Archive for December, 2010

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Sunshine in 2011

December 31, 2010

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Journal entry December 17, 2010:  The leaves of five weeping willows, now bright yellow, still cling to stems in the sweep of long, hanging boughs. This is where Ralphie and I run too when gray days become too depressing and I need sunlight. The trees, in the last stage of dormancy, can’t infect me with a dose of vitamin B, but the golden park lifts my spirit, and Ralphie . . . well, he’s just happy to run around outdoors, nose to the ground.

My husband and I have made it a practice to keep the Willow Grove natural. As a result, there’s a good twelve inches of leaf mulch on the ground. This is one place we don’t have to hoe or spray weeds. It doesn’t take long for the fallen leaves to change. By the end of December, before the New Year begins, they’ll turn into a brown mat.

It rained last night, so I stand beneath the stringy willow skirts on a leafy sponge. Ralphie’s shaggy legs are wet and no longer white as he runs after a phoebe on the fence post. Smells of decay, mud, and moss rush together. The air is damp; pasture green, the sky a dull statue gray.

Having lived here for years, I know this scene well, how nature binds together layer-upon-layer in 3-D.  I study however many details my eyes will allow me to discover:  fence boards spackled with rust and moss, old manure spreader rims partly buried in leaves, a tiny mushroom peering out from the thick soggy sponge-of-a-ground, and an old willow stump that Ralphie just leaped from, awkwardly dragging a twig alongside his short frame. Ralphie brings the twig to me, tail twitching. Then he runs away. I chase after him because that’s how we play before I grow breathless and call timeout.

The willows take their own timeout. Soon the golden park will be brown. Skinny, dead boughs will drop and land willy-nilly, many like hand-stitched Xs on a crazy quilt. Once this happens, on days when the sky is gray, Ralphie and I will run to the backyard. Here, Chinese maple leaves dot the lawn and patio with bright yellow leaves. The surface isn’t a spongy mat though. When the grass isn’t too wet, my husband trims the lawn sucking up sunny-colored leaves. Between maintenance, more will drop. Well into the New Year, there’ll be a bright spot to lift my spirit. It will be a good year. Copyright © 2010 Dianne Marie Andre

Thank you for letting me share my world with you in 2010. I hope your year, in 2011, is filled with all things grand and special.

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How to Dispose of Christmas Trees

December 29, 2010

After the holidays, it’s best to remove your Christmas tree from your house as early as possible. Never burn your tree in the fireplace or outside. Christmas trees ignite rapidly, pop, spark, and can cause a fire and the loss of homes or worse, lives.

If you have a mulching machine, or you plan to rent one, get the job done right away. Dry Christmas trees are just as dangerous when left outdoors.  

Most towns offer curbside pickup after Christmas. Contact your municipal office by telephone or Google their website for information on proper disposal, pickup schedules, or locations of the nearest drop-off recycling center. Nonprofit organizations, such as The Boy Scouts, also offer pickup service for a small donation fee.

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January 2011 Events

December 27, 2010

January Events is now posted for family recreation and learning opportunities.

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Christmas Greeting

December 22, 2010

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Vertical Habitats

December 20, 2010

Only one tree fell during the weekend’s storm. I’m crossing my fingers that the trees throughout our property will stay grounded, limbs in tact, during the remainder of this, and other winter tempests. I hate the thought of losing any of my husband’s trees. They are, after all, earth’s great big, green friends, and ours.

Joe is the one who designed, bought, and planted (with our sons’ help and mine) more than one thousand trees. Over the years, we’ve watched them grow from seedlings and five-gallon-sized adolescents into maturity. My husband has fussed over their need for water, weeding, staking, and pruning. A great deal of forethought and labor has gone into the continued nurturing of Joe’s trees.

We’ve received enormous pleasure from his vertical habitats. The trees have added value and beauty to our land, shaped a welcoming entrance to our home, purified the atmosphere, formed windbreaks and screens to hide junk piles and farm equipment, and provided quarters and refuges for critters.

We’ve lost several trees over the years. Seven weeping willows were removed, evergreens, birch, mulberry, locusts, cherries, and an orange tree. To this day, large voids remain where they once stood. When I squint, I can see their ghostly figures. Losing trees isn’t the end of the world. It’s the end of a big, beautiful, green friend. I can’t help feeling a tad sad when this happens.

This is one of the weeping willow trees we had to remove.

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Budding Garden Thought

December 17, 2010

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“White flakes of snow

remind me of my rose.

A warm garnish beneath my nose.”

Copyright © 2010 Dianne Marie Andre

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Bare-Root Roses

December 16, 2010

It’s time for bare-root roses. Shop now at your local nursery for old-time favorites as well as the new 2011 varieties such as Dick Clark.

To view some of these beauties go to:

http://www.ridgeroadgardencenter.com/bareroot_roses2011.htm

Tell them In and Around the Garden sent you!

 

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