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It’s my job to shovel snow. I volunteered last year because I thought it would get me out of the house, give me some exercise, and help relieve my winter blues by absorbing even some weak ultraviolet rays that would pull me out of my certainty that the next ice age wasn’t really upon us. I was, of course, unaware of just how much snow there was going to be last winter. So this year I was happy snow had held off so long. Then the snow came Wednesday night. Thursday I shoveled, and it was the heaviest snow I’ve encountered. That gave me an extra hard workout. I’ve had the driveway plowed twice in the last three days and I’ve shoveled four times. Already, alright. I’m ready for spring.

Thanksgiving Day we received our first snow, just under an inch that shortly melted. We had a scattering of snow today, too. It has melted, but more is on the way. Last year by this time, the drive had already been plowed three times, and we only plow when the snow is over six inches! Pansies are still blooming in the planters. I LOVE pansies.

All this week will look like this.


It’s hard for me to be cheerful when everyday looks like this! However, it isn’t snowing, so perhaps maybe I should be happy about that, and believe me, I am! The prediction is for a mild winter as far as snow, but very cold temperatures. That I am not happy about. (Sometimes I feel like I can never be glad about anything.) My garden is zone 5B sliding to 4A at times, which means many of my perennials survive here because they have the insulation of a deep layer of snow. The snow protects them from the harshest of sub-zero temperatures.

This year the colors just haven’t seemed as brilliant as expected. Many trees have sported a gorgeous chrome yellow, but very few had the vivid orange and red I’ve come to expect. Here is my maple two years ago, which only turned yellow this year; very disappointing.

Sugar Maple in late October

Sugar Maple in late October


Some of the views along the road I walk display lovely autumn scenes, which certainly lift the spirits although they warn of a another rugged winter approaching.
Autumn Fields

Autumn Fields



Goldenrod

Goldenrod

I love the colors of autumn, but I hate to see the end of the outdoor gardening season. I’ve moved many plants this summer. (Whenever I put their roots in a hole, I explain they shouldn’t put them down too deep, they might move.) Most of them seem to be prospering, although I moved one coneflower just before a three week drought began. It will probably survive. All this moving makes me look forward to next summer, to see if I placed each plant in just the right spot.

Most of my plants bloomed up to three weeks late this year. My Phlox ‘David’ didn’t bloom until the second week of September. Even my ‘Autumn Joy’ sedum colored late. However, the Canadian geese are flocking, and I’ve been told that is a sure sign of an early and hard winter. Ugh. I’m thinking I better get use to it, but how do the geese know?

Part of my heart garden in September -- Sedum 'Autumn Joy.'

Part of my heart garden in September -- Sedum 'Autumn Joy.'

Snowdrops emerging

Snowdrops emerging

At Last.
Today the first snowdrops bloomed. I was so happy to see them.

I went outdoors initially because Consumers Energy was cutting some trees down under the electric lines. I had them leave the chopped up wood. I have enough for wood mulch for years, but I have plans — mulch walk ways through the woods and a large vegetable garden. Need a fence, though, to keep out the deer before I plant.

It was warm so I stayed outside and picked up broken tree limbs from the garden and cut down the dried remains of last year’s perennials. That’s when I noticed the snowdrops. I planted more than show, hope they all come up.

It will take another few days to finish cleaning up my garden area and not all the snow piles have melted.

Warm won’t last — next couple of days will turn cold again. Still, it was a beautiful day: sunny, very windy and I didn’t need a jacket. Heard (besides wind blowing) five Canadian geese overhead and a crane.

Since my last post, the area has had over 30″ of snow. I know. I’ve shoveled it all. One of the teachers at the local school said we were having this because the artic is now and island and all that water provides more moisture for snow. Here we also get lake effect snow. Whatever is happening (will the government tell us if there is some catastrophe about to happen?) — it has made a lot of shoveling for me.

First snow on my garden.

First snow on my garden.

Well, isn’t the last of November a great day to start a blog on gardening in the north?  There it is, part of my garden covered with our first sticking snowfall.  This is the view from the front window.

We’ve had to previous storms but the snow quickly evaporated. During the course of the winter the snow will slowly pile up to several feet. It shrinks with evaporation, which is a good thing or there might be nine feet or more piled up. This lasts until the end of March with snowstorms not uncommon in April an May. Is it no wonder depression can set in? Luckily, there are garden things to do inside.

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