Bonfire Winter

After a week or so of intermittent rain we found the perfect window to burn our three-year-old brushpile. John and Milo are watching over some large old logs left from the Derecho wind damage as well as smaller twigs and woody garden debris that wasn’t suitable for the compost pile. At this time of year, many of the old leaves have blown or rotted away in the woods, making for safer conditions than earlier in the fall when it was so dry and the woodland floor was covered with flammable leaves. Mid-January is also a good time for the bonfire because no animals or birds have nested yet.  The potash left around the perimeter will go on as amendment to the vegetable garden.

A light dusting of snow heralded the waxing moon of January earlier in the month. Our winter has been very mild so far, with no ice or prolonged cold temperatures. Some people think this will encourage high insect populations this coming summer. I hope this wet month will help reduce the 6-7″ rain deficit we entered autumn with and set us up for a good spring flowering. Last year’s dogwoods, redbuds, azaleas, and other flowering woody plants were spectacular so it’s possible they will take a little rest after expending all that energy. We shall see.

The concrete lions’ feet bench is a year old now. Its color suits the beech and fence and you can sit on it either way, contemplating the now nearly thirty year old tree (quite young for Fagus grandifolia) or turn around and look through the garden gates back toward the house and east meadow. It draws us out into the garden and makes a satisfying picture framed by the gates. The  buff gray bareness of winter always makes me appreciate the bones of the landscape even as I miss the verdant greens of spring.

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