Prairie Project: Check

I’m happy to report, as of yesterday (the last warm day for a while), I essentially finished the fall phase of the “prairie” project.  I moved all the piles of woody weeds and briars down the hill into one huge pile, finished mulching the trees, and then seeded most of the area (almost 1/4 acre) with more native wildflowers and grasses.  Soon it will transition from “prairie” to “savannah”.

All I need to do now is add a few more species of aggressive native seeds when they arrive, to compete with exotic invasives, and then sit back and let Mom Nature do her stratification (chill) thing all winter.  Which appears to be here, at last, brrr.  Sync.

Then I cleaned up the shade and sun perennial/wildflower beds around the house, and seeded those with their respective native seeds, lightly mulching with leaves.  I removed big clumps of pre-existing liriope (an exotic invasive) and dumped them along the back fence ditch, to do whatever.  I will likewise add a few more native woodland shade wildflower seeds to the appropriate bed, when they arrive, and a couple of desert-like natives to the CA rock garden as well.  I’m really looking forward to seeing what spring reveals next year.

Call it a hobby, or whatever.  This is what keeps me looking forward and not going over to the dark side.


Corona Madness

Outside the pandemic is raging off the charts, yet millions of people are shopping, dining out, and traveling.  Hundreds of thousands more get sick and die every day.  Homelessness is about to reach a new crisis without fed or state relief, thanks to trumpsters.  It’s a mad world out there.

All the more reason to remain home and eat leftovers if you can.  Which is what we’re doing, and thankful to simply be alive.

It’s still mild temps outside, and a few flowers and greens (or reds) are still holding on.  Here’s a sampling.

Thanksgiving 2020: Staying Alive

Today E was a baking machine in the kitchen.  She made a pumpkin pie and a cherry pie with homemade crusts, biscuits, and challot for Friday.  That’s in addition to some main and side dishes.  Tomorrow I’ll roast a turkey, and prepare several side dishes.

It’s just us here, staying home and safe, for which I’m thankful.  I’m also thankful we can afford basic food, which will last us many meals.  I hope the rest of my family near and far stay safe and healthy, so we can all meet again after vaccines become available.

While E was slaving in the kitchen, I was doing same out in the “prairie”, hauling off huge piles of “tumbleweed”, and mulching trees.  It’s starting to look more like its intended purpose.  While out there, I took these.

Giving Nature a Chance

I’ve been cutting down and clearing brush and brambles out in the “prairie”, liberating and mulching the trees, working my way up the hill.  It’s hard work, but will set the stage for germinating new native wildflowers.

Here’s the kind of silly thing that gets me excited: when I find another little pine I thought I had lost, buried under the weeds.  Plus I found several more volunteer cedars nearby, a couple of which I transplanted to the driveway tree line, thus completing it.  Nature is resilient if you give it a chance.

Here is the expanded CA rock garden, and poppies still blooming.

Here are some colorful blackberry and maple leaves in the “prairie”.

Stay Home and Live Another Day

By now I’m sure everyone has made their holiday plans, COVID or no, but if anyone out there is reading this and is hesitating, please stay home with the people you’re quarantining with, and keep yourself and your loved ones safe and alive another year.

There are now thousands of new deaths per day.  It’s tricky to know for sure if someone is currently negative, or a pre-/asymptomatic carrier, or at risk, or whom they’ve been around.  Masks and distancing can only go so far, especially indoors, even if everyone complies.  Hospitals and morgues are overwhelmed and turning people away.

Skipping a year is worth it if you all get to live to see each other again when this is over.  Do not take this dangerous virus lightly.  I know it’s hard; I’m a mother and grandmother myself.  Anyway, think about it.

Here we have: a couple of “cravens” on a birdbath, a view of the “prairie” work-in-progress, and some colorful maple saplings and grasses out there.

Watching Trees Grow

It’s officially my challenging time of year to find unique themes to photograph, especially being limited to the same old scenery every day.  Almost time to transition to my indoor “greenhouse”.  Yet for some reason the California poppies are still blooming profusely and multiplying, to the point that I’ve had to expand the rock garden to accommodate them.  Next year I’ll add more desert-like flowers to the mix.

It just makes me more determined to keep surrounding this place with more trees and wildflowers, to create at least an illusion of a wild green space.  Many of the tiny cedars, pines, and deciduous trees I transplanted a year or two ago are now towering over me (which doesn’t take much!) and filling out.

Eventually the little tree babies in the “prairie” will catch up.  As soon as I finish clearing and mulching around them, I’ll broadcast more native wildflower seeds out there, to “stratify” over winter.  (They require a cold period in order to germinate in spring.)


Final Mow 2020

Today we mowed for the final time this year.  Plus I did some yard maintenance.  I’m exhausted (more than the usual) but I refuse to give in to it.  Misu slept through it all in her window daybed.

It’s typical of this climate zone that the few flowers blooming outside right now are some roses, poppies, and coneflowers, though the stalwart marigolds have finally given up the ghost.  My indoor Thanksgiving cactus is blooming.  The monster holly out back is covered from top to bottom with bunches of large red berries.  Most but not all trees have lost their leaves.  It’s been freezing overnight, but still reaching the 60s during the day.  Perfect for working outdoors.



Mobile Morgues in Medieval 2020

As coronavirus cases and deaths keep multiplying exponentially, and hospitals and morgues are overrun beyond capacity, naturally TN is one of the remaining states to refuse to issue a mandate or curfews.  It’s even riskier to just go shopping for essentials.

But shop we must.  Inexplicably, there’s another TP shortage, despite the fact that average Tennesseans don’t seem to take this crisis seriously.  Maybe they decorate their xmas trees with toilet paper?  Anyway, we won’t be going anywhere or seeing any loved ones for a long time.

Fortunately, I have plenty of garden projects to keep me off the streets.  It’s getting chilly, but still perfect for working.  My future “forest” is coming along.  I keep trying to look up and forward.