Saturday, January 22, 2011

Old Man Winter

Well, our Canadian neighbor has been sending us a lot of unnecessary cold weather. As I write this the weather is hovering around 9 degrees. I don't know how long it has been since it was this cold in Collingswood. I know I am getting older, but my memory is quite in place about this kind of weather. Just last week we had quite a snow fall. My new colleagues were all hopeful that we would be closed and have a snow day. Alas, the Federal government like the mail is pretty much always open.

As I looked down my street I kept thinking of my cousin Marylin in Tampa who has never seen snow. She has this wonderful childlike attitude towards snow that I still retain even though it is hard to be idyllic shoveling your sidewalk or driveway. Yet when all I have to do is photograph or read in my sun room I don't mind it either and imagine myself in that final scene from the film White Christmas. What could be better?

I parked my car in the garage and let the snow fall. I have been taking public transportation into Philadelphia so no need to shovel the driveway and the sun will eventually melt it.

We were lucky to have had a few warm days of 33 degrees enough to melt down some of the snow, but after that reprieve it got cold again. Now the remaining snow cracks like walking on glass. I know many northerners may find this information rather boring, but for my family and friends down in Florida in somewhat warmer climes I offer these thoughts and images

Even my rain barrel has almost frozen solid. I can't remember this ever happening before.

I don't think that there is much activity happening in my compost bins. The one without the lid I emptied to take down to get started in Florida, but I ran out of room in the Prius. The other bin's compost is pretty much frozen solid waiting for spring to be emptied into the garden.

I guess I could be doing some pruning. This is a perfect winter chore as there are no leaves, plants are dormant and you can see the shape you need to improve or shape. If you know what to prune where you can get ahead of the season doing this now; that is, if you can stand the cold. For me, I have the Collingswood garden where it needs to be so I will be in my sun room with a book and a cup of cocoa.

My Liquidambar ( Sweetgum) street tree is being the mess it always is. It many pronged ball seeds are falling by the hundreds if not thousands. It is a beautiful tree but it makes a great mess with all these seed balls that fall and get locked in with snow to create lovely traps for the walking public. I am always looking after the mess to keep the sidewalks clear of the booby traps. It makes no sense how thinking municipal officials allow this variety to be planted to line the streets given its hazardous seed pods, but who says that municipal officials know anything about planting street trees?

My boy Limo had his eight month birthday on January 12. To celebrate this milestone I took him to be fixed. He wore this collar for a week to keep him away from his stitches and he looked so cute in it; just like a Pierrot (even if he does not look very happy about wearing it. It is hard for men to do this to a male dog. I talked to many friends and all the men I spoke to seemed as bothered as I was. In contrast, all of my women friends seemed perfectly attune to the idea that it would make them live longer and remove some of that extra energy that pours out of puppies. I wonder if they had their druthers if they would do that to their husbands?

Finally, winter is the time of year I head into my sun room and read all the magazines that came during the year that I put off because I rather be gardening. I also get a chance to focus in on my recently acquired or gifted Christmas Books. It is also the time of year I start going through plant catalogues for seasonal interests or new garden tools and fun gadgets. This year my focus it out of shift. I had been designing my garden in Florida and laying out ideas on paper and even building a computer model of it. I got a great new book about Florida plants from my friends in North Carolina. It is a marvelous book by the University of Florida and boy am I going to have fun when I get back down there. Happy Gardening!


  1. I recently heard a rumor that spring is not far off. I guess we need to wait and see what happens to the ground hog on February 2nd. In the meantime, the snow really is wonderful. I love walking my dogs in the evening with my "snow tires for the feet" on my shoes. They are rubber and have metal "studs" on them so I never slip on the ice. Essential gadgets for us northerners.

  2. The most beautiful snow of all time happened last night. Did you get some photos of it? Nice to look at but hell to shovel.