Monday, March 10, 2014

Signs of New Life on the Farm, a Consequence of Heavy Ice and Snow, and Some Contemplation

This winter has been a rather brutal winter; to put it mildly. For those of you who don't know Middle Tennessee (and other parts of the south) have endured storm after storm of mainly ice and freezing cold temperatures. Such was the case last Sunday when a big storm came in and dropped 4-6" of ice pellets, snow, and sleet. This in and of itself is not too awfully unusual, but what made the storm extra bad was that the temperatures stayed quite cold for several days. This resulted in iced over roads and it was a brave soul indeed who ventured out onto the roads. While the county highway department did the best they could to clear the roads; it was a very large job and many of the back roads did not get cleared until around Thursday.

I was fortunate in that I could pretty much stay at home while my family members worked. I was seriously stressed about their welfare on the roads; especially when I ventured out on Wednesday to feed a stray dog I care for in an adjacent town. I wound up getting stuck but that is another story. Fortunately all family members stayed safe on the icy roads around town. 

While I was home bound I enjoyed watching the birds. I have never ever seen so many birds and so many types of different birds visit my feeders. All of the snow and ice sure brought the birds to my back door. I happened to venture outside and enjoyed getting up close and personal with a few of the brave souls who chose to eat the black sunflower seeds I offered up to them. Here a towhee along with some finches is enjoying the food. Surprisingly enough as soon as the snow left so did most of the birds. I have not hardly seen a grackle or European starling or towhee since the snow melted. They are most likely enjoying the new buds on all of the trees surrounding the area.
Mr. Fix-it and I finally made it out to the farm as well. While I had been by there I did not dare stop my car and get out on the snow as I feared I would not get going on the iced over road again. Yesterday was a beautiful day to get out and about and most of the snow is now all melted. Our little vernal pond is showing signs of new life in the form of frog eggs. We are always delighted to spot these masses in our ponds each spring. It seems like it would be way too cold for frog eggs, but the frogs don't seem to mind the cold. Now that the snow is melted and the ice is gone it seems that it is business as usual.

The above frog eggs are located in this tiny vernal pond created by miners back in the 1800s when they hand dug this pit looking for iron ore. I had the great idea to build a little bridge across this pond so we could enjoy being over the water and not just beside it. It was Mr. Fix-it who spotted the frog eggs while standing on this bridge.
The pond is fairly clear but it can be hard seeing to the center of this pond from the sides so a vantage point of being overhead works well for us. This little pond is surrounded by several mature hardwood trees. As such those trees drop a lot of leaves and debris into the pond. During the summer when this pond will most likely dry up, I like to go into the pond area and scrape up the organic material for use in the gardens as a great garden amendment.
I transplanted several scilla to the edge of the above vernal pond last spring. I was delighted to see them breaking ground this year. Moving a large garden is quite hard and while I have a process, I am not so sure the plants are agreeing with my process. Many plants resent being disturbed let alone being dug up, thrown into the back of a truck, and transported fifteen miles to another location with completely different soil and growing conditions. The garden move has been a lesson in patience and humility. I am no where near to being in the spot I thought I would be by this time. It has been a little more than one year since we bought the farm and while we have come a long way in that year I am humbled to remember it takes a lifetime to build a garden. In my case not only am I building a garden but I am dismantling a garden and this is not a fun thing for me to do. At any rate I revel in the small treasures I have placed on the land that decide to grow and gift me with blooms and greenery.
On the other side of the scillas next to the little pond there used to reside a lovely little shelter covered by a gazebo metal frame and canvas top. It was Mr. Fix-it that discovered that the gazebo top was no more due to all of the heavy ice and snow we received last weekend. I was really upset this roof caved in. I had expected to replace the canvas with a hard metal roof at some point simply because canvas is not a durable material when situated outside all year long, but I did not expect it to be so soon. This canvas top had withstood windstorms that blew down trees and ripped off roofs, it never sailed away or collapsed in any way. I always thought it would be blown away so I was quite shocked to find out it caved in. There really was nothing I could do about the situation and although I should've taken off the canvas cover at the start of the winter, I really thought I was home free by March! Next weekend it looks as though I will be working on a new roof for this shelter. It will be a more permanent roof of metal but I am not sure how I will design it. I've never put on anything but a shed roof so building  this roof will be a lesson for me. The frame of 4" x 4"s is still intact so that is a good thing. We simply must have a shelter to keep us out of the sun and sometimes out of the rain, and to be able to relax while we are working on the land. We will soon begin building our home so it is also important this location is comfortable and workable for us to take breaks under from time to time. I can't wait to get started on it and get it done! 

I know I have not been posting all that much lately as things have gotten so busy for me sometimes that my mind is in other places than on this blog. I do enjoy talking with all of my blogging friends and sharing things going on in the garden but I am just not dedicating as much time to blogging as I used to do. That does not mean I will stop blogging. As I've always said the main reason I blog is to document things going on in my garden and life in pictures and words so that I can easily look back on the articles. It is a kind of a scrapbook for me. I am especially grateful that I have documented my current garden on this blog so well as I am trying to design and create a new garden I do not want to forget my old garden. My old garden is where my heart has been for many, many years. All of the thousands of bulbs, and hundreds of perennials, shrubs, and trees are all a little bit part of me. It is almost like giving birth when you plant a garden. You are responsible for that plant and can watch it grow to maturity. Many of the plants and trees I have planted will long outlive me. This part of gardening is fascinating to me and the fact that gardens are alive and ever changing is probably the number one reason I garden. As long as I garden I will endeavor to blog as well....

in the garden....
Words and Photos Property of In the Garden Blog Team, In the Garden


  1. Oh my, you had much more snow and ice on your side of town then my parents! They had about 2 inches of ice and 1/4 inch of snow on top. But a mess just the same... Sorry you lost your shelter top but as you say, you needed a better one anyway so just making you do it now rather then later. I am sure the house builders will enjoy the break from the sun as well during breaks! Frog eggs is a good thing! Go Froggies, Go froggies...

  2. I know you'll do a great job with building a roof so that you can enjoy 'must have' shade while there working on the farm.

    Your pond with bridge is neat and I'm sure the frogs are enjoying the pond too.

    Have a lovely spring ~ FlowerLady

  3. You certainly have had your share of bad weather this winter! I've complained about the endless cold and snow, but I think ice is the worst--treacherous and often destructive. I hope winter is over for all of us. I've enjoyed watching the birds this winter, too, but I've found, like you that fewer of them are coming to the feeders now that most of the snow has gone. The little chickadees still come to the window feeder, though, and entertain the cats:)

    You may not be where you had hoped to be by now with your new garden, but I think you have accomplished so much, Tina! When you talk about transplanting numerous hydrangeas and other perennials in one day, I am so amazed at what you get done in a day's time. I know it's all going to come together eventually, and you'll have another beautiful garden to enjoy. So glad to hear you aren't giving up blogging--it does take time, and with everything else you're doing, I don't know how you manage to post as often as you do. So many bloggers I used to visit have cut way back or even disappeared altogether, which makes me sad. But I agree, the blog is a great way to record what's happening in the garden each year; I find I often look back at mine to remember what year I planted something or even to find the name of a plant I've forgotten. I know if I depended on just a written journal, I'd never keep track of everything as well.

  4. To me spring is the sign that there's still life on earth waiting to come out. :-)

    Greetings from London.

  5. Tina, I can't imagine how bad this storm must have been. That is a lot of ice. Can't wait to see the house under way and garden start to bloom.

  6. I cannot get over all the ice you have had this year. What challenges for everyone who is not used to all of that. I hate ice here and we have the means to treat roads better.
    I am amazed at all you've done to move your garden. It may not all make it but at least you tried and I'll bet you get some amazing surprising too. Love those frog eggs!

  7. Hello Tina girl ! You gave me such a wonderful gift of remembering how excited I was as a kid collecting some frog's eggs that turned to tadpoles that turned to frogs.
    There couldn't be a better lesson for kids with seeing this transition ... I so love frog song too .. I wish we could have frogs in a pond in my gardens .. you are very lucky indeed and how cute is that wooden bridge.
    Winter is not done with us yet ... we are waiting for a HUGE storm building tonight and tomorrow .. could be over 10 inches of snow that will be dumped yet again.
    You might even hear me screaming all the way over there if you listen carefully ... slightly above the frog song ? LOL
    Joy from the frozen snowing north !

  8. I am so glad there are other people with similar values, like putting the garden in before the house goes up.