Thurs. Jan. 13, 2022: Back to Seasonable Weather

image courtesy of Robert_C via pixabay.com

Thursday, January 13, 2022

Second Quarter Waxing Moon in Gemini

Uranus & Venus Retrograde

Mercury goes retrograde tomorrow

Celtic Tree Month of Birch

Cloudy and cold

We’re finally into seasonal weather here in the Berkshires, which means snowy and cold. With the windchill, this weekend, it’s supposed to go down to -31F. Reminds me of living in Chicago when I was a little, little kid! But the plants need it. They need rest time (if only people could rest, too).

We are snuggled down in the house; the thermostat is set a little lower than we had it in the Cape house, but it’s warmer (heat works better, insulation is better). We haven’t even needed the hot water bottles yet, although I suspect that will change this weekend.

The minimal errands I have to do are on foot. We are pretty well stocked up, although I try to get to the grocery store to replenish things like milk, eggs, butter.

I’m reading (and re-reading) books on container gardening, trying to figure out where I have the seeds packed, and what seeds I need to order.

We won’t grow many vegetables this year – maybe some small tomatoes and mini-cucumbers and some lettuce. The focus will be more on herbs, and maybe a few pollinator flowers. It’s very different here, so we need to see what does well, and how different types of plants do on the porch and balcony.

The planning and dreaming are fun, but, eventually, we will have to get down to practicalities.

What are your garden dreams for this year?

Nov. 11, 2021: November Energy

photo by Anna Rye, courtesy of pexels.com

Thursday, November 11, 2021

Second Quarter Waxing Moon in Aquarius

Neptune, Chiron, Uranus Retrograde

Celtic Tree Month of Reed

Sunny and cool

In spite of the predictions we’d have our first snow this week, the weather has been glorious. Cold at night, down into the twenties, with a need to scrape frost off the car in the morning.

But during the day, it’s up into the fifties. It’s been sunny most days, a little bit of rain here and there.

I’ll enjoy every beautiful day I can.

This will be my first winter in the Berkshires, and I keep hearing how harsh they are, so I’m ready.

Last Friday, we drove about an hour and a half east, and it was just hitting peak foliage and gorgeous.

There are still some wonderful colors here, but many of the trees have shed their leaves, and they’re getting into the stark, tree-and-branch that has its own loveliness.

The pumpkin my friend carved on Halloween lasted until yesterday, and it started caving in, so we had to throw it out.

I’m hoping the weather will hold for the next few days, so we can spend some time up at the lake, and walking around The Spruces.

They have the trees up and decorated on the Main Street of town. The tree lighting is supposed to happen the Wednesday before Thanksgiving (or the Friday after, if it rains). I might meander the few blocks down for it. I bet it will look pretty.

The porch is still warm enough to keep plants out there. Tessa is out there as many hours as possible, every day. It’s her porch, and she will miss it if/when we have to close it off for the winter. I admit, I sit there as often as I can in the afternoons, reading and soaking up the sun!

One of the many good things about this place is the large windows with lots of natural light. On any sunny winter day, we will enjoy sunshine.

How are things in your neck of the woods this November?

Thurs. Sept. 9, 2021: The Difference in Air (and Earth)

image courtesy of Kevin Craft via pixabay.com

Thursday, September 9, 2021

First quarter waxing moon in Libra

Pluto, Saturn, Jupiter, Neptune, Chiron, Uranus Retrograde

Celtic Tree Month of Vine

Cloudy, rainy, humid

Yesterday, we drove to the Cape and back, doing a storage run. The contrasts are so amazing,

The air here in the mountains has a tartness to it. Even though it gets very humid (especially with all the rain), when it’s not humid, there’s a crisp dryness to the air.

I’m looking forward to watching the colors turn and reveling in all things autumn.

The air on Cape is saltier, of course, because the Cape juts out between the bay and the sea. The tang of it is different. It was sunny yesterday, and bright, but still, the air felt heavier. Also, because of all the increasing traffic, especially over the bridge, and the fact that so many trees are cut down daily, the pollution hangs more over the area, and there’s an oily layer from it that coats everything.

The air smells different in both places, and feels different when it hits your skin.

I’m surprised how different the food tastes, too. Part of it is that the water is much harder here. But also, the soil is different. So a tomato grown here in the Berkshires has a very different taste than one grown on Cape Cod. They both taste good, but the taste is very different.

I’m starting to understand what is meant in wine when they discuss “terroir.” It affects everything that’s grown.

And it’s one reason why recipes made from local ingredients in both places taste so differently on Cape Cod than they do here.

It’s fascinating.

The Canal looked beautiful as we went over the Bourne Bridge, and it was busy with boats.

I still love the Cape’s beauty, although I’m deeply saddened how those who are supposed to protect it, instead allow its destruction.

Not that everything is so perfect here, either, pollution-wise. But I love living tucked in amongst the mountains, and within the neighborhood trees that people aren’t constantly trying to cut down.

Aug. 12, 2021: Making Friends With My New Area’s Nature

photo by Devon Ellington

Thursday, August 12, 2021

Waxing Moon First Quarter in Libra

Pluto, Saturn, Jupiter, Neptune, Chiron Retrograde

Celtic Tree Month of Hazel

Heat wave: hot, humid, hazy

It’s been a few months since I posted. The photo above is the enchanted garden we’ve set up on the back balcony at the new home in the Berkshires.

We also have a screened in front porch, where we have our Adirondack chairs, the blue wicker chair, more plants (especially herbs, because of the Southern exposure), and more of our outdoor décor.

It was painful to say goodbye to Che Guevara Chipmunk, the murder of crows, the Gemini Oaks in the front lawn, the lovely Maple in the back. The covered back deck.

We couldn’t take many of our large potted plants with us, such as the Roses of Sharon, various lilacs, forsythia, etc. We gave them to neighbors who love to garden, and will either plant them in their own garden, or find them good homes. We gave away a lot of pots, and a lot of garden tools, including rakes, hoes, spades, the lot.

For a decade, we’ve loved that third of an acre, even when things like the mowing were difficult. We had a close relationship with the plants and wildlife. I’d done a lot of rooting work, psychologically, and it was difficult to disengage.

We’ve moved from the ocean – where, due to the increased tourism and the local attitude that ONLY tourists matter, not residents, so the pollution increases as habitat is destroyed – to the mountains.

Technically, we live in a city. Yet there are so many trees all around us. And grass. And plants. We are tucked into the Berkshire mountains, with mountain views out the front and the back. The buildings here have porches or balconies, up and down. Most residents create their little patches of garden enchantment.

It’s very different than on Cape, and each region is beautiful in its own way.

The air is quite different, lacking the salt from the ocean. Also, even though we’re in a city rather than a village, there’s less pollution. The oily residue that’s taken over the air, the dirt, and even the fog on Cape isn’t in everything here.

The soil quality is different. While Cape Cod is known for mounds of gorgeous blue hydrangeas, the hydrangeas here tend to be white or pink and white. Black-eyed Susans (one of my favorite flowers) are popular here, as are sunflowers, and mounds and mounds of petunias, spilling out of baskets on porches and along public streets.

I have to learn the native plants, and figure out what we can grow next year. This year was too late to start much; we bought some pots of herbs, and some flowers, but next year, I will try to start more from seed.

I’ve visited the nearby lake, and I’m looking forward to visiting the Botanical Garden, and some private gardens, and the community gardens that are so popular here, and learning about the gardens and plants that thrive here in the mountains.

While I miss the space and the variety in my Cape garden, even though so much was in containers, I don’t miss the mowing, or the constant pressure for the property to look more landscaped and not be a habitat for the local wildlife.

Our back balcony is habitat – we have two birdhouses and a nest that were already occupied when we moved in (the landlord takes delight in them, too). They are bratty little birds, but an awful lot of fun to watch.

A pair of crows has found me, and visit every morning, when I write on the front porch. They’ve started to stop by and tell me the news. I enjoy my time with them.

I’m excited to see the beauties of autumn, winter, and spring here.