Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Mid-Winter Gardening

A grey morning warmed into mid-day sunshine.
We were anxiously awaiting a visit from J.'s cousin and family who had gotten a later than planned start to their 2 hour trip from TN.
I did some tidying, set a kettle of my favorite beef/barley/veg soup to simmer, made a batch of chocolate chip cookies.
That done and the kitchen neat, I  put on my trusty old down vest, located my small pruners and tackled the woody stems of perennials poking through the blanket of leaves in the borders.
J. moved firewood, swept out the carport, then went to the upper garden to begin the laborious task of clipping back the blackberry canes.
Temps of around 60 F brought out a few sluggish flies and some small fluttery brown moths.

The three boy kittens [nearly cats now] trundled back and forth following J. then discovered my heaps of stems and twigs which made for wonderfully imaginative 'hides.'
Their stalking and pouncing is a delight to watch, but their movements are so quick that my camera doesn't catch their 'airs above the ground.'

Little Edward gives the pavement of the drive a good sniff as he comes to join his brothers.
Several bluebirds were busy in the yard this morning--bouncing between the lower limbs of a maple, fluttering down to teeter on the catyard fence.
I can only hope that they are wary.
These young cats have already proven themselves 'mighty hunters.'
I trimmed twiggy stems for about two hours and had come in feeling a bit stiff and ready for a mug of tea when our guests arrived.
Hugs all around--some moments that verged on tears  as we spoke of the son whom G. and P. lost so tragically during November.
Their son's fiancee was with them--a stunningly beautiful young woman, perhaps a bit bewildered as we spoke of times past and family members no longer with us.
Daughter G. and her husband M. arrived with more food to share, more recollections to ponder.
We hated to part with them when it was time for them to leave for their older son's home in TN where they will stay through the holidays.
I long for more of these sunny afternoons, although a must-do/should-do list awaits.
As I write I can glance out the unshuttered west window and see the bright moon, like a slice of melon on a dark sky platter. My dear old Eggnog kitty is warm on my lap. Teasel is on a blanket on the red chest of drawers, diligently washing her silvery grey paws.
Charlie-cat who has demanded to be outside so much lately, is sprawled on the bed behind me, while his daughter, Mima curls up beside him.
I have some reading to do here at my desk before I call it bedtime.
It has been a long and busy day.


  1. You had a lovely long and busy day.

    I'm sorry for the loss of your young relative. Talking about all the good memories was good for all of you and his fiance.

    Love and hugs to you ~ FlowerLady

    1. FLL; As you know, the process of coming to terms with loss is not a straight line. Cousin G. is not quite ready to return home and take up her usual routine.
      Gardening in December--I couldn't have imagined it during decades of living where winter is serious!

  2. A grey wet morning here - my outside jobs so far have been litter trays and cleaning the porch . . . More housework now, though I have apple crumbles in the oven. Wish we has sunshine like you. Wouldn't say no to guests either!

    1. BB; Oh yes, the litter box duties take precedence every morning. J. once declared we should have litter delivered in a bulk bin!
      These mild afternoons are so welcome and the patterns of sunlight and shadow are lovely this time of year. The change of temperature when the sun slides beyond the woods is instant.

  3. Loved sharing your day.

    1. Lillian; I wish I could have captured more of my day in photos--the bluebirds and the playing kittens moved too fast!

  4. Winter always keeps me guessing here in Georgia, some days way up in the high 70's and then days in the 50's. Mac has a winter garden and we'll soon be eating fresh beans again. Love to have family visit, our daughter gets here Friday night, that makes it Christmas for us.

    1. Janet; Our winter gardening is more about keeping some late-seeded crops going until the coldest weather hits--greens, cabbages. We get enough frost that something like beans wouldn't do. Still hoping for the long-awaited greenhouse.
      Nothing so unpredictable as the weather!

  5. We are currently in the madness of a blizzard. The wind is whipping and the snow a blow'in. It is bitter and when I was out running errands in this mess, getting very slick and dangerous, as people are not ready for winter driving, I was so very glad to get home where its safe, but again, maybe not, when I am in the kitchen.
    I will be digging out my cold frames when it gets a little better and start setting this up on my south side for some winter greens and spinach.
    Enjoy the family and just take it one day at a time.
    Boy kittens are darling, sometimes!!

    1. Vicki; Reading your description of the storm I'm reminded of riding [as passenger] many times years ago when J. was trucking cross-country. The worst blizzards I've ever seen were in the mid-west. I've always thought of Nebraska weather as challenging.
      There are long months of winter in the interior west where we tried to schedule errands and outings according to the weather report--it doesn't always pan out that way.
      Be careful and enjoy being snug.