Messy Gardens, Canine Nurses, and Little Smiles

 I am not one of those people who have beautiful gardens year round.  If you visited the farm in the winter time you would be sorely disappointed with the appearance of the gardens.  I am not one of those who clears out summer's dead growth in autumn so that the gardens remain manicured.

No, instead, I just allow all of the skeletal remains of Summer's blossoms to sit, undisturbed, until just before gardening season in the very, very late of winter.  There are two reasons for this.  One: because by the end of the summer gardening season I am ready for a rest.  Two: and most importantly, we leave all of the old seed heads to remain throughout the winter so the the birds have more to forage.

Allowing the billowy seed fronds of the tall grasses to remain offers yet another type of food for nature's winged beauties.

And yes, we have many bird feeders that are well stocked year round - but it is also important for the birds to be able to round out their diets by foraging.

And so, our landscaping - neglected for six months of the year - will remain thus until the snows and harsh winter winds have all but gone.  

At that time, I will cut down all of last summer's growth and prune the shrubs that need pruning, and then place all of the trimmings in the woods.  Piles of trimmings offer shelter for the smallest of creatures.  This organic matter eventually breaks down adding more nutrients to the forest floor and ultimately becoming additional topsoil.

This tiny bird, a Carolina wren, has been spending its nights in our garage.  

It flies in at sun-down, and then each morning when we open the garage door to go out to the barn,  flies back out again... landing in a tree singing its "Germany-germany" song, then heading for the bird feeders. 

 We had noticed in previous summers that a few Carolina wrens built nests in our garage, tucked in whatever tiny spaces they could find.  Apparently our garage is a wren condominium.  You can't beat a warm bed and three square meals!

Like you, perhaps, we spent a quiet weekend here at home.  Our days, punctuated by the needs of our animal friends, were filled with various indoor activities and brisk walks in the woods.  Temperatures stayed in the 20's (F) making other outdoor activities less desirable.

  The pull of a crackling fire was hard to resist!  I started a new knitting project... a sweater and was able to finish two pocket linings and both sleeves.

Sadly, I received word that our oven replacement which was due to be delivered this weekend, has been put on hold for another two weeks... a bit of a crisis for a gal with a sweet tooth like mine!  

I am using this time,  that I cannot be baking, to do some deep kitchen cleaning... emptying out all of my cupboards and scrubbing the interiors.

As planned, I did make a Friday trip to the Amish bakery and bought a half dozen delectable glazed donuts (still warm when I bought them). 

 I promptly polished off three before getting them home.  There are still remnants of glaze on the floor of the car.  Hubbs ate one, and I had to finish the other two.  Yes, that's right.... I ate 5 glazed donuts in less than 24 hours.  (They don't keep.... and are really only good the first day!  No, seriously!)   Luckily I don't do that on a weekly basis.  I hadn't had any since mid-summer.  Thank goodness I was able to make up for lost time in just under a day.  They were wonderful!  You'll have to take my word... there is no photographic evidence.

Our equine family was able to enjoy lots of time in the pastures this weekend.  

While the upper pastures still have a good amount of grass left, the front pasture is down to tiny nubbins.

I spread hay around the pasture to make up for the lack of grass.  And though there is nothing much for grazing, the herd enjoys the time to roam and run.

Every evening we head out to the barn to do the last chores of the day.  The dogs always come along (on every trip, of course.)  Old Brown Sammie has a habit of sneaking off into the woods on a hunting spree while we are at the barn.  A few nights ago, Sammie returned home with a nasty gash on his face.  Apparently he had had a tussle with a wild critter while out in the woods.

No worries, Nurse Chester to the rescue!

Chester has been licking Sammie's wounds for a week now and they are healing beautifully.


Every day during this pandemic I have been thankful for the internet.  It's the best way to keep up with all of our Littles.  I thought you might enjoy seeing the littlest of our Littles.

Elijah... (Mackenzie and Easton's little brother) (those cheeks!)

and Wren Marie (our [North] Carolina Wren) (can't wait to meet her in person!)...

Such happy babies!!


Lisa said…
I keep our garden the same as you. I really want to clean it some days but I stop myself. Because of this practice and others our property is known as an official wildlife sanctuary by the Canadian Wildlife Federation.

I feel your pain about those donuts. Whenever we are in Ontario we have to visit the Mennonite community for their cannolies and the HUGE and massive cinnamon buns. Oh my word! One can easily make a meal. And they're so light and fluffy.

But with Covid we won't be eating any for a year or so now.
Have a good day!

daisy g said…
Yes, we enjoy providing for the birds in the winter with seed heads and such as well. Those Carolina Wrens will make a nest just about anywhere.

Sorry to hear about your oven delay. What a treat to be able to eat freshly made donuts.

Sweet Grands. They are growing so quickly. Hope you get to see your sweet baby girl soon.
jaz@octoberfarm said…
why didn't you buy a dozen? hahaha! oh those babies!
Judy G said…
Five donuts!!! Haha! I love it!
Marcia LaRue said…
Chester must have taken nursing cues from his Mama (you)! LOL
All of your grandbabies are such rosie cheeked cherubs!
This N That said…
I do the same thing with my garden. Looks really bad all winter. I used to clean it up in the fall and I lost a couple things over the winner. I haven’t had that trouble since I stopped cutting things back.
You are as bad as I am when it comes to sweets. I have absolutely no willpower. If somebody gives me some thing and I’m on my way home, it never makes it. Nothing ever makes it so the second day. Really bad
Sorry your oven is taking so long.
My next-door neighbor used to keep her garage door open all the time if only open a foot from the bottom. She has a bookcase in her garage which was a home for a Carolina Wren who nested in it.
Poor Sammy’s nice that Chester is there to lick his wounds.
I like the color of your new sweater. Have a good week.
Ha your donut story....I would do the same! Love your grandbabies too....oh so cute!
Lynne said…
Well I felt better learning that there are others that leave “fall cut back” until spring.
We don’t have as many gardens as you but there are some that I leave untended,
giving a certain beauty in the drying out as they come to their end.
I find as January nears its end my mind is
turning again and again to springtime dreams.
Oh my, happy baby faces certainly bring some cheer.
“Looks” are wonderful in this covid time, but oh my, to touch soft skin, and hug!