Sunday, October 22, 2006


After two snowfalls last week the snow has melted (mostly) and even though my trees have shed only about half their leaves, I spent the afternoon blowing them into huge piles. Then the wind tried hard to scatter them again but I did manage to get a few bags filled. Those piles of leaves aren't half as much fun as they used to be when there was a small child or a pet to jump in them. I bought some Halloween leaf bags to fill and take over to the grandchildren's house since the trees there are too small to produce enough leaves to fill even one of these.
While I raked, old man tree kept an eye out on his fallen progeny. Small children don't know what to make of this face, but squirrels like to knock the nose off. Now if they'd just finish knocking the leaves down they could make themselves useful for a change.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006


Brrr! After a long snowy drive home from work this afternoon this is the view outside my living room window. I've already knocked the snow off my first-year Flame Maple tree but it's pretty icy and the branches want to hang down. I'm going to have to do it again before I go to bed. A lot of the leaves in the neighborhood are already off the trees but my 50 feet tall Silver Maples and the Honey Locust have barely started so I'm hoping this storm doesn't bring down any large branches. Looks like I'll be forced to pull out a few plants I've been enjoying till the last minute like the Nicotiana Sylvestris which the snow has flattened. And oh yeah, the ones that are blocking the front walk are going to have to go before the mailman attempts to deliver tomorrow!
The good news is I got some tulip and daffodil bulbs planted last weekend. I'm looking forward to seeing them surrounding the base of the maple tree in the front yard. But that's only if some creature doesn't get them first. As I finished laying mulch over the planted area a mouse went skittering past my feet. I think he was taking notes on where to find something to eat when times get tough. But even if he does get them it can't be as bad as what happened to my friend the neophyte gardener. She planted all her bulbs using bone meal in the holes (I'm too lazy to do that) and as she finished the last few she turned around to see her German Shepherd digging up the first ones. He apparently appreciates bone meal.

Thursday, October 05, 2006


Wow, I'm back from a week along the Oregon Coast and what a great trip. One of many amazing sights was these tree islands that look so improbable growing in the middle of enormous sand dunes. The dunes stretch for about 50 miles along the lower coast of Oregon and the "islands" are apparently remnants of forests that the sand has not covered. Yet! And I thought we had huge dunes in Colorado. So ours are just tall.

An interesting note: when we inquired at the Chamber of Commerce in the town of Florence about the ecological aspect of dune buggy rides, we were told that the state of Oregon encourages them to help keep the European beach grass in check. They spent years planting that species to try to control the dunes and now they want it eradicated! Oh, those invasives. They might need some of that beach grass on the dunes behind the local Fred Meyer store. They have to send in bulldozers regularly to keep the sand from engulfing the parking lot!

When I returned home I found the fall colors in full swing. What had been a few leaves turning when I left had morphed into a full-blown display of reds, oranges, yellows, and russets. Our higher elevation gives us the fast-forward on autumnal glory and this year seemed especially brilliant. But I think I say that every year. This photo is the view of my neighbor's yard from my front door. A few days later a strong wind blew most of these leaves off. It's fun to crunch through them as my neighbor and I take our evening walk. But I do wish the leaves would stay on the trees longer so we could enjoy our own "tree islands" of color.