Little Orphan Annie at 60 - 10 Nov 07 Deer & Crabapple Tree

November 10: This year I was Little Orphan Annie for the annual costume party. Leapin' Lizards!

October - November: Planted lots of trees, shrubs and grasses this year: Two curly willows from my brother, one 3 feet tall, the other 6 feet. For the birds I planted 2 Washington hawthorns, 2 redbuds, 2 viburnums and a crabapple that so loved its place that it went from a leafless twig to a robust, beautifully conformed 4 foot tree in one summer. Every time I lay eyes on it I am filled with wonder and joy. I forgot to get a good photo of it but took the one at right recently when a deer was nosing her way under the cage to get at a patch of mushrooms. Early in the spring, I was given 2 blueberry bushes, bringing my number to three, and a hazelnut. I also planted one Japanese andromeda and moved the one I had, which was doing poorly in a too shady location. It revived and revels in its new place in a sunnier spot. I have a particular fondness for andromeda (Pieris japonica). I also planted fountain grasses, leriope, spirea, more, I can't remember.
service box shed October 15: I finally finished the box that covers the service boxes. Made of rough-cut hemlock with a copper roof. It's open underneath.

October 14: Today I made a cat scratching post for a friend of my mother's who just got a cat. This was a fun project and I used one of my 150+ year old hand hewn fir beams. It was a beautiful day to be working outside, cool and crisp.

scratching post scratching post scratching post
uncapping knife September 21: Extracting. I discovered two helpful procedures this year. These are tips that are probably in my bee books somewhere but I missed them or forgot. Last year was the first year I used real uncapping knives and I found them awkward. This year I discovered that it's a whole lot easier if I'm holding the frame the right way. I rest the frame, vertically, on a 1x2 board which spans my kitchen sink, front to back, under which is a large stainless steel bowl and inside that a colander lined with cheesecloth. The top bar is facing left and I'm standing just to the right (The uncapping knives are serrated on only one side and I am right handed). I have a large pot of hot water on the stove on simmer next to me in which are the two uncapping knives. I take a knife and draw it down in a sawing motion as quickly as I can, lightly resting the curved knife end against the top bar. I have the best results using an aggressive forward stroke (away from me). When I finish uncapping that side (and I do have to dig at bits with the knife point), I flip the frame, end over end, so that it is oriented the same as the first side with the top bar on the left. Last year I was doing it every which way, with the top bar closest to me on the right, and that made the uncapping stroke ineffective.This is my extractor without that stand. I didn't buy the stand, don't need it. Then, oh joy, I discovered that if I put the frames in my 4 frame extractor with the top bars always to the outside, it will spin smoothly. Last year the load was unbalanced and I had to lean my whole weight against the extractor, wedged between me and the counter to steady the unbalanced load. Of course the whole process is still a bloody mess and I've got honey all over the place. I started at about 2:15 and finished extracting, including putting the super back on the hive, about 3:15. I was still bottling honey at midnight. One super, 25+ pounds. I use 9 frames and to extract that ninth frame I center it in the basket and on the opposite side put two extracted frames. Worked perfectly—just have to carefully center the ninth frame with that heavier top bar in mind.
Climbing Nasturtiums Potato Vines in 3 varieties in the window box - September
I have a frog in my frog pond this year that is huge.
There were five frogs for a long while but now I see only four.
The big guy has a croak so deep and rattling that it makes me laugh whenever I hear it.
A really big croaker in the frog pond Cleome

June - July

10 June
herb garden

12 June
"... with two cats in the yard"

pond iris
Pond iris
12 June
frog pond gargoyle

12 June
3 types of sedum

24 July
July 24 - All in bloom
cheddar pinks
Cheddar pinks

A fancy iris

The amazing Hardy English primrose
that will bloom under the snow

Early June: The lawn tractor arrives on May 25. Tom found this used Agway (MTD) lawn tractor up in Rutland and bought it for $700. It's in very good shape and comes with a bagger which is worth a few hundred by itself. And to sweeten the deal, Tom threw in his little red wagon. I'm in heaven albeit a little guilty about buying another gas powered machine. What had taken me 3 days and wore me out with the little push mower I can now do in three hours. All the lawns in 3 hours! Of course, the ultimate goal is to eliminate lawns to the point where there are only 4 foot wide paths that I can mow with my European manual mower. But, for now, this is a savior. Agway MTD tractor 1990

March 10: Today I buried Nemo. The top crust of snow was about 6 inches thick but large chunks popped out easily when I levered under them with the shovel. The snow underneath was light and cleared away very quickly. I found the edge of Sushi's grave so that I knew where Nemo would lie. The ground was not frozen at all and the soil was nice, no clay and not many rocks. There were a few roots but I was able to work around them. My tiny princess did not need a big hole. Nemo is the last of the pet family who moved in here with me in '97. They are all together again now, under the earth: Luke, Sushi and Nemo. Being a survivor feels lonely. Nemos grave site
Wild Turkeys March 11: The turkeys were here today, the first I've seen them this year but since I don't get up early I've probably missed them. I saw them about 2:30 at the bird feeders. It's mating season so there is a lot of movement and activity.

It feels like spring today, finally. Even with all the snow the air is warm and the birds are very vocal and active. Mating season for all our feathered friends. It rained a bit last night, lowering the snow level a few inches. No more walking on the surface. A step off the packed paths and I sink in to my knees. Last year in March there was no snow at all.

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