December 15, 2019
My discomfort with the scattered around Swiss chard plants that interfere with a sense of neatness is being resolved. With every rain squall that causes me to take refuge in the greenhouse, a bunch of sparrows decend upon them, eagerly ripping at the leaves in haste because they know I'll be back shortly. They must wait in the surrounding grape and blackberry vines for me to disappear.
I had forgotten how the plants get eaten to the ground every winter, and how important it is cover them. All of my mini greenhouses are deployed on the spinach, lettuce and kale so bird netting is the next best thing.
December 16, 2019
For the gardener on your Christmas list you can't go wrong with a pair of insulated gloves. This time of year mine stay on all the time, both in the garden and out. I'm in the habit of bringing them up to the house in the evening, instead of leaving them in the greenhouse, to dry out on top of the water heater. Slipping on warm gloves before you go out is as comforting as warm insulated boots. No matter how many layers of clothes I have on, my hands stay cold without gloves.
Us old people tend to have circulatory problems. Comfortable knee pads are also an absolute requirement for gardening this time of year. I strap mine on upon entering the garden no matter what my plans are, because I will find myself kneeling from time to time, if only to pet the dog.
December 17, 2019
Geese move me. I always have to look up when I hear them flying overhead. I count them and imagine what their view is like. They make me think about the mountains and trees surrounding me, and make me glad to be outdoors. Just the act of looking up changes you. It gives you pause.
I tend to look down all the time because everything important in the garden seems to be on the ground, but the squawking of the geese leads to loftier sights and thoughts. The morning pond is covered with goose down, a dusty white layer of powder that disappears by the end of of the day. Watching them circle in for their evening landing at dusk, with all the incredible amount of squawking, is a bit mesmerizing for me. The way they arch their wings and glide down to the water, skiing on their big webbed feet, and then all settle in, and you feel like going up to the house and sitting in front of a roaring fire, because the day is done.