summer greens at Mountain Glen Farm

summer greens at Mountain Glen Farm

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Last Day of 2015


YEAR 2015


Tuesday, December 29, 2015


We are nearing the end of the year, 2015, and one full week into the winter season although it feels more like spring.  The temperatures have been quite mild throughout the fall and they continue to be mild into early winter.


And, if I think it feels like spring, so do all my perennials plants.  I totally enjoy the warm temperatures, but I know the plants are confused.  The grass is still green and growing even though it is usually brown by now.  This is a benefit for our pasture-grazing cattle and sheep.  Green grass is tastier and more nutritious than brown.  But, I am more concerned with my garden softscape. Perennials that have died-back for the winter season have responded to the warm weather and are beginning to grow again, prematurely.  The growing tips of bulbs are starting to peek out of the ground.  And, several of my spring-flowering perennials are actually flowering.  This is not good.


Don’t get me wrong.  I am enjoying the surprise gifts of bright color among the grey and muted colors of a hibernated winter garden, but…


what flowers now will not flower come the ‘real’ spring.  Those flowers buds will have been spent off-season. 


Of course, there is nothing I can do about the weather, so I appreciate the blossoms now.  I imagine the flowers that I will miss in the spring, due to their untimely blooming,  will be diminished by the outstanding show of many more flowers that will be in the right time!


I guess I can categorize this unseasonably warm season as a win-win situation.


Yep, I will take my flowers anytime, anywhere I can get them.

My spring flowering ‘flowering quince’ is flowering.  The coral-pink blooms are beautiful against the backdrop of the winter greys of the forest trees.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Winter Tree

The sun is finally shining.  After days, probably weeks, of overcast and raining days, the house is bright once again.
Yet, there is a positive side to all this gloom and grey. The good thing about the darkness, especially during the Christmas holiday, was that I was able to enjoy the lights on my Christmas trees throughout the entire day rather than only at night.
Yes, you read that right…trees. My main tree is the traditional, cut down your own, fresh white pine.  My second tree is a new white and glittery artificial tree. 
crystal snowflake with drop heart
gift from a dear friend
angel blowing horn accented with
gold highlights
In previous years, after I decided that I needed a smaller tree to showcase my sparkling clear glass/spun glass/crystal ornaments, I use to go and find a small dried tree branch outside and spray paint it white.  That version was not very glitzy nor very stable.  One of my favorite ornaments, a biplane representing Glenn having a pilot’s license, flew off the tree and made quite a crash landing on the hardwood floor below. The plane shattered and was immediately destined for the trash as any type of fix was impossible.  That was about the same year Glenn let his license lapse... was that accidental crash a sign?

Last year, after Christmas, I purchased a small white plastic tree, adorned with lights and glitter, at half price. Reduced prices are my favorite kind of prices. The boxed tree went into storage.  I had no idea whether the lights worked or not.  This year, I pulled the two top sections (just the right height) of that tree out the box and assembled it on top of my Grandmother’s old treadle sewing machine which dwells in the corner of our dining room.  The initial intent was to set it up on my Grandmother’s old round oak table which resides in the living room.  I decided that two trees in one room was unnecessary duplication, and I wanted each tree to shine on its own. Therefore, the recently relocated sewing machine was the perfect size and in the perfect spot for my new holiday tree.
I temporarily moved a watercolor picture off the wall and hung an antique mirror in its place. The tree is positioned right in front of the mirror which greatly intensifies all that sparkle.
The white of the tree, the glitter that coats the twig-like branches, the glow of the LED lights and the glass and crystal ornaments all make for amazing energy.   It brightens my every moment when I walk by it. 
Now, just after Christmas, I realize I have an additional benefit. This tree can remain up long past the Christmas holiday.  It will not dry out, it will not lose its needles and it will seamlessly blend into the winter season.
When our weather eventually turns cold (it has been very mild) and maybe even snowy, this tree will not cause a chill, but it will be a beacon in my home… warming my spirit and my heart.

Sunday, December 13, 2015


Recently, my regular walks have been on the quiet side.  The resident birds, normally quite vocal, have been scarce.  Where do these year-round birds hide out in the winter?

Yesterday, though, the robins were out in large numbers.  A large ash tree that I pass was chockfull of these birds which were quite active twittering and flitting from bare branch to bare branch.  They sounded as if it were spring, which at 70 degrees, felt like spring. The grass is still green. The only hint of the actual season is the leafless trees.
December has been quite mild sporting daily, lately in the mid-sixties and getting into the seventies, very comfortable and non-humid temperatures. 
My mind and activities have wandered from the holiday season and all that entails - cookie baking, decorating the Christmas tree and house, writing Christmas cards - to getting outside and immersing myself back into gardening.  I do not want to waste a minute of this fabulous weather.  In December, it can change quite rapidly.
I am still cutting back browned perennials and doing a basic clean-up of all garden beds. Overall, the garden looks great for the season, but there is always something more to do.
Hence, I started to construct a bottle border around one of my perennial islands.  This activity has been on my ‘to do’ list for quite some time.  I have been collecting empty beer and wine bottles for years (my packrat tendencies).   I do not imbibe beer or wine as Coca Cola is my drink of choice, so I gather the empties where I can. Most bottles rarely get recycled and end up in the trash.
The ground not yet frozen, I got to work.
My intent is to build a small section initially and then see how it weathers the winter season before spending too much time and energy completing a full border encircling the bed.
As I started, Snowball wandered by and knocked down a five bottle section - ugh.  Hmmm…even if this border survives the winter, will it survive the likes of Snowball?  My Great Pyrenees has quite a mind of his own and stepping over a bottle border is probably not part of his radar.  Absently padding through is.
I have been told (names will be kept anonymous) that the project sounds ‘tacky’.  I think of the glass border as a repurposing task in progress.  Check out ‘glass bottle yard art’ on the internet for a plethora of photos of bottle borders, bottle walkways, bottle screens, bottle trees and more.  I find the creative uses of empty bottles quite intriguing, colorful (I love color), and whimsical.  Even my small section makes me smile.
I also discovered that creating such projects takes a lot of bottles.  I started with a pattern of one blue wine bottle and three brown beer bottles separated by one green beer bottle repeated five times before adding another blue wine bottle.  I have plenty brown beer bottles, but I quickly ran out of blue wine bottles and green beer bottles.  Donations will be gratefully accepted especially for those exceptional blue wine bottles.
Having finished an approximately nine foot section of border, I now wait.
Is this a project I will continue come next spring? 
Come back and find out.
For now, I will be taking advantage of the lovely weather staying busy…outside!