years. There's plenty of time to give this some thought between now and fall but if you don't have any daffodils yet, plan to go to your garden store or online and buy several varieties. They are often sold in 10's and clumps of 5 or ten in your garden will bring enjoyment and welcome comments from your visitors, neighbors and other gardeners. Bulbs usually appear in stores by the first of September. And don't forget, there's also a chance that next year you'll see a golden rod spider.

As I head for the kitchen to begin making my Mothers Day chores, I wish all mothers a happy day. Everyone loves flowers and today is a great day to enjoy your flowers or get out and see what others grow or sell.

Happy gardening, Mothers and others!

George Africa

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Bloodroots Abound

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Just in from my morning walk which started about 5. For me there's nothing better about the part of year when mornings and evenings apply a day stretcher and give the gardener the biggest opportunity. It was a nice walk out to the small spring on the mountain and then back to the old log landing, the long needle pine stand and then back through the peony nursery.

Difficult to figure what's going on this morning. The weather report is for fine weather but the morning sky is stacked up with black clouds like a January afternoon when a snow storm is approaching. I know that won't be happening as it's already up to 58 degrees en route for a predicted 80.

Every day more wild flowers catch my attention and I thoroughly enjoy them. I know that more and more gardeners are incorporating them in their gardens and that's the good news. The bad news is that wherever I seem to wander, I find pockets in the soil where shovels have dug out scoops of wild flowers. I understand this, but I don't like it.

Wild flower cultivation is sometimes easy, sometimes difficult. For example, the Trillium grandiflorum I grow take 6-7 years from seed if all goes well and the deer don't top off the flowers. If you're out and about and you see a big colony, there's no way you'll understand the age of the group and what it took to get them to that population. "Big" or "many" translates to "ok to dig" and that's just not right.

One wild flower I write about too much is bloodroot. That's because I have always enjoyed it since a kid and I like to see masses of white undercarpet. This is a quick-to-reproduce plant which some see as a weed because of the way it can take over the right location. I really like to watch the way the flowers open and close and the way it unfurls in spring. It's a photographer's challenge because some afternoons it begins to close back up around 3. White is nice and so are bloodroots. I guess the juices are poisonous but apparently not to touch as the native Americans used the orange juice to color their skin before ceremonial events. I'll stick to flowers and avoid the rest of that story.

If you're out and about in the next couple days and you know an area with moist soil
that's open to sun such as along a brook or stream, keep an eye out for bloodroot. Up this way it will only be in bloom until the weekend as the warm weather is making it drop its petals and form seed pods right now. In the meantime, remember my comments about taking wildflowers from the wild. Check out the New England Wild Flower Society too as they have plant sales going on right now and the prices are very reasonable and the proceeds support a good project.

With that thought, I'm out of here for the day. I wish I could wait for a while longer. As I look out the window, Gail and Karl are in the lower garden in front of my office window. Gail is scuffing leaves around like a wild turkey looking for a snack. She's really looking for where she lined out a row of Tiarella 'Iron Butterfly' last summer. From my recall she looks like she's about 2 rows away from the right place. Karl is using his sniffer to help but that's not working either.

From the moutain above Peacham Pond where the potholes in the road get deeper and the sun now rises higher.

With great gardening wishes,

George Africa

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Remember Astilbes!

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Almost 6 AM and the sun is finally crawling above Peacham Pond to light up a previously dull morning. Last night's temperature dropped to 28.9 but I notice that the water flowing over the lower road is still moving fast enough that it didn't freeze. There are still great patches of snow in the woods which keep the water flowing.

Busy day coming today. Gail is finishing up lunch for the planting crew which will begin arriving at 8. She and Alex are heading for Jericho for much of the day so I will be here mixing soil, barking directions, and doling out bags or buckets of plants that must get into pots. The crew is never the same but always interesting and the conversations can cover quite a spectrum.

Gail is usually in charge and about the only thing we do differently is lunch break. I'm big on a break around noon but Gail has this thing about grabbing a good five hours from people, having lunch around 1:30 and then saying "That's all folks!" Her management philosophy is that people who have had a good lunch don't bend as fast and she expects people to keep up with her non-stop performance. I'm getting too old for that but when she's the leader I have to follow suit, often in verbal, badger-like protest.

One of the flowers we'll be planting today is astilbe. I really like this plant and Gail must too as we have 60-70-I don't know how many different astilbes. I like to offer a self preservation comment about this plant every spring because you must be careful when cleaning up last years stems.

We leave all the previous season's flower scapes through the winter because they turn a rusty brown and they look very nice in contrast to the snow cover. What this does, however, is give them a chance to dehydrate over the winter and it turns the stems into upright pin cushions of thin needles which can easily--and I do mean easily--penetrate finger tips and any other unprotected skin.

Be wise about this and always wear a good pair of gloves any time you are cleaning up astilbes. The work goes quickly but again, it's better to put on a pair of safety glasses and gloves and move slowly.

Astilbes work well in semi shade or fairly open settings in this part of Vermont. They'll do fine in full sun as long as moisture prevails and the soil has been amended to maintain moisture. Their thick, mat-like root mass maintains lots of water but if it dehydrates, it's difficult to rehydrate and keep the plant looking good.

So far this has been a dry spring in the gardens and the first leaves have just started to unfurl. If we don't receive any rain by Tuesday, we'll get the hoses going on the potted plants to bring them along. In the meantime, planting chores abound. If you haven't given astilbes a thought before, stop by later this summer and take a look. This is really a low maintenance plant that provides a different texture over a good period of time. Heights range from 10 inches to 5 feet.

Here are close ups of Montgomery and Bressingham Beauty.

From the mountain above Peacham Pond where the temperature is already 38 and a nice day is forecast. For bird watchers in the audience, yesterday at about 2 PM we have a visit from an absolutely superb specimen of male Osprey. Gail's distance vision is not good and she was in awe at this master of the air as he spent about twenty minutes here trying to figure out if our trout pond menu was to his liking.

I don't know if it was the mallards on the pond or our neighbor on his riding tractor but Mr. Osprey failed to complete the entertainment with a dive for a fat trout. This was an adult male and if you haven't seen how big this bird can get, keep an eye out if you visit Peacham Pond. Last year one showed up the same day the state fish trucks dumped 2500 brown trout into Peacham. My guess is this guy checked his calendar yesterday and headed over our way. His wingspan is etched in my mind--giant and masterful!

George Africa

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Morning Walks

May 2, 2007

The second of May and a beautiful day here on the mountain. I've been out for a walk already and Karl the wonder dog is reflecting dismay that he was left in the house, snoozing and snoring as I exited without him. Sometimes I need a little peace too! I'll be on the road all day today in southern Vermont so the calmness of the morning will be the best part of the day.

Yesterday was May Day in America. It was not a day that's necessarily celebrated with fanfare as it is in other parts of the world. To me it signals having made it through another Vermont winter. The day is a jump start for a summer that once started, just flies by. Operating a nursery, working a full time job, looking out for a couple 89 and 90 year olds, and continuing to learn about autism at home is enough on my plate.

This moring's walk was pleasat as the sun rose quickly. The spring turkey hunting season started yesterday and once again my hunting will be no more than this morning's walk. I take along my assortment fo turkey calls and try to see how good I am at bringing in the big toms. They are magnificent to see and their competitive antics are interesting. I bought three decoys last year and they remian in the original box in the cellar. I had hoped to use them just to call in some big birds and watch them. Big toms do not like competition for their hens.

The wild flowers are coming out now and this weeks warmer weather after a couple good rains will bring on lots of flowers. The hepaticas are looking nice and today I want to try to get some pictures in central Vermont of bloodroot and marsh marigold. Our Trillium grandiflorum are doing well and the flower buds are swelling but it will be another week before they first bloom. I am pleased with the way I have reseeded them each year and the numbers are expanding.

Shelburne Pond south of Burlington probably has a great carpet of these trillium right now, decorating the limestone hills with white, accentuated by the yellow of dogtooth violets. If you have a chance, take a walk this week with a good wild flower guide and a bird guide if you have one. Your lists will be interesting as well as a good test of what you know and what you need to learn. I'm on the "need to learn" side of a lot of things but it's fun to learn more about what we share Vermont with.

Speaking of sharing, get those bird feeders down if you haven't yet. I've already heard two reports of hungry bears. In contrast, get your hummingbird feeders disinfected, thoroughly cleaned, filled and hung. Here at Vermont Flower Farm the ruby throats come like clockwork and they should be here soon.

Spring walking wishes from the mountain above Peacham Pond where loons brag about morning minnow breakfasts and a lost gray squirrel looks at our missing bird feeders wondering what to have for breakfast.

George Africa