Thursday, December 10, 2015

Musing About & Playing Around

Winter is the time I stay indoors more than usual because shorter days means gardening is done by 4PM and then what? Well, there's time for various musings and enjoyment! What will we be having for that up-and-coming holiday dinner? After a few days of consideration, we chose pan-grilled mushroom caps brushed with melted butter, roast rack of pork, Brussels sprouts, potatoes dauphinoise, and apple pie topped with coffee ice cream. And a nice bottle of Médoc that is lying patiently on its side in the cellier. The equally nice bottle of Cahors can wait for the next time we have pot roast of lamb. So, that's decided then.

Recipe here (omit the cheddar for the crust which can be made with 2/3 butter, 1/3 lard)

A satisfied belly is important, but how about the mind? A Coursera class perhaps? Not this year though I have thoroughly enjoyed the ones I have taken since 2012 especially Daniel Chamovitz's What a Plant Knows. You won't believe this, but spending heaps of time on Twitter feeds your head! I know. Twitter! Though having used it sporadically since 2008, I have re-discovered it. Once a critical mass of individual tweeps who tweet excellent stuff pertinent to your interests are on your stream, oh, the joy of intellectual stimulation especially if you click on the links and related conversation. And for the eyes? How about bundling a lot of evergreen herbs like bay leaves, thyme, rosemary, and sage with a red ribbon, plopping them into a vase, and setting it on the mantlepiece? And that's for the nose, too, especially if you gently crush a leaf or so when passing. Some lengths of ivy will add grace to the arrangement.

Bay leaves

Rosemary

Most of the ripe ivy berries are for the birds, but a few bunches go into the vase

Browsing through plant catalogs is pleasant and part of the preparation necessary for next season's harvest. Doing seed/equipment inventory and figuring out what will go where is essential for our 2016 plant order which will be made in about a month. Trying a new thing each season is good, and this time I will plant a cover crop of white mustard as green manure. The idea is to sow late summer, and after two months of growth, mow, and then spade into the soil, letting the goodness develop over the winter.

Last season's seed packets stored properly in ziplock bags

Spading and mulching the numerous veggie beds continue.


Evergreen plants are the bones of a garden, especially its winter bones. The Yucca's leaves are backlit with the setting sun.


The biggest advantage of an earlier sunset is the opportunity to watch murmurations of starlings. A hundred or so that water at our bird baths whirl and twirl directly overhead before roosting en mass into a couple of nearby spruce trees. However, a much larger flocking consisting of thousands occur south of the garden, near a small forested area. They resemble an avian tornado which twists and turns, sometimes separating, then reuniting and flowing into varied shapes. And as amazing as that is, what is even more fantastic, is when they swoop down together to roost. All that fluttering commotion, and suddenly, a disappearing act punctuated with utter silence.

This pattern resembles a huge bird!

Dirac the Young Cat who of course lives in his own furry world has no problem with diminished daylight as he sleeps during that time so he can spend the whole night outdoors though . . .

Dirac's favourite plush toy is in desperate need of a good wash!

. . . he is known to wake up when he smells something that piques his interest such as my Minestrone with Beef.

I make a cauldron of the stuff which we eat three days straight!

À la prochaine!