Two days of snow and a bit of cold didn’t harm the buds at all. Though they didn’t make any progress, either; they’re the same size as last week. Then again, maybe they’re as big as they get, and now some internal, enflowering, process takes over. I guess we’ll see! Which is the nice thing about taking pictures every day; it sharpens the vision.
Yeah, “haybale ties.” Orange, petroleum-based. Ick. I think they’re straw bales, actually, for sheet mulch (no seeds). But “hay bales” are what we call them, straw though they may be… Anyhow, I cheat: I order mine from Blue Seal!
Snow again! “No significant accumulation”? Tell that to the lilac buds!
Snow in Maine on March 28?!?!?! Well, maybe not so incredible, but coming after 80° F weather last week, it sure seems weird. Or back to normal. Or both.
I shouldn’t whine, though; it’s not a hard freeze. We’ve got it easy up here!
Here, the light snow ups the contrast to show some cuke vines I didn’t rip up last fall. Maybe I should, though; apparently I shouldn’t leave “crop debris” lying about, because bugs winter over in them. Dang. Something to watch for.
Guess I should clean out this compost bin, too, especially since the vines aren’t rotting at all.
Not to tempt fate with that headline! But because the snow is so light, we can see the nanoclimates created by rocks and leaves.
Notice the melt round the rocks: That’s because the rocks act as heat sinks; they are slightly warmer than their surroundings (one reason the rocks in rock gardens are useful as well as ornamental).
And notice the melt where the rotting — hence dark — and flat-lying leaves are; they are soaking up sunlight, even on a cloudy day.
These nanoclimates are present at all times: Spring, summer, and fall, beside this late winter. But only with snow instrumenting the land can we see them.
The start of mud season in Maine can be a little discouraging because of the debris left behind after the snow melts: Litter, twigs, cigarette butts, bottles, and above all the dirt and sand thrown aside by the plows. There’s no snow to hide it, and April showers haven’t come yet to wash it all away.
Anyhow, when the flower garden in front of the house is blooming, I hide toy animals under the hosta and the pansies and the columbines; I think that passers-by, especially children, will enjoy spotting them. And today, I found one that I’d failed to collect in the fall, and which had somehow migrated a couple of yards from its original location. So I put it back.
The bark mulch is there only because of a past beautification effort. But I don’t really like bark mulch. Two years, now, and it still hasn’t rotted!
Today I noticed that inside the woodchuck fence, the ice had mostly melted, and outside, it had mostly not. Why?
I’m guessing that inside the fence, the beds are covered with leaf mulch, and outside, the earth is covered with dead grass. The dark mulch absorbs heat, but the pale green or straw-colored grass does not. So, after fresh snow, the inside and outside snow pack start out even, but as the melt proceeds, the layer between the earth and the snow begins to show through. When that happens, melting accelerates where heat is absorbed. Confirmation of this idea comes from inside the fence: The icy areas are stone dust paths, which are not mulched, and are light-colored.
The effect shown in the image demonstrates the permaculture principle of stacking functions: Not only does leaf mulch improve the soil by (1) rotting and (2) capturing moisture from the melt, it also (3) raises soil temperature (which should extend the season, if only slightly). Leaf mulch for the win!
Oh, we see, once again, how water instruments the land.
Red arrows: Thermal mass pushing outward.
Once again, snow is instrumentation.
My whole front yard is problematic, starting with the herbs I put there and then never pick because they aren’t close enough to the kitchen (permaculture zone 0). And I’ve planted the herbs inside one lobe of a curved flagstone path that is shaped like a dragon (which seemed like a good idea at the time, and was, if having a path shaped like a dragon is the goal).
So, herbs that nobody picks and a path nobody walks on; not a success!
I’m going to take up the flagstones and use them elsewhere, probably on the new path out to the street between the rosebushes. And I’ll make a new path on the front lawn with stone dust that people will actually use — from the front steps across the lawn to the driveway. I don’t know what I’ll do with the herbs yet.
Notice also that yet again snow instrumented the land. Again, using the iPad sharpens the eye. What else do we look at and not see?
At least I think deer left these tracks. The trail starts off-shot, where the critter entered the garden after crossing the street. Note to real photographers: Look! An S-curve!
Here’s more detail on the compost bin. I’d guess the deer was attracted by the unrotted squash vines on top of the heap, and not the ready-for-spreading near-soil at the bottom.
Strange, the ceaseless activity of living beings that we would never have sensed, were the snow not to have instrumented the garden. Strictly from hunger…
Oh, and maybe I should worry about those dried-out but not rotted squash vines. I wonder if I’ve created a nice habitat for pests to set up house and home in?