The Old Year Now is Fled Away

It’s hard to believe the year is almost gone; but Winter is definitely here.  I’m sitting outside and it’s 51F/10C, but I’m bundled up and fortified with an exceptionally large mug of glühwein.  So fortified, as a matter of fact, that I determined to honor the word of the year – selfie – with my first one.

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Sock Monkey Cap – Shameless

I suppose a 49-year-old man has no business wearing a sock monkey cap, but there you are.

I was finally able to get out into the garden and do some clean-up.  For the most part, December has been quite cold with several hard freezes.  There really weren’t any last year, so the garden didn’t look as desolate as it does this year.  Actually, winter really teaches me patience and to look for uncommon beauty.  Anyroad, here are some photos from the garden at the start of winter.  Luckily I have next week off, so hopefully I can provide some very delayed posts of our October vacation this year.  If I wait any longer, I’ll be posting them at the same time as next year’s trip to Germany and Norway.

Rather pedestrian, but I really enjoy getting my load of firewood for the year.  For the past several years, I’ve been using Austin Firewood.  I used to order from a place that just dumped it in the driveway, but Austin Firewood actually stacks it for you!  I think they had some problems with their website this year, but per usual, nothing but great service from them.  If you need firewood, definitely call them!

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Half A Cord of Seasoned Oak Firewood

Since we turned the breakfast room into Brian’s aquarium last year, we can’t keep the ficus trees in there when it freezes, so we bought a portable greenhouse that I saw at the Natural Gardener.  The Flower House pop-up green house is pretty easy to put up (two people, 25 minutes – in a stiff wind, no less), and it works very well, but I have to admit, it does block the view of a large part of the garden for four months.  In the best of all possible worlds, I’d like to install a garden shed on the northwest corner that would house the plants when needed.

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Pop-Up Green House – No Frozen Ficuses

The only remaining colour I have in the garden is from the holly trees and my Japanese maple.  I’m not sure if it’s just the species, or if the placement is bad, or what, but my Japanese maple is red only twice a year – when it leafs out in March/April and the week before Christmas, when the leaves fall off.  Anyroad, it’s stunning, particularly at night.

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Japanese Maple

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Holly Berries

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Holly Berries

I am so excited because I am regularly visited by a family of wood peckers!  (Perhaps I need a social life…)  Anywho, here are some photos I got while it was feeding on the suet feeder.  There’s just something really prehistoric about these birds.

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Red-Headed Woodpecker

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Red-Headed Woodpecker

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Red-Headed Woodpecker

I seem to return to familiar themes; here’s the birdhouse my great grandfather made when he was a boy.

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Papoo’s Birdhouse

And here’s my scrap-metal chicken and an empty earn.

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Sad Chicken and Empty Urn

And to close out with a wine recommendation.  Recently, I picked up a bottle of Caricature Red Wine from Lange Twins winery.  A cab and zinfandel blend from Lodi, it was one of the best reds I’ve had in a very long time.  I got it primarily for the papparadelle in pumpkin parmesan sauce we had.  Spicy and smoky with a full-on stone fruit taste, it worked exceptionally well with the heavy but homey sauce.  I’ll definitely get this again!  Happy Holiday to all!!




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2 Responses to The Old Year Now is Fled Away

  1. plumdirt says:

    I’m impressed you’re able to maintain a Japanese maple at all in our climate! It looks lovely at that.

    • You’re kind to say so. I had my doubts when it arrived; poor thing was windswept from its trip in the back of the delivery truck. It reminded me very much of Charlie Brown’s Christmas tree. I guess all it needed, too, was a little love… Hope you have a very prosperous new year!

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