Friday, December 2, 2011

Fertilizer Friday: December 2

Ho, Ho, Ho.  

No, I am not auditioning for the part of the Jolly Green Giant, though I do share many physical characteristics with the verdant fellow--I try to be jolly and, sigh, I am rather large.  (Is there a Jolly Green Giantess somewhere?)

 The ho-ing around (no, not THAT kind!)  is my feeble attempt to get into the Christmas mood and out of the gardening one.  I've heard a few folks say they wish we had some snow to make it seem more like Christmas.  Even though I like snow as much as the next Wisconsinite, and I know it's eventually going to fall in epic proportions, I'm happy to say we don't have any.


So today, being Fertilizer Friday over at Tootsie's, I thought I'd bore you all with pictures of the non-flowering yard.  Though I try to appreciate all the seasons of the year and all the seasons of my life for their blessings, I have to confess that late fall, before snow covers the ground,  is my favorite time of all.  The gardening frenzy is over, hunting season is also over (except for bow-hunting and black powder, but they have to aim a lot better to hit me) and the dogs and I are free to roam at will.

This morning we did just that.

There's Teddy and Pudding hiding behind my sorry excuse for a Christmas tree/decoration on the back porch.  Under all that faux-greenery lurks a tomato cage.  We are on the stretch and warm-up phase of our walk.  (And tinkle phase.)

First, we have to make breakfast for the Girls.  Here they are dining on dear Screech's leftover cat food.  Did you know that chickens will eat just about anything?  They are definitely not Vegans.  True story.  Table scraps are their favorite and meat scraps rank highest on their preferred list.    I especially like to make sure they have enough protein in the cold winter months.

Ok, the Girls are fed.  Let's see what else is of interest around here.

Teddy and Pudding decided we should go for a walk in the back yard.  We strolled past the Quarry on our way.
The water level is up and there's a layer of thin ice on the pond. 
Lots and lots of rocks on our way to the Back Eight.
 The flowers are gone that used to hide them, and the snow isn't here yet to bury them, so this is   another reason I love this time of year.  No work to do and rocks to look at.  Doesn't get any better than that.
This early in the morning, the ground is still frozen solid and makes walking a joy, no mud, no water hazards to cross, everything is just right.  And there was very little wind, either, so the dogs and I had a great time.
Heading out behind the windmill, here's something else I wanted to show you...these are old telephone poles given to us by a friend.  They are all cedar and much, much bigger than they appear here, many of them are over 20 feet long.  These will be used for making more split-rail fences around the gardens.  I love old split-rail fences but since we are on a tight budget,  we have never bought lumber.  The ones we have around the yard are all from landfills (it's amazing how many we have found in the dumps over the years) or from neighbors who no longer wanted theirs.  Any and all cedar logs are welcome here.
Our farm fields are definitely taking on Fall's colors.  There's a shadow of the windmill in the hay field and one of me, too. 
Heading up to the woods, I took a picture back toward home from the Back Eight.  I so appreciate the solitude living here on this old farm of ours provides.  No houses for over a mile in some directions.  Just peace.  This morning it was very still. 
There's Mom's house on the far right.  When I was a very little kid, I played up by the woods whenever I had a chance. And do you know what my favorite destination was?

This old rock pile. 
Some little girls play House and Dress Up.  I played Rocks.  I used to pretend I was in the Mountains. Never mind I had never seen a mountain in my life and that our farm is really rather flat; this pile of fieldstone is what started my lifelong obsession with rocks.  The trees you see in the background are on the line fence between our little farm and the neighbors.  I sat up here and played for hours on end.  My folks would worry I was lost and would yell for me and I'd have to hightail it home so they didn't have to stop work to find me.  Since my late, older brother was thirteen years my senior, he had grown and left the farm, so I had no one around to play with, but that was an advantage too.....I also had no one to pick on me for being silly.  It wasn't as lonely as it sounds.  (And it also explains a lot about me, doesn't it??)
I run the lawnmower up here every other week or so in the summer to keep my walking trails in shape.  This trail borders the woods that doesn't belong to us, on the left, with the Back Eight on the right.  It was so beautiful up there this morning; the sun was warm on my face and the dogs were having a great time romping, too.

The trail I mow sort of meanders a little, I wish it meandered more; next summer I'll work on that.  Right now, it basically makes a loop through the white pines.  We drive our cars out here all the time, too, it's another one of my favorite things to do.

The sky was so blue today; I have to confess something, I rarely touch up any of my photos.  I admire the work and diligence that so many other bloggers have put into the pictures on their posts, but frankly, I'm lazy.  I might straighten one up once in awhile or crop something, but I just don't take the time to make every photo Perfect.  Yup, I'm like that.  What you see, is what you get.  No makeup here. 

Here we are on our way back toward home.  I know this post looks just like an earlier one I did this fall on Walkies with the dogs, but this may very well be the last time we have such a pleasant day and I wanted to commemorate it.  Teddy and Pudding have the biggest grins on their little faces, how they love this freedom!

Here we go around one of my meanders and past the old hay rake.  We still use this piece of machinery, even though it is an antique.
It is very photogenic.
Just think what someone with great photographic and editing talent could do with this old wheel?

Leaving the rake behind, we walk along the frosty trail heading around the White Forest.
Coming around the corner, it's much chillier here in the shade.  We all rush toward the sunshine.
Doggies in the lead, there's always something to sniff.
Rounding the bend, on the homestretch to the windmill.
We walk past the Quarry on the other side.
The pond looks really pretty right now in that dark, blue color.  You'd think it was really, really deep, but it's only about five feet.
More rocks and trees.  If the little kid I was back then could see this place now, I wonder if my folks would ever have gotten me back home for chores? 
I thought about decorating the dome in the Formal Garden, but once again, I'm lazy.  And everything I put up on a nice day like this, will have to be taken down in snowbanks up to my nether regions later on.  That's my excuse, and I'm sticking to it.

No flowers, just rocks and trees.  And speaking of Fertilizer Friday, this tree could use some.  It's not supposed to be yellow.
The cedars are supposed to be yellow, though, so they're OK.

 What a difference from August's view, though..............

The tree below could have been part of my Accidental Post for Donna at GardenwalkGardentalk...I ran into it repeatedly hauling pallets of stone out of the Formal Garden most of the summer, so it will be our Christmas tree as soon as I get the energy to find a saw.  
We have been cutting our own trees for years now, this one was a volunteer seedling that sprang up in the rocks by the Quarry.  I used to think I couldn't bring myself to lay a saw to the base of one of our own homegrown trees, but once I did, it wasn't as bad as I thought.  I have lots of them here and there, growing on for the future.  Even though our trees are not perfect, they're special.  It is still a little bittersweet though.  I still remember our yard the way it looked when we built this place:
Little Hut on the Back Road circa 1979
The blue line was our original one acre and the corn field behind the house is where the Quarry Garden is now and beyond that is the Back Eight.  Not a tree in sight.  (Except for across the road, and that doesn't belong to us.)

Oh, here's a few shots of my attempts at Holiday Decorating.

Poor Ernie.  This sort of looks like a badly-disguised missile silo, but it's supposed to be a tree.  In reality, it's another badly disguised tomato cage.
He was much happier in the summer:
Pretty in Pink.  Sorry, Ernie.  There are gardeners out there who could really dress you up handsomely for Christmas.  Unfortunately, I'm not one of 'em.

The doggies say it's time to go in.

Time for their breakfast.  

And time to.........
Wave goodbye to Fall!

(Sorry for the awkward pose, couldn't figure out how to take the picture and wave all at the same time, ha!)   I told you I have a lot in common with the Jolly Green Guy, check out that shadow.  Yikes.  

Ho Ho Ho............looks like we've found the Jolly Giantess.

Linking up with Tootsie, please go and visit Glenda and all the fantastic blogs at Fertilizer Friday

I am also late for linking up with Carolyn for her lovely 'Walk in the Garden' challenge.  Please do visit This Grandmother's Garden   

Carolyn has indescribably beautiful photography and her post on sugar-frosted foliage is a calorie-free way to indulge your senses!


Missy said...

Thanks for taking us with you on your walk. I feel like I've had my exercise for the day.

Donna@Gardens Eye View said...

Too funny...I gave up decorating outside but I may have found an easy way...we shall see next year...I still love the bones of your gardens...

HolleyGarden said...

Oh, the quarry looks so beautiful. And you're right - the sky is so blue! I don't know how to touch up photos, so I never think about people doing that. Loved seeing your first rock pile love! And the aerial of what used to be. I enjoyed walking with you - and I laughed at your shadow until I thought about how difficult it would be to wave and shoot! Almost like rubbing your belly and patting your head at the same time!

Alison said...

I really enjoyed this brisk walk with you and your wee doggies! You think you're lazy? I haven't done any Christmas decorating inside or out here. I will, when Christmas is closer. I know what you mean about feeling like the Jolly Green Giantess. Have you seen Shrek? I love Fiona in that movie, she is me.

Have you ever done a post about the floor of Castle Aarrgghh? I'd love to see all the impressions you made in the concrete. Thanks for the encouragement you gave me about working with concrete.

I so wish some day you could visit the PNW. We have real mountains here and you would love them.

El Gaucho said...

I'm with you in that I don't want any snow to make things more "Christmasy". I know that there's going to plenty of snow on the ground soon enough and I'm going to be wishing it was gone, so sitting now and hoping for snow seems like crazy talk. In fact it was two years ago on Christmas that we had a huge snowfall (2+ feet), no need to repeat that.

Now that I've seen the childhood rock pile it all makes sense now. Isn't that what the quarry is, just a much larger, more elaborate rock pile? I'm no expert, but it seems like you've recreated your favorite place to play as a child into grown up format. That's pretty cool!!!

Beth said...

Hi Karen, I enjoyed your creative blog post today...I have lost my motivation for blogging what's going on in my's not much. But I did very much enjoy yours. Have a great wknd!

Tufa Girl said...

Great walk. I enjoyed your sunshine since we don't have any today - probably won't until Monday or Tuesday. Not going to complain about the drizzle as we need the moisture.

The rocks and the gardens are so beautiful. I think Ernie may like his holiday outfit.

Junebug said...

I love this walk with you today. I especially love the old hay rake picture. It brought back memories of many summers. Our rake had a seat on it and I got to ride on it for many rounds in the field. When I signaled thumb down that meant I was tired of riding and would get off and on to my next venture out in the hay field. Thank you for bringing a smile to my face today! Hugs!

FlowerLady said...

Dear Karen ~ Thanks for that lovely walk with your two sweet little canines. I wish I could have been there for real, it would have been so invigorating and so much fun chatting with you and taking pictures.

It is amazing what you all have created there and such a joy to visit via your blog.

Love and hugs ~ FlowerLady

Tootsie said...

goodness me!!! you sure have done a lot!!! No matter what the season...your garden is always gorgeous...Once again I am just loving the tour of all the gardens that have linked in to my little party! I am so excited to visit each and every post...they are all so inspiring and I am NEVER disappointed! The creative gardens and colorful displays that I am lucky to see are inspirations that I would never have found had I not found each of the gardeners I see online! Thank you so much for sharing your garden with my Friday Flaunt this week...I do hope you will link in again soon!
This post is being shared on my Tootsie Time Facebook page too just so you are aware.
¸.•´¸.•*¨) ¸.•*¨)
(¸.•´ (¸.•´ .•´ ¸¸.•¨¯`•.

Indie said...

Wow, you've done such amazing things to your spot of land since that original photo! It's so awesome to see a before and then see what a gardener can really do with a landscape!

Your garden is still beautiful with all that rock. For some reason I didn't notice that you had so many evergreens before - I guess they were hiding behind all the flowers and waving ornamental grasses. The evergreens looks so good with the rock. Thanks for taking us on a walk with you!

NellJean said...

... a lovely walk. Sometimes I long for mountains, too, since I moved to the flatlands.

Your Christmas decors are a bright spot in the walk, thank you.

Birds, Bees, Berries, and Blooms said...

Thanks for the hike. I enjoyed it.

Sue said...

Just goes to show, there is beauty in ALL the seasons!
Loved joining you for a walk and seeing some Christmas decorations!

Gatsbys Gardens said...

Karen, what a great walk aroundd the property! I think your containers look great and I never thought of using tomato cages to get that height that's necessary for the urns.


Anonymous said...

That was a wonderful walk. It looks so peaceful. Flowers or no flowers your garden is still lovely!it's just the boost I need today.
Sueb x

Lona said...

Looks like the doggies were enjoying the walk about too. You have so much land for some great walks. Looks like they were looking back and thinking take the picture already and come on momma. LOL!
So much better walking around your property than having to load up and drive to the parks to walk and you still have all the beauty and changing scenery with the seasons.
I think Ernie looks so handsome in his Christmas attire. Tomato cages. What a great idea!
When you look at the picture of your house with the corn fields around it you can see how much work you have done over the years and all of those rocks you have brought in. What a transformation. Makes my back ache just to think about it Karen. LOL!

Zoey said...

Enjoyed the walk with you. I liked seeing your home before all the gardens. I am just so amazed by all the work you and Carl have done!

I planned to make my urns look nice for winter like you did, but it never happened. When it came right down to doing it, I decided I would rather just get them put away for the winter. Yours look nice and the tomatoe cage is such a good idea.

Anonymous said...

Your rock mountain reminded me of when I was a kid too. Living in Pennsylvania, I was surrounded by mountains and even lived at the top of one before moving up to Niagara Falls, where flat takes on a whole new meaning. When I am it the farm, I climb up to the top of the rock piles, crusher run piles, and dirt pile all the time. I say it is for a better photographic vantage point, but I think it is to feel like a kid again and have mountains all around. You posts always seem to take me back to some happy, nostalgic time.

Rosemary said...

Karen enjoyed the walk with you... tho I must say the rock pile doesn't excite me the way it does you LOL..
I love your Xmas decor in fact I would love to know exactly how you used the tomato cage ....... I have several here .....
Please don't say you are lazy you certainly are NOT! not with all the rock hauling........

myomyohi said...

Thanks for the walk. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and wanted to touch so many things, and fill my senses of touch and smell. Love those rocks!

Karen said...

Missy, thanks for coming along on the walk!

Holley, I laughed when I read your comment because you're right, I never can rub my belly and pat my head at the same time, it's just too much for my poor brain to comprehend.

Donna, an easy way to decorate? You have me intrigued.....

Alison, Fiona is too pretty to be me, but I do resemble her; maybe I'm her bigger sister? I never did post about the concrete impressions, I'll have to do that. I would love to visit the PNW, you have all the scenery I'm trying to replicate!

El Gaucho, as of Monday morning, we're still snow-free, yippee. And you're right, the garden is just my childhood rock pile expanded a bit.

Beth, I know, there's nothing at all really going on in the garden, is there? But I so long to be out there yet.

Tufa Girl, I'm not sure what Ernie's take is on his apparel. He may be thoroughly embarrassed to be living here. I hope not, I would hate to cause him mental anguish.

Junebug, a seat on the hayrake, oh that would have been awesome, if not a little scary! I bet you had fun in the fields. I smile every time we use the implement.

FlowerLady, I'm glad you enjoyed the virtual walk, it's just one of my 'greatest weaknesses'. Nothing like a walk to raise my spirits.

Tootsie, great to hear from you!

Indie, yes, it's weird, sometimes I'm amazed by all the trees, too, I find it hard to believe we planted them all, but we did. We've had to thin them over the years because they're taking over. And the rocks, well, they're everywhere. Just a 'touch' of obsession here.

NellJean, I long for the wild, open spaces, don't you?

Birds, Bees, Berries & Blooms, I'm glad you enjoyed the little stroll!

Sue, how much snow do you have on the ground? Any day here, any day and then my walks will be a thing of the past. Out with the x-country skis next.

Eileen, high praise coming from you, the Queen of Decorating! The tomato cages were a cheap alternative to buying those 'skinny' trees I so admire. But I know if you were to decorate an upside-down tomato cage, it would look MUCH better than mine!

Sueb, I hope all is well with you! Thank you so much for the visit, dear lady.

Lona, the scenery here could never compare to the Hocking Hills. I have never seen parks so gorgeous. The doggies would think they were transported to another planet if they could walk there! As for all the rock we've hauled in, it's a good thing I don't ever want to sell this place, could you imagine anyone wanting to buy it now?? They'd see nothing but backaches in their future, too, lol.

Zoey, oh, you are so organized, putting your urns away for the winter! I should do that too, but we're out of room, so they sit out. Nothing like an upside down tomato cage to brighten up the next six months. Sigh...

Donna, Pennsylvania has gorgeous rocks and hills, too. I've only been there twice, but the scenery is amazing. I bet moving from there to flatland was a shock. Someday I aim to see Niagara Falls, it is on my Wish List even though I dislike traveling. I'd love to visit in the off-season since your posts have shown the beauty of the park when there are relatively few tourists. Some day...

Rosemary, I know, my rock pile isn't exactly a monument, is it? Just a pile of rocks, lol. The tomato cage was easy, tip it upside down, twist tie the 'legs' together on top to form a point and wrap garland around the whole thing. Then stick some garland, silk or real flowers and a coupla branches of evergreens and you're good to go.

Myra, I feel the same way; I just want to soak up fall to get through the winter blizzards when I'm housebound.

Jennifer@threedogsinagarden said...

Hi Karen, I envy your walk. We live on a busy corner and there are no scenic fields to stroll through. It is the one thing that I dislike about this neighbourhood. I did not have a rock pile to play on as a child, but we played in the wooded lot near the house. We would build forts and play there for hours.

Dragonfly Treasure said...

Truly enjoyed the tour. I miss doing that at our farm.

You sure have acccomplished alot!
So jealous!
btw I featured your blog on my blog for Tootsies Read Em All ♥

Debbie@Debbie-Dabble and A Debbie-Dabble Christmas said...

Your yard is absolutely amazing!!
I can only imagine how breath taking it most look with snow!
I also love your tomato cage trees!! I think they look fantastic!!
great job!!


Carolyn ♥ said...

What a lovely walk you've taken me on this morning! You are amazing, Karen... the before shot testifies to the ingenuity, creativity and hard work to build your landscape so beautifully. Well done, my friend.