December 12, 2017
There are two foot tall snapdragons growing along my pea trellis and they have buds on them. They are too big to transplant so I will either have to make a new trellis or plant my peas on the fence line. If I had a north side of my garden fence, that wasn't covered in grape vines, this would be fine because the majority of the peas would develop on the south side of the vines, and the deer couldn't eat them. I have a west side fence line open, but will lose half the crop. I've also not removed most of the hollyhocks yet. They are in various stages of decay but add height to the landscape that I missed last year when the garden was one dimension.
A hummingbird flew through the garden making stops at all the stalks, obviously in hopes of some high octane nectar. It's hard to imagine they can survive the winters. There were three hummingbird nests in an oak tree that were only a foot apart. They can apparently live together in the winter, even though they can't share the same flower patches in the summer.
December 13, 2017
Walking the garden pathways in the mornings now makes noises like stepping on corn flakes. Water has extruded up from the freezing cold ground on these December nights and made tiny spires of ice that crunch when you walk. You tend to tip toe because you become very mindful of destroying the soils texture by smashing it. The compost covered mounds and planting patches look kinda fuzzy, and you dare not walk on them. The need to keep your gloves on restricts your choice of gardening chores.
Trimming the vines, bushes and trees is my go to task on freezing cold days. Spreading compost and raking leaves also keep me warm. First I have to sit in the greenhouse awhile to establish my priorities. Then a cat will find my lap and I get a 20 minute break.
December 14, 2017
The morning sky is gray, there's fog all around, and frost on the ground. A bit dismal in the garden but a perfect time for a burn pile. The heat on your face will warm your shrunken sinuses and a pressure will be removed that you didn't even know was there. It's like a little summer sun in the middle of winter. I could brighten up the garden with a hummingbird feeder, maybe I should add it to my Christmas list. They keep flying through to check the hollyhock stalks and I feel sorry that they have to go away empty handed.
I don't know if it would be good for them to get high fructose corn syrup through the winter, look what it's doing for the bee colonies. The bees immune systems are degrading due to the lack of the antibacterial properties that the honey they are supposed to be consuming has in it. We keep taking more and more of their honey and replacing it with high fructose corn syrup. The hummingbirds may just be better off foraging for insects in the winter as nature intended.