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Quote of the Day: E.B. White

November 11th, 2012

“I also ought to stir the litter in the henpen in the barn where the Barred Rocks are, and in the henhouse where the crossbred birds are; and then fill some bushel baskets with shavings and add them to the litter in the places where it needs deepening. The dropping boards under the broody coops need cleaning and I should do that at the same time, since I will be out there anyway. As far as littler is concerned, a man could take and rake the lawn under the maples where there is such an accumulation of leaves and add these dry leaves to the litter in the houses for the birds to scratch around in. Anything to keep their minds occupied in healthy channels.”

E.B. White (from the essay Memorandum: October 1942 from One Man’s Meat)

We’ve been having beautiful weather here in Maine, perfect for getting all those fall chores buttoned up. Yesterday, I spent the day mowing up mulch to put on the chicken run. The ladies were quite excited with their new digs.

Today I plan on making more mulch and adding some inside the chicken house too, hopefully it will give the chickens something to pick through on the chilly snowy days ahead. I plan on making a pile of extra leaves/grass clippings up by the coop to throw in on occasion to keep them busy in the winter.

We also spent some time getting our electric net fence up for the little ducklings. It will be ready just in time, they’re really outgrowing their other little fenced in area.

What’s on your to-do list today?

Quote of the Day: Bernd Heinrich

October 14th, 2012

The leaves of the red maple drop at the height of their color, and all the while that the forest is ablaze in color from the underbrush up through the tips of the crowns, the ground also is aflame as the magic settles onto the wilting ferns and last year’s decrying brown leaves. I want to pick up every leaf, for each one seems brilliant and unique. I want to know that the colors are even more precious because they are ephemeral–in a few days they all face to a uniform brown.

Bernd Heinrich (A Year In The Maine Woods)

Fall can be a flash in the pan kind of season. Some years it’s longer than others. When the weather cooperates, you get a few weeks of beautiful color and glorious weather. When it doesn’t, just about the time the leaves peak, the wind and rain arrive, washing most of the fall color to the ground, where it quickly turns brown.

This past week we had a windy rainy day that did just that. The nice thing about those windy rainy days, is that it clears the air, making things so crisp and clean. It seems this can only happen in the fall for some reason.

On Saturday morning we woke up to our first frost and freeze. It was 30 when I awoke, there was a skim of ice in my watering can when I went to the chicken coop. Winter is slowly creeping up on us!

How is fall progressing in your garden? Frost, freezes, changing leaves?

Fall Colors

September 23rd, 2012

Mostly what’s on my mind right now are the falls colors. I go around gaping, as if I have never seen anything like it before. Perhaps I haven’t, I’m never quite sure. I could see this display every year and not grow tired of it, like seeing the flight of geese, or hearing the bird songs in spring. I remember, and that might reduce the amazement. But I don’t remember the edge–the vividness of the spectacle.

Bernd Heinrich (A Year In The Maine Woods)

On my way up to Maine I noticed hints of the upcoming leaf change and I can’t wait. It’s a beautiful time of year, just what is needed before the colorless winter. When I read the quote above in the book it rang true for me. Each year I’m taken aback by the beauty of fall as if I have never experienced it before. I can’t wait to be amazed!

What’s your favorite fall foliage tree?

Whispers of Fall

September 4th, 2012

Last week I noticed a leaf falling from the tree above me. Then I spotted some yellow out of the corner of my eye. When we were driving around Cincinnati this past weekend, the smell of fallen leaves filled the air in the park. Everywhere you look you hear whispers of fall.

The tulip trees are the first ones to signal the change in seasons. Their leaves start collecting in the gutters and by the doors long before the other leaves start to turn. Soon after the sassafrass trees start changing, the dogwood trees will come soon as well.

On Sunday, I realized there were already enough leaves on the ground to consider raking. I can’t believe that fall is almost here!

Has fall arrived in your garden yet?

One Gardener’s Trash is Another’s Compost

November 9th, 2010

This time of year I’m always on the lookout for bags of leaves to throw in the car and bring home. As you remember, I use them to make mulch for the gardens. I also wrap my hydrangeas and fill them with leaves to protect them from the harsh winter weather.

Since you never know what kinds of chemicals other gardeners are using on their lawns, none of these collected leaves get used on my vegetable beds. They’ll be used on the hydrangeas and on the ornamental beds.

Last year, our neighborhood made leaf collecting much easier for us. During fall cleanup season they put a few dumpsters by the front gate for leaves & tree trimmings. We simply have to head up there every week or so to collect a car full of leaves. So far I’ve collected 12 big garbage bags of free mulch and most likely I’ll double that by the end of fall!

Do you pick up leaves you see on the side of the road? Do you have another source for free garden amendments like seaweed?

Reading & Watching

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.